Art Works Blog

Creating for Community: Announcing the New Issue of NEA Arts

When conducting Art Talks for the blog, we’ll often ask artists what they believe their responsibility is to the community, and conversely, what they think the community’s responsibility is to them. In our new issue of NEA Arts—now live on our website—we expanded this conversation, and dug deeper into the relationship between artists and the communities that they represent, which were by turns based on geographic location, ethnicity, and shared passions.

One of the artists we spoke with was young adult author Meg Medina. In her books, Medina takes strong Latina girls as her protagonists, which she hopes will empower not just her Latino readers, but the community of girls in its entirety, in turn creating a generation of bold, unapologetic women. In this unpublished interview excerpt below, Medina spoke about the necessity of being tough, particularly for women who choose to pursue a life in the arts.

“Saying that you're a writer sometimes is like saying you're a magician. Nobody really believes you. Or they say, ‘Oh, really? What have you published? And where?’ It's crushing. Talk about needing to be a strong girl. When you're going to do something alternative, like a life in the arts, you really have to be a strong girl. Because there's a disbelief in it somehow. There's this push that it's impractical or that it's fluff. And there's nothing fluff about having a life where you're telling the truth about being human.”

Read our full interview with Medina, or check out our pieces on artists and arts organizations such as Jetsonorama, Natalie Chanin, Irvin Mayfield, StoryCorps OutLoud, and more.


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