Feeling a little lonely in your studio?
Discouraged by lack of support from “close” friends and loved ones?
Need a dose of motivation or the challenge of fresh ideas?
Organize an artist salon!
A salon is a social gathering of artists and intellectuals hosted at regular intervals by a patron in his or her home. Such convivial settings for the art of conversation emerged in Paris at the beginning of the seventeenth century.—Robert Atkins in ArtSpoke
No word other than “salon” better describes these meetings of highly creative people brimming with ideas. My study of art history led me to learn about the numerous communities that have nurtured artists and expanded what art can be. Some were more formal communities, while others were informal salons.
The salons I’m talking about are not virtual. They don’t rely on Internet discussion groups or telephone bridge lines. Instead, I encourage real-life, face-to-face talking with others. Get out of the studio, get away from the computer, and get inspired. No amount of online networking can replace this human interaction that involves all the senses.
Why organize a salon?
Connections are critical for everyone’s art career. Being around other artists can build your confidence, support you emotionally, and challenge you to do better work. Large membership groups serve their purpose, but they might not be as good at cultivating intimate friendships. The trust that evolves with close friendships will lead to opportunities you never knew existed, and projects you never before contemplated. As our communication choices grow, we seem to be overwhelmed by technology and neglecting the personal touch that brought about our interest in art in the first place. That’s why I emphasize in-person gatherings.
FINAL WORD: Take the initiative. Starting a salon will make you an instant leader in your art community by contributing to the intellectual dialogue and advancement of other artists. If you’d like for your salon to focus on marketing ideas, use the free tools I’ve developed for artist salons at Art Biz Connection.
The podcast is an audio version of this content.