After years of encouraging artists to join artist organizations, I’m going to commit blasphemy with this post, which is somewhat of a follow-up to my post on poisonous relationships.
I love groups that function smoothly, but many people start an artist organization without much of a vision. They want to have control without thinking about what is best for members and without first trying to improve existing organizations.
There are a lot of “organizations” around that are disorganized and, therefore, dysfunctional.
As a guest speaker, I have witnessed organizations that are well run and those that are poorly run.
The best organizations – those that do the most good for their members – have paid staff that run daily operations. I’m thinking of organizations like the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition and the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists.
I’m begging you to burn your membership card in organizations where:
- You are always the leader and are not learning or growing.
- Other members aren’t pulling their weight.
- Other members don’t understand the value of professionalism.
- Other members are negative, whiny, or excuse-makers.
- Members aren’t supporting one another.
- Meetings seem like a waste of time.
- The organization doesn’t fulfill its obligations to members.
- The organization is disconnected from the larger community – locally or nationally.
- The organization doesn’t follow its own guidelines.
- The organization can’t function without you.
Do a gut check. If you feel deflated, frustrated, or icky when you leave your group meeting, burn your card.
Your primary responsibility is to yourself. If that sounds selfish, good! Because you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself.
If you aren’t healthy physically, emotionally, and financially, you won’t be at your best for helping others.
Go ahead. Burn the card. Say, “Alyson made me do it.”