I’m “Out of the Closet”

Something’s been bubbling up around here, an underground hot spring that finally shot up an unanticipated geyser last week on Lori Wolfson’s and my Blue Stocking Art Salon gathering. The most surprising thing was that the artists on the call weren’t particularly surprised. Turns out I’ve been walking my silent talk all along – and only I have been oblivious to how obvious it has been. Until last Wednesday, I thought I was perfectly happy to let the hot spring in my soul remain… underground, flowing quietly warm beneath what I do, undetected to all but me. lol, Ariane.

Inner+Outer = the Whole of Us (almost)

Many, many of you who have followed my last five-year journey know one of my most basic, and oft repeated, mantras: how we experience ourselves internally impacts how we experience the world externally. From the beginning, I told artists that the professional development conference, the smARTist Telesummit, would always include a healthy mix of presentations and experts who addressed our inner landscape, as well as the nitty-gritty external realities of our current world. So you got Molly Gordon talking about “Five Money Dramas That Keep You Broke,” along with Leonard D. DuBoff, Attorney talking about “Art Law: What Do Artist Really Need to Know?” Or, as I saw it: Inner+Outer = the Whole of Us Well, not completely. What you haven’t gotten – yet – is what I believe (and have personally experienced for years) lovingly holds the Inner and Outer dimensions of our experience together: our Spiritual self.

Why, Then, Have I Been Avoiding the “S” Word?

I remember that first year of the telesummit being challenged by a handful of artists who were worried that I was going to give them “a bunch of woo woo.” Of course I scrambled to defend my “as the Inner goes so goes the Outer.” And I worried that the huge benefits I knew artists would get from the conference would be undermined if what I was doing got the “woo woo” stamp of disapproval. So I eliminated the “S” word from my vocabulary (and my business model), and let it quietly hum in the background (or so I thought… until last Wednesday!)

Of Course, If I’m Going To Walk My Talk, I Have To Fess Up

Those “don’t-want-the-woo woo” artists were holding up their end of the contract perfectly: reflecting back to me my own stuff. In a dark corner of my heart, I didn’t want to have my professionalism (i.e., carefully crafted external identity) questioned or cast doubt upon. I was convinced that connecting spirituality to my business would “brand” me with an S every bit as damning as that A in The Scarlet Letter. I was also scared. Since spirituality is the core of my authentic identity, it felt too vulnerable – as reckless as appearing naked on stage.

So, why Am I Taking My Clothes Off Now?

The simple answer: it’s time. The emerging answer: it’s been time for a long time. Long enough for the personality (Ariane) to grow into a desire large enough to give voice to the true longing of my soul (that which holds Ariane, and so much more:  an ever expanding, unique expression of the Divine). And then, there’s the perfect conspiracy between the outer and the inner: my friend, and loving co-host, on the Blue Stocking Art Salon outted me. She would tell you that was not her intention. And, at a conscious level I’m sure it wasn’t. But at the level of spiritual perfection (oh, isn’t that a delicious conversation we can now have?), it was the intention of her spirit and mine to open the closet door and invite me out into the light of day. Side Note: Would you like to hear that call? I don’t come out of the closet until half way through, but the whole call points toward my new direction, and the response I got from the artists who joined us. Click here to listen.

Yes, the smARTist Telesummit is Only Days Away

So, why would I be opening this up now, when there is so much to take care of for the conference? Because the smARTist Telesummit has always been a Spiritual Sanctuary for your artistic soul. I just never said it out loud. Now, by Divine motivation, I’ll stand on top of towers to say it. And the best part? I am learning that I am not alone–have never been alone. (Amazing, isn’t it, how persistent our own mythology can be?) Here’s a few sample postings from last year’s smARTist Telesummit Forum about why artists come to this event. (It was really hard to pick just these because I have 16 pages of comments like these that I pulled out of the conference online forum.) ————————————– From my wonder-ful newbies: I’m already so impressed with the positive feel of this telesummit. Great first day. Lots of wonderful, helpful, thought provoking information…and I love what Ariane said about how art is the heart and soul of civilization. That turned on a light in me. A light of recognition where the reason I am doing what I do, began to dawn like first morning light. I LOVE being around other artists. I really do. ~Roni


