The Arts Council and my mental health

In England, arty folk have people who buy Lottery tickets to thank for being able to make work that is not necessarily profitable but for the greater good. The Arts Council England was set up in post-war rationed Britain. It's aim? To rebuild, showcase and develop the arts in England and bring Europe back together through watercolour paintings.

In post-recession Britain anyone who is able to sift though 2000 words, the numbers and a six weeks wait is able to access funds to make their work happen.

I have applied for five grants from Arts Council and received only two. The first three times I guess I was finding my feet with the right language and how to balance the numbers - after all we are artists not accountants.

When you receive a 'no, sorry' letter from the Arts Council a small envelop will appear at your door. It usually says something like 'cause loads of people applied we couldn't give you the dollar babes'. For me what follows is not a regrettable, unpreventable process.

This morning I received my forth 'no, sorry' letter from Arts Council.

The next three days look like this:

Today - Day 1: Feeling uninspired by my idea I had submitted and defeatist. Questioning my worth as an 'artist' and the value of my ideas. Depression rears its ugly head.

Tomorrow - Day 2: A deeper depression focused around the lack of achievement in my career. Abandonment of my idea accompanied with some bad eating behaviours. Feelings of rejection.

Day 3: Pick myself up, have a bath and ask myself - is the process of making non-profit work through grants for the arts worth the battering my mental health takes?

I'm sure its not the intention of the Art Council to make us feel shit about our work, there is only a certain amount of dollar to go around.

Am I alone in feeling rejected? Our work is an extension of ourselves. It's hard to hear you didn't win, the idea wasn't good enough or it's not allowed to happen under our banner.

I hope this doesn't sound bitter - I think its important to share the ups as well as the downs.

See you Monday. 

No comments: