How did I realize my “why” in the Emerging Artist application?

Photo by Celso Yamachita



Blog Post 2 – Agueda Zabisky


Although applying for the Creative Pinellas Grant seemed bureaucratic and even daunting at first, I thought it was the perfect eye-opener. Everything is done online, there are a lot of questions, and it took me several days to think it over and fill it out. The good thing is that the system allows us to save and edit countless times to adjust the responses. Once completed, the platform still requires a general verification to be performed before releasing the button for the application to be sent.

Well, I edited it dozens of times. Some parts are boring and bureaucratic such as personal data, looking for a reference letter, updating curriculum, etc. Other items are indeed crucial, and I will highlight two of them:

Mentorship: How do we imagine the mentor and what to expect from him/her? This was really complex as I had to articulate the answer without seeming desperate for help. I think that every artist, or at least most of us, would like to count on the help of a seasoned and already recognized professional, to be able to question, provoke and explore where we can improve or think differently.

There are many doubts, many ideas that sometimes don’t even get off the ground simply because we don’t believe in them. But maybe if they are better discussed, they can become possible. Having someone with experience to exchange ideas with is really valuable. It was difficult, I edited it several times but, in the end, I think I managed to convey all the required information (and maybe it didn’t show how desperate I was).

Vision Statement: When I got here … I froze! I thought: “How am I going to answer this? How are they going to understand me just by reading a few paragraphs?” I actually spent a couple of days thinking about it.

Finally, I decided to put all my work on paper in chronological order, commenting on the rationale of each series I created. Then I realized something incredible! There was a connecting thread linking my 17 years as a ceramist. Artwork that I have created through inspiration over time, all together showed a clear connection that I had not noticed until that moment.

A curious thing is that whenever I initiate a new idea, I start thinking about a project and not an isolated sculpture. This is perhaps something that stayed with me after decades working as a graphic designer, always starting from projects. This was something interesting I had not realized before.

And, observing the recurring theme over time, I discovered that the continuous quest to understand who I am as an individual and the mystery of that internal strength that humans have, which makes them move forward, is what inspires me as an artist. The application process to Creative Pinellas was the trigger that provoked this reflection and discovery.

Of course, it may not happen to everyone, but for me the application process was a game changer. It was like looking inside and understanding perfectly “why” I do what I do. “Where does my inspiration come from? What moves me?

In the next post, I will share the result of this process and how my vision emerged.

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