Invest in community

Street artist and Anchorage Community Works board member Will Kozoloff stopped by the new community photo studio at the warehouse. You can find him on Instagram as @lodust.

Street artist and Anchorage Community Works board member Will Kozoloff stopped by the new community photo studio at the warehouse. You can find him on Instagram as @lodust.

Over the years I've often wondered what it is about who I am that has led me down random rabbit holes. For one, my curiosity is insatiable and thanks to my late awareness of ADHD; I now understand my life long deviations were actually a straight line to my current trajectory. I also know, that I've been blessed/fortunate to have people come into my life and nudge me along a path of potential growth at just the right time. Both in good times and bad. 
 
I have this nagging feeling my home town of Los Anchorage is approaching a transition. I can't exactly put my finger on it but I know it will be disruptive... beneficial for some, and not so helpful for others. If there's one thing I've learned from 2016, fear is an opportunity for growth. The discomfort you feel from having to adapt is actually a sign of the natural resilience that runs in your blood from the millennia of ancestors that came before you. Embrace that discomfort knowing it's just a funny way of experiencing growth. 

Looking south at the natural window light bouncing off a parabolic reflector in the community photo studio that my business is operating at Anchorage Community Works. 

Looking south at the natural window light bouncing off a parabolic reflector in the community photo studio that my business is operating at Anchorage Community Works. 

Most recently, I turned my fear into a gorgeous community photo studio for creatives to use. How is this a fear? I'm a freelancer, who co-parents two kids and has no college degree. I pencil out to about $13.00/hr. on paper if I go applying for jobs. Interestingly enough, over the years I've continued to keep my mind sharp because as a self-learner with ADHD that's all I got. Turns out, my immense patience with understanding how I learn paid off and I eventually started tutoring individuals and solving businesses needs on with technology for $35.00/hr. That was my first step into entrepreneurship. Back then, I used to think people paid me for what I knew but now I know better. I could ask for the hourly rate that I did because I demonstrated the ability to listen and care about the needs of others needs. 
 
I've been listening and caring about photographers and the growing eco-system of freelance creatives for a long time now. Almost decade to be exact. For a short while, Los Anchorage had no place for this growing workforce of the digital age. Luckily that's not the case any more. Places like The Boardroom, The Maker Space, Off the Chain, and Anchorage Community Works are now hubs for opportunity  because the immense value that is found in the overlapping networks of talented individuals. It took me passing up two earlier opportunities to start a community studio before I realized I was perpetuating fear and limiting opportunity for myself and others. Well, I'm glad that's over and excited for what's to come for my future growth and that of the creative community in Anchorage.