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Jennifer Wrae McCann
Art educator, Autrey Mill Middle School, ceramicist and aerialist
Dear Future Women of the Arts,
Be persistent in your goals, yet patient with yourself. Through all the detours your journey takes you on, remember that! These detours are full of irreplaceable experiences. They are not taking you from your path. They are your path. Along the way, stay curious, ask questions, and continue to create or appreciate art in any capacity possible. In creating, accept that perfection is unrealistic. Value imperfection for its uniqueness and beauty and roll with it. This motivating force is what will carry you further. Also, remember that as an artist (curator, architect, dancer, designer, etc.), you are a communicator. Seek to understand others so that you may better reach them. Be humble, be grateful, and don’t forget to laugh.
Choral program director, music educator, Alpharetta High School
Get involved with as many arts-related activities as you can, as early as you can. Actively participate in your school’s program. Take lessons outside of school. Audition for a community ensemble. Attend a summer music camp. These are all ways you can network and learn from professionals in the field. It is important to find ways to keep growing and learning as an artist. For me, many of the greatest opportunities I have been given and things I have learned over the years came from networking with other musicians and educators. Most importantly, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot make a living in the arts! There are a variety of arts-related careers you can be successful in and passionate about, including performance, education, administration, business, technology, and therapy. Love what you do for a living!
Meg Mario, Atlanta Opera
At 39 years old, I thought I’d know so much more by now. But really, all I know is that change is the only constant, so we can waste time longing for the before times, or we can get on board and go on an adventure. Change brings growth and pain, all of it necessary to be our most realized version of ourselves, and fully in the present. Be honest, lean into your strengths and work to minimize your weaknesses. Be prepared, flexible, ready to share, collaborate and pivot at a moment’s notice. When I'm Carmen, I know that the only way to truly be free is to be my most authentic self, fully engaged in the present. The cards are sincere, and they don’t lie. They fall the way they do, no matter what and we can’t stop them. They’re always being dealt. Be you unapologetically. Carmen lives and dies in a state of freedom and authenticity. I’m learning a lot from her in that regard.