The Value of Community for Artists (Podcast)


Community is essential for artists. Not just for your well-being, but for the well-being of your art.

In this episode, Michael Keen and I talk about his background with artists’ communities and the value of community. In particular, community can provide:


– Inspiration

– Motivation

– Constructive feedback

As you’ll hear, other things came up.

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Nestle In to Your Artist Community

Christine Porter's Feeding Time

As a student of art history, I love reading about communities of artists that evolved organically over the centuries. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the Cedar Tavern in the 1940s and 50s!

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the Cedar Tavern in the 1940s and 50s!

I believe that an artist’s work is better when there are other artists around to question, critique, challenge, and, yes, to praise.

Artists’ communities are all around. Among other spots, you’ll find artists’ communities in:

  • Coffee shops and bars
  • Residencies
  • Classes and workshops
  • Conferences and events
  • Online (pick your favorite spot)
  • Studio spaces
  • Creative workspaces

Search for a group where you feel at home and nestle in. If you come up empty, you can always start your own.

The Value of Community

There are at least 5 key reasons to seek out and become an active part of an artists’ community.

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The Strength of Artists as a Community

©Gail Haile, Setting Sun Mandala. Photo collage. Used with permission.

I struggle for ways to acknowledge this solemn anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Should I ignore the date on my calendar, or try to write something profoundly moving?

©Gail Haile, Setting Sun Mandala. Photo collage. Used with permission.

Usually I ignore the date in my emails and on my blog, which seems more appropriate for my audience. This year I had an idea to use this space to focus on one of my top values and priorities: community.

Community is a value I absorbed from my mother and is something we cherished following September 11, 2001.

The Strength of Artists as a Community

I am inspired by a quote from Christy MacLear, Executive Director of The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. In a 2012 article in The New York Times, MacLear said of Rauschenberg:

Bob wasn’t all that interested in

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The Generosity of Artists

Map of Oklahoma

Artists are amazingly generous with their time and talents. You are among the first to respond to a disaster and to help out those in need. You give full out with our heart. Bravo! Here are a few recent artist philanthropy feats that I’d like to acknowledge.

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10 Reasons to Burn Your Art Group Membership Card


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.

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Beware of Poisonous Relationships


The second principle of no-excuse self-promotion, according to I’d Rather Be in the Studio is: “Connections are critical to your success. To succeed, you must make an effort to meet new people and to maintain relationships.” But not all connections are equal. Some connections can be detrimental to your art, your emotional well-being, and your growth.

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How I Collaborate

I want Conspiracy members to be proactive and seek out relationships that will further their careers. I want that for you, too. Perhaps sharing these lists about how I collaborate in my business might trigger something for you – a way you can make collaborations work for you.

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3 Ways to Be a Rock Star in Your Art Community

Be seen at openings, lectures, and events, and show your work – a lot! Be supportive of arts organizations and of other artists. Be a reporter.

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Educate Those Who Ask for Donations of Your Art

Fiona Purdy offers a solution to artists who are bombarded with requests for donations. She shares a letter she wrote recently in response to a donation request – a letter that educates the fundraisers.

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6 Limits for Donating Artwork

Kristina Bell DiTullo, Affect/Effect I (detail). Sheer and clear adhesive bandages on clear plastic shower curtain.

You cannot possibly donate to every organization in need, so consider and set your donating limits now to have your response ready when receiving these inquiries.

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