Photo credit: Carlynne with Bergette Photography

This weekend, Wave Pool is hosting "9x18: The Parking Lot Project." This experimental art fair will take over the parking lot at 2927 Colerain Avenue on May 20 from 1-5 p.m. Each participant will have a 9'x18' area — the size of a standard parking space — to display their work, whether it's visual, performative, interactive or anything else they might imagine.

For Scott Holzman of Chase Public, this format presented an opportunity not to present his own art, but to grant legitimacy to young artists. "I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who teaches photography and media art," Holzman recalls, "and he mentioned how one of his students would often say things like, 'When I’m a real photographer, I’ll…' or, 'When I’m actually an artist I’ll…' and we discussed how that’s not a healthy mindset. There is no board certification for being an artist. You don’t pass a test and gain a license"

That's when the idea struck him: if young artists need official affirmation before they can see themselves as artists, why not just give it to them? With that thought in mind, Holzman began reaching out to various arts organizations throughout the region, asking them for no more than their seal of approval on a certificate that officially designates each recipient a "Real Artist." Representatives from arts groups will be on hand to sign the certificates for added legitimacy.

Creativity is a critical aspect of education and learning. As we raise and educate the leaders of tomorrow, any gift we can give them to increase the confidence they have in their ability to think and act creatively will work as an investment that pays off in a brighter future. Small as it may seem, this united message from the arts community to young artists, that all they need to become artists is to make art, can be a powerful step forward.