I’m so grateful to have been joined in conversation this week with five amazing artists, mothers, and academics who have sustained friendship virtually while living across the country: Sara Poer, Carole Loeffler, Katie Ries, Carrie Scanga, and Carmina Eliason. These five women met as part of an “artist parent academic” peer support group (organized by Lauren Frances Evans!) to share their experiences of the unique loneliness of being both parents and professors even while surrounded by people and art. We collectively discuss the power of community as a devotional practice to and investment in nurturing yourself, finding radical softness through care work and mutual respect, and looking to communal accountability for growth. Additionally, we highlight other crucial topics including knowing how to “refill your cup,” navigating patriarchal tensions between “professionalism” and parenting, and the importance of holding both time and space for yourself and your community in your day-to-day.
In order of appearance in the interview:
Sara Poer works across photography and textiles, drawing on the histories of domestic craft including quilting and embroidery to elevate the notion of “women’s work” while teaching at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. See more on her website or on IG @sarapoer
Carole Loeffler is an artist, professor, and the first female chair of Visual and Performing Arts at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania — Philadelphia-area locals, keep an eye out around town for her “granny graffiti” mixed media affirmations! Find her work on her website or on IG @caroleloeffler
Katie Ries moves between printmaking, drawing, and participatory events about environmentalism while teaching at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. See her work on her website or on IG @ktries
Carrie Scanga works on paper across artist’s books, installations of cut and folded paper, and printmaking, which she teaches at Bowdoin College in Portland, Maine. See more of Carrie’s work on her website or on IG @carriescanga
Carmina Eliason is an interdisciplinary artist who uses objects to center storytelling, crafting narratives and social projects that unite participants around difficult topics. Carmina teaches photography at Cabrillo College in Aptos, Oregon. Find her work on her website or at IG @carminaeliason