Can artists Procreate Without Going Bankrupt?

January 15, 2015 4:06 AM

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I'm a member of two different Facebook groups that have frequent postings; one of them is a group for moms, many of whom also happen to be artists. The other one is a forum for classical singers, a few of whom happen to be parents. There isn't a lot of crossover topics between the two groups -- but this week, unrelated to one another, I read a post on my classical singer group asking whether people who had kids felt that it affected their careers as singers, and another post on my mom's page asking whether any artists that were also parents were managing to keep their artistic careers going while still staying afloat financially. Where the crossover between these two queries occurred was mostly in the comments section, where people who were artists and parents explained how they managed to keep from moving their families into cardboard boxes, and what sacrifices they had made in order to add children to their lives. Everyone said that whatever sacrifices they had made were worth it, and they wouldn't change a thing. But almost all of the commenters with kids mentioned that either they or their spouses had moved into some sort of academia or other work in order to pay the bills and remain at least somewhat financially stable. The number of people who had moved in different directions than their original artistic intentions was almost everybody. Most people said they were content with where their choices had led them, but it lead my mom's group to start a discussion about why it's next to impossible to be an artist --- and especially a couple in which both people are artists and self employed -- and make a go of having a family.

For opera singing parents, the challenges are quite extraordinary. Because not only are there all the challenges of being a self-employed artist, whose income is sporadic and difficult to predict, and who has no health or retirement benefits from their job, but we must factor in the concern that our...

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