The smARTist Telesummit 2011 was a wonderful opportunity to broaden my vision on the many ways to earn a living from my art. Your focus on the spiritual side of creativity was so inspiring and thought provoking. I have a greater appreciation for what I do in terms of knowing it’s impact upon society. I was able to get over a large hurdle in my art career as a result and will focus not upon selling my art but just getting it out there for others. It was a great week of inspiration. Thanks again, ~Kathy Besthorn


I’m also really pleased and excited with the beginning of this “feast.” The two panels have been full of wonderful ideas to mull over. I also find it interesting how inspiration flows when you put yourself in the right place. I was surprised today with an answer to something I have been mulling over for a while now about my artwork. I got an image of what could be my “brand” … how cool is THAT!!!!! If something that cool can happen on the second day I can only imagine what I will gather by the end of the summit!!!!! Exciting! Thanks Ariane for putting this together. ~Karen Williams Smith P.S. I just try to stay in groups where I feel comfortable and where I KNOW people are willing to help each other … like THIS ONE! We are truly safe here. Ariane will make sure people treat each other with respect and care. She will never let it get out of hand. So if finding an artist group to feel safe in is something you need or want … you can count on us! ~KWS


I just found out about the Telesummit 2011 one day before it started… I decided 10 minutes before the day of the first call to take action. After the first MasterMind Panel, I realized this was a good seminar for me. Today two days later I filled out my vision questionnaire… Just writing down even a sketch of a plan felt like I was being more focused than I’ve been in years. Thank you, for re-starting the creative (direction) fire. I have learned more than I ever thought I would. ~ Jade —————– From My Truly Beloved Alumni: I am a third year, smARTist alumni and always manage to be amazed at how much can be learned year to year. I signed up primarily to hear Jason Horejs, the info he gives is most relevant to what I want to learn, but I continue to be surprised at the info I hear that I can make use of by the other speakers. I find smARTist an excellent way to start off an efficient, New Year! ~Christine Montague


I remember learning lots at the first smARTist Telesummit I came to, so it was a WOW! But this one is a double WOW. You have polished your systems to perfection by now and it truly is an immersion experience. Besides getting answers to the questions I wrote out ahead of time, I am getting answers to question I didn’t know I had. ~Judith


Once again, I am loving the smARTist Telesummit time. I love listening, gleaning, and learning, but most of all I am so grateful that I will be able to listen to the presentations again, and again. I can’t wait to get the CD set and put it in my car. While driving to and from where ever, I listen to the sessions repeatedly. It is always exciting to hear what the speaker’s have to say, plus it really imprints the messages on my mind making it easier to put the information to use in my own business. Thank you, Ariane and speakers, for all the time and effort you put into this annual event. ~Pam Seay ———————————————————————– Imagine the connections that these artists can make–with how and why they do their art, and how and why they have to carry that into the marketing and business side–when we all come out of the spiritual closet together!


Is your heart and soul calling for a way to connect with the nitty gritty of marketing and business–or just to connect?  Then come on down!

We are all waiting to greet you at the smARTist Telesummit 2012!

P.S. Here’s one example from my “underground” spiritual business practice, which I’ll be revealing more about on the 2012 smARTist Telesummit forum:  Each time an artist registers for the conference, I get a notice in my inbox. I open the notice, say the artist’s name out loud, then inwardly, I connect my heart to their heart. Then I bow, in their direction, in gratitude that they are a) making this commitment, at this time, to their own artistic soul, and b) they are allowing me to serve them as best I know how.

13 Responses to “I’m “Out of the Closet””

  1. S. Bayley says:

    As an atheist you have now taken this conference down a road I don’t want to go. It’s your choice to define your life your way, but why say now you are going to talk about this ‘a lot more’ during the conference without making this clear earlier. I would not have signed up and would like to withdraw.

    • Ariane says:

      Oh, S Bayley,
      I don’t think your atheist beliefs will be challenged in any way at all. None of the speakers are “going down this road,” and all the core material will be just as I’ve laid out.

      This is an opportunity for you to get the information you need. My opening up the foundation – which has been there through all the past conferences – is not a threat to different world views.

      Not at all. In fact, it’s a call for all of us to step truly into who we are, and I heartily include anyone who wants to engage.

