July 7, 2015


Right, so this happened, which is obviously a pretty big deal for me. And first it’s just a lot of self high-fiving, because you’re not supposed to tell anyone. And then a little selective high-fiving from other people, because of course you’re going to tell, like, your mom and your sister, and the handful of people in your life who put up with you being an artist, for fuck’s sake. And then they announce it, so it’s a LOT of high-fiving from everyone, which is of course really nice and only a little socially mortifying (“Hey, Kresge Grantee!!” “Um, you know, Rosie still works fine.”)

But now that all the high-fiving is settling down a little, I find myself grappling with the void that, for me, basically immediately opens up after I’ve achieved a big, longstanding goal. Like, cool, but now what? Because ultimately, a Kresge Fellowship is not just $25K (don’t get me wrong; that is a full-on, life-changing amount of money for me)—it’s really a powerful tool that’s going to enable me to do more work. Better work, I hope. And that’s awesome, but also sort of exhausting to think about, because not for nothing, I have been working my ass off since I got to Detroit six years ago. I didn’t know what work was until a town full of third-shifters showed me. Detroiters are the hardest-working people I know.

So, okay, more work. But having this unprecedented room to breathe, financially means I get to choose a little more carefully what the work is. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to structure my days more thoughtfully, taking work based on what I care about instead of what I need to do to get all the bills locked down. In the words of 2013 Kresge Fellow Kate Daughdrill, I get to wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?”

Spend time in the studio, go to breakfast with other artists, pitch new projects to new places with a kind of energy and confidence I’ve never had before. Weed the garden, make food for myself and others, walk my dog every day. Think constantly about the ways I can make this opportunity benefit my community holistically—the extra time I can spend working at the community garden, promoting the Detroit art scene, encouraging other people to make their voices heard. Take some time to appreciate the beauty in this place I love; figure out how to be of better service to it.

I don’t know how much of that is on-mission for KAID, but I sure appreciate the opportunity, and I’m striving not to waste a minute of it.

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