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Looking for Supportive Art Groups

ACE Blog Dec 31 2009
Looking for Supportive Art Groups

While I was finishing up the family celebrations of the Christmas season in Pennsylvania, a friend called me on my cell.  Now she is one of those fortunate people who are in a comfortable financial position. In fact she doesn’t need to “work.” But she does have a nice little business using her abstract horse themed designs, silk screened on clothing and sells them at venues where potential clients like her art product.
But this call was not for marketing advice, it was for ART advice.  She was bored.  It was after the holidays. It was winter. Where, she wondered, were there any art groups where she could take a class, a course, a workshop and get enthused?
Oh my. Where indeed? Where does an artist who has a successful business or niche  go when they want to “play?” When they want to learn something new? Where are the art groups whose camaraderie and geniality would help foster non-judgmental experimentation in the arts? Maybe working in the abstract, working with airbrush, a modeling paste, or oriental paper?

We chatted for awhile and I gave her my personal opinion of a few of the locally established art groups.  All of these groups harbor at least a few artists who make life and speech virtually impossible for those who “want to experience more.” You have or  will meet these artists whose condescending attitude can make other artist’s participation a real trial in perseverance.  Their constant negativity  can zap the creativity out of you.  And no one needs that in their life.  And personally I know that I have little patience for that type of artist.
So where ARE the pure “art tanks?”. You know, like the business “think tanks?” Where are the groups whose participants are truly positive, forward thinking individuals who encourage and support each others efforts? Not necessarily with just art marketing or one main subject but when an artist wants to experiment with different mediums and ideas and subject matter? Even with wood or fiber or metal? And my friend, despite a successful art business, is modest in her thinking. She “has no formal training”, she is “not really an artist”, etc. etc.  The wrong group would eat her alive!

So, my advice to my friend was to try all the groups to see which one may be the best fit for her. It really doesn’t matter what my overall views may be.  After all, nothing will work if it is not tried!  So it stands to reason that no group will fit your needs if you never investigate them!

Taking a class or a workshop in a medium different from the one you are comfortable with is good. You never know where it will lead!  It could make you aware that it is a medium you do not care to develop now that you’re tried it!  Or it could become your next hot seller. Maybe it  is just a new way for you to express yourself creatively outside of what you currently do and you are not interested in marketing it.  Approach your artistic playtime as though it is recreation. Then follow it where it may lead!


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