Creative Enablers (The Good Kind)

Ben Martin/Getty Images via NPR

image via WNYC

Behind the legions of amazing artists and writers and musicians, there are the "enablers" -- the people that champion and encourage, the people that support (both financially and emotionally), the people that consume and then come back for more...

Growing up with a musician father, I experienced first-hand the importance of this ecosystem, and several of the people that encouraged and supported my dad's craft (and somewhat unorthodox non 9-5 lifestyle) became extended members of our family and are still very much a part of our lives today. I think that experience has instilled in me a desire to be a massive champion for creative pursuits.

On the way home from work last night, I heard a story on NPR about Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koenigswarter (or "Nica"), a wealthy baroness that devoted three decades of her life to helping jazz musicians, including greats like Charlie Parker, Art Blakey and (my beloved) Thelonious Monk. She was the ultimate artistic enabler and did so at a cost to her own comfortable life. It was brave and highly admirable on many levels if not infinitely fascinating.

Hearing the story was also timely, as I've been thinking and talking to others (hi Lucia) about what it takes to make Dallas into a great "creative" city. We now boast a formidable arts district, and there's a wealth of creative talent tucked into Dallas' nooks and crannies. But I think we need more enablers... It goes beyond financial support or visiting museums and galleries and buying art (although that's certainly an essential component). It has to be a sort of passionate commitment to a creative culture. It's has include fiercely supporting our talented local designers, attending creative events and activities (and helping to concept new ones in a sort of grass-roots way) and encouraging a general sort of soulfulness to balance Dallas' reputation as a hotbed of consumerism... This city is just so much more than the sum of our shops and restaurants.

So to that end, I wanted to highlight a couple cool creative things/happenings in Dallas on the off-chance that you want to help "enable"them a bit ;-)

image via The Criterion Collection

First up, the screening of Bottle Rocket next Thursday the 28th at Oak Cliff's Kessler Theater (part of the brilliant movie series Dallas, Outlaws, and The American Dream)... So much goodness packed into this one friends. First and foremost, Bottle Rocket is (in my humble opinion) one of the truly genius movies, and it's utterly local (created by locals, acted by locals, filmed locally). And then there's the matter of Oak Cliff and The Kessler Theater...both gems, (again my opinion) among the very best of our city.

Be an enabler... go to this screening. For sure.

Next is my dear friend (and partner in crime) Christine. I recently watched this video of her creating her Spring 2012 collection for Little Bean and was just, well...hugely inspired. Christine is a force -- her kid's clothing line, her shop (which is unequivocally unlike anything else in Dallas), Small Magazine... I am endlessly in awe.

Ok friends, now it's your turn. Share in the comments something or someone creative you'd like to help promote/enable. I'll pick a few from your suggestions and share them here in the next couple of weeks.


Glamourbibliotekaren said...

Hi! A few months ago, I watched a TV documentary (HBO) on Norwegian TV about Nica and Monk. It was truly interesting!

Here's a link to some more information:

I hope you'll catch it on tv some day! :)

Jennifer said...

Well said Joslyn!
Loved seeing the video of Christine's work- so good!
Bottle Rocket is one of my favorites.

Ok: I'm cheating. Here's two women whose work I feel should be more widely known- my friends Debra Baxter: http://www.debrabaxter.com/ and Hadley Holliday: http://www.hadleyholliday.com


Glamourbibliotekaren said...

Ooops - HERE's the link: http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/the-jazz-baroness/

Chelsea said...

I love this post so much. It's basically what I want to be when I grow up.

Jessica said...


Proof that you can be you own champion as an artist...

The FRYE had a leaflet in last Sunday's NY Times that called/ introduced me to this woman's work. Isn't it crazy how many things are likely going on in our town that are worthy of our attention.. and yet unless a trusted national source is blatantly calling us to them we aren't taking notice..??

Although this aesthetic does not usually draw me in- her story is one I will remember forever.

Jessica said...

My husband has been performing music in DFW for over 10 years now, so I'm very appreciative of the people who are willing to come out to shows and support their local musicians. And my friends and I do our best to support the bands that we like too. I'd like to share the band Calhoun. Full disclosure, my husband now performs with this band, but he's a recent addition and has little to do with me having loved this band for years. I just love them a little more now. :)

Lucia said...

this guy is awesome, joslyn -- so smart and clever: http://aesthletics.org/. read more here: http://frontrow.dmagazine.com/2011/07/interview-how-tom-russotti-creates-art-from-drinking-dancing-and-sports/

Mandylion said...

my dearest friend has decided to leave behind her life of teaching elementary ESL and open a paper shop... it's her dream! and i'm so proud of her for pursuing it! she is an artist at heart that has been searching for a way to live it out, and this shop was her answer.

check her out:

on etsy: