Rare Optimism


Inherently, I consider myself to be be an extremely skeptical pessimist. I think part of it is a defense mechanism that I employ to “protect” myself from bad news. Which is why in the rare instances that I feel optimistic, I know that something is actually happening for real.

I’ll admit that the most challenging part of Art Prof is maintaining my daily faith in the project.  I have never felt such an intense conviction about any project in my life, and yet Art Prof has also been a project that has tested all of my limits in patience and optimism. Some days it’s too easy to feel like no progress is being made, and I’m creating content in my own little black pit.

Which is why due some recent developments (which I can’t talk about just yet!) have been a monumental boost that have given me a renewed confidence in the future. I’ve had countless moments in this project where we were so close to a major breakthrough, only to have things fall apart with a deafening thud.

Last night I had a the final Skype call of the year with the TAs, and it was great to step back together as a group and reflect upon what has happened this year, and where we want to go in 2018. What’s been interesting is that two TAs mentioned that when I show up with good news, they’re excited, but also not surprised. Which is incredible that their faith in the project and belief in what we’re doing is so strong.

When I step back and look at 2017, it’s crazy to me that Artprof.org hasn’t been live for a year yet. (we launched in February 2017) On one hand, I feel like it’s been live forever, on another, it feels like the website is just getting started.  I’ve been really focused in the past year on simply beefing up the quantity of content on the website, and it feels like the content is now substantial enough that I can breathe a little more and redirect more of my energy towards achieving long term funding for the project.

Despite our Kickstarter campaign in 2016, we’ve burned through those funds.  Financially, we are barely surviving on a very thin thread, but we’re still here, and the community we’ve worked so hard to build is growing every day. Creating content and brainstorming new ideas and formats has always been the easy part, getting funding and sponsors is a completely different story.

Despite my struggle to maintain my daily confidence in the project, I couldn’t be more proud of the team at Art Prof.  They’ve lifted me up, brought ongoing energy and innovation to the project, and are the rock that I’ve come to rely on.

When I first envisioned Art Prof in 2014, I always imagined it as a solo project that I would have to carry on my own. Today, the thought of working on Art Prof by myself is inconceivable. Now, the project is so much bigger than one person, and everyday I’m inspired by what we’ve built together.

ART PROF is a free, online educational platform for visual arts for people of all ages and means. Artprof.org features video courses, art critiques, an encyclopedia of art supplies, and more.

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