Why KIIC is Awesome

When I first encountered the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Center (KIIC), I was struggling to figure out what I was committed to, exactly. What would I produce? Furniture? Design? T shirts? Paintings? I hankered after all those things, and I figured I should stay open to all of them. Grow them all into MVP’s (minimum viable products), test them, and see what stuck. Sensible!

KIIC helped me take myself seriously. KIIC connected me with a mentor, Marla Wood, and with workshops that gave me not just crucial information but a relationship in which I could hear and digest some difficult truths. “Displacement!” Marla would say. “Wherever you put your energy, you’re NOT putting it somewhere else. Will you put it in the creative activities that have the greatest potential for profit?” It took many months to realize that for me, my glib answer in the affirmative would mean gently, reverently laying down a whole lot of projects–or at least seriously rejiggering my relationship to them. I love creative work, and I’m almost always swooning over one idea or another. Thanks to KIIC, my mantra for 2016 is “FOCUS”–which for me means drawing and painting, with 90% of my energy going to clearly gallery-oriented projects, and 10% towards everything else.

This was a very hard transition.


We artists are stubborn.

We are impulsive, fickle, complicated, confusing and confused. We need community, and we need solitude. We need space to speak boldly–and we need to be able to take all those loud words back. We need the freedom to be blindly, passionately wrong about something, and to keep evolving. We’re stubborn because we’re busy soul-ing our way through our creative practices. Of course we’re stubborn! If we weren’t stubborn, we’d never start our work, let alone finish it. 

We all need support in figuring out the difference between creative practice and wallowing in the trough of our creative loves. We all need help making friends with self-discipline. KIIC, and Marla, helped me do those things. 

A creative life–a life of creative practice–is the only life I need. But in committing to it, I’m committing to a kind of devotional practice–not to a profession. My first job is to focus and work at my craft and my vision–not to make products. It’s been a long journey, but I feel more at peace with it than ever before, in part thanks to the support and education I received through KIIC.

I have so much more clarity about myself and my creative aims. I worked hard in 2015, and was lucky to find opportunities to show–thank you, Pilar Westell of Zendo Art & Coffee, and thank you, Bryce Hample of Winnings–and cycling through the creative process with a variety of ideas really helped me understand what I’m actually, whole-heartedly committed to at this time in my life: drawings and paintings that somehow shelter a flickering bit of life, generally related to spirit and soul and beauty.

My wholehearted thanks go to the excellent idea that is KIIC. Thanks, Shira and Emily! I can’t wait to learn more in 2016.

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