AMALIA: Changing the Story of Mother Artists

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You know how it goes.

When you’re young, someone tells you that you have a gift, so you spend hours doodling, finally taking that art class, investing in a photography session your junior of high school,  or starring in a school play your final semester.

Everyone tells you you’re headed somewhere great, just keep at it, and yours dreams are so big, the future so bright. You have so many things to say you can barely fit them all down on paper. Life seems to glow with how much you want to share with it.

But life changes, doesn’t it? And you have to reprioritize. Children are a game changer, for one. When you have little ones, what mother can spend hours dreamily apply blue paint to canvas, or take voice lessons, or snap artsy photographs?

It’s how it has to be, isn’t it? Maybe in some people’s minds. But for Rivka Nehorai, a Brooklyn-based artistic mother, this “artistic martyrdom” is a myth. “Children,” she argues, “need happy mothers. When a mother is happy, everyone is happy, and society is healthy. Artistic mothers don’t need to create because it’s a nice thing to do,” her logic continues.” Artistic mothers have a Gd given responsibility to create, for their emotional, psychological, and spiritual health.”

Rivka’s newly launched program AMALIA  ( Hebrew for work of Gd) is committed to “strengthening the home through propelling artists during motherhood”. Each mother is required to complete five hours of artmaking weekly, receiving weekly check ins for accountability and mentorship and a monthly group meetings for inspiration and guidance.  Artists receive funding through needs or merit-based scholarships, receiving money to pay for babysitters and cleaning help while they work.  All artists upload one image or mp3 per month that is available for sale at the AMALIA store.

A L.A. resident, Shaina Kamman, has taken on the AMALIA challenge. A mother of two, Shaina recounts her own artistic tale and motherhood stalling period,

“Ten years ago, I was studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, fueling the flame of the music in my soul. While there, I met the Chabad family at Berklee, fell in love with Judaism, and decided to go study in Israel. After studying in Israel for two years, I met my husband and we got married soon after. A year later, we were blessed with our first  baby boy, Sholom. Six months after that, we moved to LA, and I went back to school at Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and started my health coaching business, helping women heal their hormones. Six months ago, we were blessed with our second  baby boy, Yisroel. So many blessings, in so little time.

“Now, when people hear this, they usually ask, “So what are you doing with your music now?” To which I usually give back some sort of blank stare, which is an honest answer basically saying, “How on earth would I fit that on my plate? I don’t have any idea how to do that right now, let alone even think about it.” Yet, its also a bit of a zinger for me because my soul is yearning and burning to be writing and playing music again. And I’ve yet to figure out how to integrate the two.

“AMALIA is life changing for me and, quite frankly, the answer to my prayers. I have yearned for mentoring, support, community and structure to help me create a sustainable and healthy space to create music again. Myself, along with twelve other mother artists are the first group to go through the program.”

“Artist mothers,” Rivka Nehorai asserts, ” are necessary for a healthy society. The time is now. We can empower and support them together.

Find out more about AMALIA at http://thecreativesoul.org/about-amalia. AMALIA is still in need of monthly sponsors for some of the dedicated mother artists. To sponsor an artist for one to five hours a week, please contact Rivka Nehorai atamaliacreativesoul@gmail.com.

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