17 November 2021
MOMENTUM - On Creative Philanthropy and Kindness
As the end of 2021 approached, we reached out to composer, Dr Rosalind Page, and asked her if she might like to put on paper some of the thoughts that had occupied her mind over the many months of the pandemic. We had a specific reason to go to her with this request - and we're now absolutely delighted to reveal the identity of our original founding MOMENTUM donor and the person behind the initiative that led to more commissions and helped to sustain some of our artists over the pandemic. The AMC would now like to express our public and profound thanks to Rosalind!
In May 2020 as the pandemic took control of the direction of our lives, I was concerned. As someone whose career depends upon creative thinking and drawing across interconnections, I had an idea and a guiding image.
Although creativity springs from a deep well, independent artists - those without regular income, those not in permanent academic positions, those without major ongoing commissions, those self-supporting their daily lives, consistently counting costs to support their creative work - bore the most impactful, existential, economic stress and its consequences of the COVID nightmare.
To the humanist psychologist Carl Rogers, self-actualization is the ultimate need and aspiration for fulfilment of one's potential and purpose in life. For me as a composer, this means diving deep into flow and creating my best work. However, in the hierarchy of human needs, according to psychologist Abraham Maslow, our first two primal needs address survival: food to sustain the physical body and security, a safe place of shelter.
During the unprecedented months of 2020, how could independent artists think clearly and create, their life's purpose, when the foremost thoughts each day were disturbingly practical - how to survive without the financial means? Not only today, this week, but without an end in sight?
With this concern weighing on my mind, I approached John Davis, former CEO of the AMC with my idea to create in that moment a personal one to one offer of practical financial support from one independent composer to another to assist the artist to do what they do best - creative thinking - without the ever present burden of how to meet their first two basic human needs.
Thus was born the first MOMENTUM Commission. The principal idea centred around offering a safe space within which creative thought could gather momentum, keep moving forward and continue to grow.
An idea itself needs momentum to exist in a viable form and the first MOMENTUM Commission required the collective creative thinking and work of John Davis, Anni Heino, Judith Foster and the staff of the AMC who diligently processed the applications. The work of the selection panel was kindly undertaken at very short notice by Annette Tesoriero, Aaron Wyatt, Natalie Williams and chaired by Paul Mason.
I am thankful for such collective, generous giving of time and active assistance, without which the first MOMENTUM Commission could not have been brought to fruition.
The image for the commission call is a lotus leaf, a close-up photo, one of many I took in 2010 in a tranquil Kyoto Buddhist garden, where I was lost in time in creative flow. In gentle rain, the garden was a haven of fresh wonder and deep interconnectedness. My photo, the rising network of lotus leaf veins supported upon animate green, became the guiding image for a commission creating living connection, movement and growth.
During the pandemic, there has been much emotional support offered over social media from creative artist to artist. This was heartwarming, revealing the deep wellspring of empathy and kindness that exists within our profession. This generosity was significantly shown when the first MOMENTUM Commission inspired a second and third commission.
Now, as we emerge into a new future, I reflect upon what we as a profession can continue to offer in the way of connection and kindness. How can we individually and collectively view the act of giving through a broader lens as an act of creating an opportunity, where and whatever that might be, to help others flourish?
© Australian Music Centre (2021) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Dr Rosalind Page is a composer and founding donor of the MOMENTUM Commissions 2020.
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Momentum - Rosalind Page
Rosalind writes so beautifully, and what a generous initiative. Congrats to all involved.