Julie Sokolow is a musician, writer, and filmmaker based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the creator of the Healthy Artists documentary series, in which young creatives discuss their struggles with the American health care system.
Adam Grossi was just an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University, when his paintings started popping up in galleries across Pittsburgh.
“Grossi skips pushing the high-profile buttons – like war, poverty and racism – and goes after the societal dispositions that enable such larger problems,” said a 2007 review of Adam’s work from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, around the same time Grossi was named Pittsburgh’s Emerging Artist of the Year.
After leaving Pittsburgh, Grossi went on to complete an MFA from one of the nation’s top art programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Despite Grossi’s accomplishments, he was faced with the same question that confronts so many of America’s recent arts and humanities graduates: “Should I work a traditional 9 to 5 for the stability or should I follow my passions?”
For Grossi, the answer was clear. Now at 32, he works a nontraditional six days a week, in which he juggles his independent art practice with freelance web design jobs and his other passion: teaching yoga.
“My day never looks anything remotely like a 9 to 5. Some days, I start teaching yoga between 6 and 7am, and other days, I teach an evening class that starts at 6 or 7pm.”
Balancing three independent jobs not only requires endurance and self-discipline, but a sacrifice: access to quality, affordable health insurance.
“The two groups of people I am most often around, artists and yoga teachers, are chronically uninsured,” says Grossi. “Uninsured populations miss out on preventative care solutions. They get in the habit of avoiding treatment until a condition is unavoidable, and at that point, treatment is more intensive and expensive for both the individual and the system at large.”
Although yoga teachers are required to have liability insurance and a “Yoga Alliance” exists to uphold standards in yoga teacher training, no alliance exists through which teachers can get quality health care coverage. The struggle is the same for most artists, freelancers, and creative entrepreneurs.
“Universal health care would provide such an important safety net for all individuals who are brave enough to stake out their own path and pursue their passions,” says Grossi. “The fact that we collectively pay for highways and other public services is a sign that we collectively believe in infrastructure, and health care is the fundamental infrastructure of human life.”
Read the full interview with Adam Grossi, which includes twelve of his drawings and paintings, plus Adam’s own words about art, yoga, and health care.
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