Social Impact Statement

Social Impact Statement:

Sara Barcus 2020

  Fully aware that the only actions and words I have any control over are my own, my aim is only to do what I feel is right and hope that my life’s impact is a positive one.  The following are my Principles of Impact:

1. I would like others to not have to hurt in ways i have or otherwise.

2. I would like others to have tools and support for struggling.

3. I would like others to feel I have added something positive to their experiences.

4. I would like to honor those I love with my actions in this world.

5. I will always listen and seek to understand as much as I am able.

6. I will remain genuine and honest.

7. I will work, always, to perpetuate *fair play* in an infinite game over winning a finite one.

8. To create is to provide more connections in a world where we can often feel detached. I will build as many connections as i am able while here.


It seems that we all have to spend years learning about the world and ourselves before we can fully discover what life has to offer in the way of meaning and success.  We look for purpose, and we find it in a multitude of ways.  

Victor Frankl discovered an undeniably important fact of human existence: finding a purpose, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant in the grand scheme of things is essential to mankind’s will to survive.  A purpose does not guarantee survival or sanity; but the absence of one can hasten one’s death, especially in the face of struggle.

I was tormented for years; i was struggling and couldn’t see that I had anything to offer this world which could be considered “meaningful”.  Frankl provided the ultimate loophole for St Jude’s flock of lost causes, of which I was undeniably a member:

“There is purpose and meaning in the graceful endurance of one’s struggle”

To merely persist can be truly noble.  

To simply survive, when survival seems impossible, is a meaningful and important act.

Without a previously recognized and structured belief system, this concept saved my life.

What is a Social Impact Statement:

*(Most businesses and professions have statements of purpose, mission statements, artist statements, etc; this is in the same vein)

I decided to come up with a Social Impact Statement as a way to communicate my intentions and expectations of myself in relationship to the world.  essentially, it is the patten which underlies all of my statements of purpose; as an artist, a teacher, a mother, a writer, a human working to cope.  To fully understand *me*; or any individual work, or series, or my business ethics, it is imperative the perspective includes this larger context. Especially, but not exclusively, because so much of my work relies on personal narrative, human communication, and social/emotional growth and honesty.

Relevance (?):

I will likely always question whether my shared experiences could be useful to others.  The past 6ish years though, I have received feedback which consistently shows that my work, my words, or my story have helped others in some way. Other humans who find some connection to or something interesting about my perspective sometimes feel *better* about something.  Folks find my blunt vulnerability refreshing…or comforting. I’m grateful people have shared these things with me; it makes me feel as though creating and sharing things with the world *does* matter in however small a way.

So, it may not be universally relevant; but, maybe it will matter to some one.  And that’s enough of a reason for me.

The Social Impact Statement:

To understand human existence is to see a confused creature endlessly straddling a chasm between utter meaninglessness and true purpose. *I* cannot live a life with any purpose at all if it has no meaning or value to something outside of myself. And i can contribute nothing honest until i know how insignificant *i* am *to *life*.  

*Life* must, therefore, be based more on humility and connections between humans and things, and ideas. Life must be less about personal gain and transitory emotional well being; life is (and has always been) about furthering life.

Human society has expanded the concept of furthering life beyond procreation and natural biology/physiology.

Humans are able to easily and instantly share information with other humans and groups of humans without ever meeting them.  We further others’ life experiences and our own more and more through social interaction and shared knowledge. This is equally beautiful and terrifying, especially when the interwebs is concerned.

There are so many things that we try *not to* communicate.  They are messy, or scary, or we think that we are so flawed that people wouldn’t understand.

But those are the things that really connect all of us.  We are all flawed. And we’re allowed to be, we’re meant to be. There is no ultimate perfect or ultimate good.  We are all just striving to do the best we can with what we have where we are. Our circumstances and histories are different; but the trying and the making mistakes, the doubt, the joy, heartache, love, grief and fear, inadequacies and victories…those are universal. 

Examining the human condition through introspection and social analysis, I learned to people by learning about people.  I listen… a lot. I’ve learned that you will understand that You are understood when I am vulnerable. I won’t feel alone if I talk to others who have been there. We all want to feel understood and connected to things less mortal that ourselves.

So, I want to create things that make new connections for people to grab hold of.  And I want to create things that are honest and vulnerable; things that help people feel understood.

In addition to the intention of a meaningful impact, the method of purpose creates more meaning in immediate actions and experience.  For me, the method of purpose has four reasonable classifications:





Analysis and Synthesis encompass our relationship with the entire universe.  Information, consuming art forms, enjoying a quiet breezy day, listening to a friend; these are all ways we analyze.  And synthesis is creation; what we create with all we analyze and send back into the world. 

Function and Frivolity are categories of action. Our actions either have an inherent purpose in “function”, or they gain purpose in functionlessness by default of “frivolity”.  Without frivolity, though, you can’t truly experience any purpose in the other three. Frivolity of some sort is absolutely essential to purpose.

*A note on personal history in relation to perspective on the comprehensive body of woks.*

My work has always been heavily influenced by illustration, human nature, science, sociology; as much as fine arts.  In 2006, my brain did its first full nope and I was diagnosed with PTSD in March. The only way i found to cope, was to turn all of that messy mishegaas into *something*. Matter can be neither created nor destroyed, only transferred or transformed.  The only way I could restructure my perspective was to try and make it *mean something*. And the most effective way I knew to communicate was the artworks.

The work I created in those initial months became my first solo show “Memories, Remedies, and Nightmares”.  Since then, the bulk of my personal work has been autobiographical in some sense. I suppose every artist’s is, but my intent is to accurately convey a human’s experience; the most vulnerable moments, deepest fears, inside jokes, homages/interactions with social “knowledge”.

I present the resulting creation as something all its own, leaving the viewer to create their own connection to it.  I love hearing what people see in my work, what connections they made. I usually don’t like to “explain a piece” because it closes off potential connection.  Retrospectively, I feel the context of individual creations can now serve my work (as a whole) without compromising the viewer’s ability to connect and interact with individual pieces and series as before.