      Or, you can simply learn what you are here to learn and leave my belief system out of your experience – that’s certainly no problem for me.

      What I’ll bring up will only be on the Forum, and open to those who resonate with this perspective (or not).

      I love other points of view and encourage everyone to be respectful. I don’t claim to have any answers and most certainly would never want your atheist reality to be dismissed in any way.

  2. Ah… yes… the “spiritual” in what we do, the “spiritual” in art…

    I can identify with the tendency to hide – wanting my work to have a place in the contemporary art world without the woo-woo attached…

    Makes me ask myself just what i mean by woo-woo. How do I define it? And is what I do actually woo-woo or something else… something with perhaps soul and internal terrain and something rooted in and connected to the body…

    And then, really, the point for me is that the work and what I do is moving me along…. that I’m bumping up against my edges – whatever they may be…

    • Ariane says:

      I think it’s more useful to substitute the word “spiritual” for “woo woo.” I used it here to acknowledge those who need to use superficial labels for things they would rather dismiss than understand.

      One of the discussions I’d like to have on the Forum is “What does it mean when we use the word ‘spirituality?’ Because I think people come from different angles and it would a good idea to open this up.

      I love this idea of bumping up against “edges.” You can see this already happening here in the comments.

      My fervent hope is that artists are geared to curiosity and don’t close doors willy-nilly on the basis of intolerance of all viewpoints.

      We’ll see…. :-)

      • This is a great conversation – one that I’ve been interested in for a long time.

        “Spiritual” is indeed such a broad term that can encompass so much depending on who we are and how we’re using it.

        Maybe it’s time to unpack the term and see what it contains and why the aversions or blocks around it?

        Happy that this discussion is happening here,

    • Ariane says:

      Definitely, Jessica, you’re on my wavelength as I’ve been coming up with ways to identify “what is spirituality?”

      It would be a great questions to pose once I get my bearings on how I’m going to let this one emerge!

      Knowing you are here is heartening. Thank you!

  3. ArtsyDesigny says:

    This is a beautiful post which took a lot of courage. I give you lots of respect and a mountain of appreciation. My art journey has been nothing but spiritual for me. Without my spirituality, there would not have been an art journey for me. It’s impossible for me to separate them because they are one in the same.

    Please don’t get discouraged by any negative criticism, from others but also yourself. There is a reason you felt this desire to come “out”. Embrace it and find out what a wonderful life the universe has in store for you.

    Thank you. You’ve inspired me.

    • Ariane says:

      Bless you, Rob, for supporting my speaking out.

      And know that I do believe you are not alone. In fact, I know you aren’t.

      There is a whole community of artists who feel just this way, but until now there hasn’t been a place to gather, a common well to drink from.

      This conference holds some of that in the Forum, and in the future, together, we’ll build a sanctuary that supports and encourages your light to shine even brighter!

      I’m going to need you, and other like-minded artists, to rally round… more to come…

  4. Harriette says:

    You Go Girl~~Into the world with your vision!

  5. Eden Maxwell says:


    I also applaud you for your courage to say what you feel and not kowtowing to the limited opinions of others who may not get it now, but one day they might.

    Your post beautifully punctuates one of my mantras: you are sacred ground when you know where you stand.

  6. I’d like to add my two cents here. I was attracted to mentoring with you because I saw and sensed that there was something deep within you that knew this the whole time.
    I’m a self proclaimed woo woo or as you put it… very connected to my spiritual self. By this I mean that I feel a deep connection to earth, to others and to the energy that is part of this quantum soup that we live in..To address lightly the atheist, I believe that atheism has it’s own woo woo qualities and there is enough room for all of us. I have come to believe that the more I share the more I resonate with others. I for one am eternally grateful for you, and all the other woo woos on the planet….and might I add that this has not hurt my status, my credibility or my success as an artist in any way….quite the opposite. Thanks for coming out!

    • Ariane says:

      Yay, Jeanne. Always a delight to connect with you and love your input here as someone who has coached with me privately and KNOWS that having spiritual awareness only increases, as you put it, “my status, my credibility [and] my success as an artist…”

      I would like to add that I think the conversation will become more accurate, and influential, when the “woo woo” terminology is outed as the disrespectful and petty name calling that it really is.

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