Telling their stories made mine better. (Wrapping up the series Art Outside the City.)
by Lauren Silverman Durban, writer
When I started my Art Outside the City Series, I only knew that this place that I never expected to live-- Lincoln, Nebraska-- had a story that too many people didn’t know. It’s not exactly a part of the country that jumps to mind when you think about the performing arts, and yet I kept encountering amazing artists with impressive resumes who were choosing to live and work here. My goal was to tell their stories.
What I didn’t expect was the way these people would affect me. Week after week, I contacted people who I admired but (mostly) didn’t know. Every single one of them reacted generously, offering their time and telling me their stories. And I quickly realized that, for the most part, they all shared some key characteristics. They took risks, made hard choices, and said yes to things they weren’t sure they were ready for. Then, after they had made those hard choices and scary commitments, they worked their asses off to do good work. It sounds cheesy, but their stories challenged me. I faced some big fears, and I really am in a very different place as an artist than I was before starting this project. For that, I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
But there’s something else that these artists share that I think is a good reminder for a lot of us-- sometimes, you have to be willing to redefine what success means to you. Maybe you move to LA and find out that you hate it. Maybe you achieve that big goal and figure out that it doesn’t make you happy. Maybe the career you thought you wanted doesn’t pan out, but another opportunity keeps presenting itself. Maybe, if we’re honest, perseverance for its own sake isn’t always the answer. If being an artist depends in great part on following your heart, you’re going to have to be willing to take some paths you didn’t anticipate. There’s nothing safe about passion, right?
So thank you to Daniel Kubert, Becky Key Bosen, Alexander Jeffery, Samantha Marie Ware, Summer Lukasievich, Beth Muehling, Bob Hall, and Rob McKertcher! Thank you for the reminders to work with all your heart, to look for ways to create in unexpected places, and not to underestimate Art Outside the City!LAUREN SILVERMAN DURBAN is a freelance writer, former tv news anchor, mom of 3 tiny humans, musical theater fanatic, native Los Angelino, and guacamole enthusiast living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
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