How are you? If you are like me, as we witness global upheaval, and uncover possibility for transformation alongside stark realities of inequity and failing systems, your brain and heart are exploding hundreds of times a day. Even a simple “How are you?” feels complicated.
“How are we?” seems to be a more urgent question. Because if it wasn’t obvious before, it is unavoidably clear now: we are all connected. Right now, while our daily “we” is physically smaller than ever, it has also infinitely expanded. “We” are connected in this gorgeous, messy web of existence that does not distinguish between humans, animals, minerals, plants – between the tiniest submicroscopic agent (virus!) and the entire galaxy.
The SFAI team is acknowledging personal pain and societal challenges, alongside our appreciation for the natural world, and our incredible privilege that we have the time and opportunity to reflect at all. We are reaching out to our community – of artists, supporters, partners, and friends – to make sure we are connected and to explore new ways of sharing our lives and our work.
A normal day at SFAI, pre-pandemic, requires navigating the intensity, challenge, and beauty of what happens when 15-20 diverse, creative, and brilliant people work and live together. Our organization conscientiously holds space for creative exploration and multi-disciplinary investigation that is accompanied by equal parts of joy and discomfort. It is with this dynamic mix of incredible artists – from all over the world, from different backgrounds and practices, and with wildly different levels of experience and privilege – that the SFAI staff learn to navigate complexity and compassionately hold multiple perspectives at once.
In this inside-out world we now inhabit, while everyone has a view into our living rooms, paradoxically most of us see less and less of the people who operate the machinery that sustains us. Perhaps this is the moment to finally recognize, celebrate – and compensate! – the invisible and undervalued labor that we all do, but which is most often performed by those already living in precarity, by immigrants, women, and people of color.
How are we? Not just our friends, loved ones, and colleagues – but also those links in our chain we don’t always see or try to connect with – those who make sure we have food in our homes, caretake for our loved ones, sanitize and clean to keep us safe, keep the lights on and collect the trash. The artists, authors, filmmakers, and poets who now are virtually engaging, entertaining, challenging, and provoking us. This is an opportunity to recalibrate and re-value the essential roles we all play, which may be shifting from the roles we played only a fortnight ago.
Engage with all of us at SFAI as we continue to navigate complexity with compassion. Even though our resources are currently limited, we continue to seek opportunities to support artists and creative practitioners. As one of my colleagues said, “we are walking through the rosebush together.” While there may be beauty, there are certainly many thorns – but we are together.
If you can give right now, please consider a gift to help us continue this work.