Art has always served as a window into society, one that highlights different voices and parts of the community striving to be heard. It pushes for and conveys meaningful social change, acting as a repository for our most idealistic hopes and dreams. Yet in today’s world, there is a persistent – and inaccurate – belief that a career in the arts is difficult or even impossible. The implication for many creatives is that they should instead devote themselves to more practical professions, leaving their creative passions at the office door.

At Adobe, we disagree and know that art and design have never been needed more in our rapidly changing and often turbulent society. We believe strongly in the unique ability of artistic expression to positively influence communities and people around the world. And every day, we have the privilege of seeing the promise of creative expression in our work with Adobe tools like Behance and through programs like the Adobe Creative Residency.

Adobe 2018-2019 creative resident Aaron Bernstein used photography to draw attention to rising Manhattan rents that are driving out restaurants and food vendors that have been part of the local culture for decades. His goal is to raise awareness of the negative effect of Manhattan’s real estate laws, while celebrating the food culture that has contributed to a borough so uniquely loved and known around the world. 

Aaron is of course highly talented, but he is also far from the exception. The truth is despite popular opinion, there has never been a better time to be a creative. As technology proliferates throughout our lives, cross-country and cross-border collaboration is easier than ever. Tools like Behance and programs like the Adobe Creative Residency are breaking down the boundaries of where, when and with who creatives can work, while also growing the mediums and methods through which to articulate their message. German Creative Resident, Nadine Kolodziey, for instance, used an Instagram poll to crowd-source the defining elements of various Frankfurt neighborhoods before turning the survey responses into an illustration highlighting the local culture of Frankfurt.

Technology like Behance is also driving greater accessibility to art, opening up the creative world to anyone with even a passing artistic interest. The platform connects creatives all over the world for collaboration, job opportunities and education. Through Behance, artists in unexpected places who would otherwise lack access to creative outlets and constructive feedback can communicate and collaborate. For example, in Dubai, two young women are transcending the boundaries of religion and the traditionally strict social rules governing their lives to collaborate with and teach a broader population of creatives. Such projects are critical in driving an open and free cultural conversation that benefits us all.

Similar to Behance, the Adobe Creative Residency jumpstarts creative careers by funding year-long projects for aspiring professionals and connecting them with mentors and creative influencers. Our residents are artists, photographers and designers with a life-long passion for using their creative abilities in pursuit of a larger mission and turning their passions into more than a project – a successful and enduring career.

For German creative resident, Laura Zalenga, that mission is challenging people to see, with new eyes, an overlooked segment of society in some cultures – the elderly. Through interviews and photo shoots with seniors, Laura’s Beauty of Age project brought attention to a population we often overlook and one from which we can learn so much. Laura’s project attracted thousands of Instagram followers and culminated in a workshop in San Francisco where she taught others to photograph and positively portray the elderly.

Both Behance and the Creative Residency program create global connections and cross-border inspiration. It’s our hope these tools show everyone just how viable and impactful a creative career is. Whether it’s advocating for local culture or highlighting a marginalized population, art has and will always be a positive force in the world. Please don’t let anyone tell you differently.