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
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Janice McDonald’s Budding (collage) is projected as a backdrop during Patricia Renzetti’s “Reflections” ballet in Denver. Photo by Rachel Graham.
I encourage you to stop and think about what it means to be part of a worldwide community of artists.
Really. Stop now. Think about it.
Even if the proclamation of National Arts & Humanities Month (October) is for the U.S., we know that national boundaries are fuzzier because of the Internet. We feel a kinship with artists around the globe.
I ask you to spend time this month on these two actions: collaborating and advocating.
Since this is the Art Biz Blog, let’s look at how this applies to your marketing.
Trade postal support with another artist.
Contact someone whose work you admire and organize a 2-person exhibit or collaborate on a single project.