Poets Not Programs – by The Work Of the People

If you demand of an artist they justify “a project” before starting out, you have killed his or her spirit, you have killed what he or she can do. In particular, you have killed what he or she can do and you can’t. That’s why they’re artists and you aren’t. Artists don’t do programs, they explore. They explore by doing and making. Guide them in exploring, set them in a certain direction, hold them to task and contain them in community, then let them run. Don’t demand they explain a project. Say to them, I trust the voice God has placed in you, I trust your exploration is of value to us, our community, we need it.

Artists deal with what can be, so they don’t know what it is yet. They can’t tell you about a project, in order to justify it, in order to get permission to do it. As a leader you can insist they justify what they’re doing before they do it, but then they’ll be doing what you can do because they’ll be dealing with what already is, and you can’t explore what can be by dealing with what is. So sure, control them, leash them, pin them down, make them “productive” so they’re safe and controllable, but you won’t get anything new. And they’ll just be doing a bad version of what you do, which won’t help anyone, not them, not you, not your community.

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