Pivotal Event #12 They said, “Yes.”

November of 2006 (photo above) was my first Crawl. I was fascinated by all the artists who took part and all the people who attended. I thought, “This is a wonderful way to share art.” I was hooked!

So in the spring of 2007, when I heard about the Crawl’s upcoming annual general meeting, I was determined to attend and play some small part in that organization. I went to the meeting without knowing many other artists or having any experience in putting together big events. When the organizers opened the floor to nominate new members to the Board, I took a deep breath and raised my hand.

“I don’t really know anyone else to nominate,” I said, “but could I nominate myself? I’d really like to be part of the Crawl and I have a huge passion for it even though I don’t have much experience.”

“Yes, ” they said. “Yes, we will accept your nomination.”

There was something very sweet in that moment when they said “yes.” It is a beautiful thing to feel that what you have to contribute might be valuable to other people. I was elected at that meeting. The Board members took me under their wing and over the coming months helped me grow, investing their time and attention in me. I have enjoyed some deep friendships over the years that began at that meeting.

I stayed on the Board for the next five years, serving at various times on the membership committee, as vice-chair, and as acting chair. One highlight of my years on the Board was meeting and working with artists from all different disciplines all over the east side of Vancouver. There is an amazing, talented, thoughtful group of creative people quietly showing up to work in their studios every day.

I had to grow quickly once I stepped onto the more “political” side of the world of art, dealing with boards and councils and committees. I learned how to set boundaries and stand up for the things I believed in even if no one else came out to support me, and even if I wasn’t the strongest or loudest voice in the room. I also learned when to adapt and be more flexible and tactful when the world did not see the importance of art exactly the same as I did. They were good lessons to learn.

I’m still working on how to separate my emotions from issues I care deeply about. (Note to self: Keep at it. Some lessons take a little longer!) But now I have a broader context for understanding why changes to policies and decisions are often difficult to achieve. We all sometimes cling to ideas that no longer serve us when we might instead be open to “what if…? and “why not…?”

(Note to self: Remember to sometimes think “what if…?” and “why not…?”)

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