Contributed Art(icle) by Nancy Joyce:
I feel intrinsically drawn to help those less fortunate than myself, specifically those that are misunderstood or misrepresented. OpenDoors allows kids that would otherwise be overlooked, ignored, or that might slip through the cracks to shine and show their true potentials on a level playing field. Life is not fair. We cannot choose whose family we are born into, from what nationality we have roots or what challenges we may face in regards to our given fate.
OpenDoors does just this: it opens doors of opportunity for certain kids and families who deserve a boost because of their personal ambitions and motivation to better themselves from the plights they were given at birth.
I tend to seek out people who are miles ahead of me career-wise and ask them for advice. I’ve done this three separate times since I moved to Asheville in 2011. The first piece of advice I received was from a well-known artist who does nationwide public art installations. He told me that I should donate my “best work” to at least two auctions a year for the sole purpose of the cause itself.
Now, let me be honest here…the auction part of it didn’t seem as daunting to me as giving away “my best work”. After all, my best work usually sold relatively quickly which gave me income and allowed me to make more art. However, I also knew that I would be opening myself up to an audience who would subsequently learn more about me and become further exposed to my work. Donate my art. Give my “best” art away for free. Put myself out there and get a glimpse of the perceived value of my best work in a live setting. Vomit.
I let this advice simmer with me for about 6 months and finally concluded something far beyond the initial conversation I had with this artist. I learned that these causes I would eventually give to, would give back to me in multiple and immeasurable ways.
Let me tell you, there is something incredibly fulfilling about putting yourself out there, being vulnerable and giving the best that you have for others.
I have two children, a husband and a full-time art career that I try to balance. Like many others, I don’t have the time to give to hands-on charitable not-for-profits like I used to before my children were born. My time is so truncated that I have to use every inch of it to move forward, meet deadlines and keep on top of things. I decided and have now dedicated my life’s work to give back within the confounds of my own chosen path.
Giving back through my art is the most natural, cyclical part of who I am today. I now only paint if I can give back at the same time. Ironically, this drastic and seemingly counter-intuitive way to make a living has projected my career in more ways than ever. Presently, my drive and passion to give through my art is what excites me and keeps me going. “What goes around comes around”…which is a lot of why I continue to paint wheels and bikes…but that’s a discussion for another day. “No one has ever become poor by giving.” (Anne Frank)