30 Oct 2010

Ten Reasons for the Professional Artist to Join a Local Art Group

Posted by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article was published on FineArtView blog on October 22, 2010

Ten Reasons for the Professional Artist to Join a Local Art Group

by Moshe Mikanovsky

This article  is by Moshe Mikanovsky, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

In my last article I wrote about the 10 reasons for emerging artists to join local art groups, and many of your comments added to the discussion and reasons from your own experience. Someone also noted that it is not only important for emerging artists but also for the established, professional artist. And it was actually my plan to write this post about the 10 reasons for the professional artist to join a local art group.

Some of these reasons are the same as for the emerging one, with a different point of view. And being an emerging artist myself in the very beginning of my art career, I am writing from the perspective of such. So if you have a different perspective, make sure to add it in the comments below.

1.       Socialize – yes, also professional artists get lonely in their studios. The more you have to produce, the longer hours you spend by yourself and the local art group is a great outlet to meet like minded people.

2.       Share your knowledge, be a mentor – many emerging artists are seeking to learn new techniques, new ways to market their art, new materials to use, or just how to be a professional artist. If you are one, why not share it with others? You will become someone other artists are looking to for advice and expertise. You might even become a mentor for some. A lot was written about mentoring and the bottom line is that it is a win-win situation for both mentor and apprentice.

3.       Don’t be a snob – yes, I am talking to you, the professional artist who doesn’t have time for anyone but himself and can’t “come down” to the people as it is beyond him. I have seen such artists. Fortunately, not too many. But they are out there. And I sure hope you are not one of them. But if you are, just know that interacting with people who know you are a professional and respect you for that, will actually increase your status amongst them. In addition, they might not be your collectors, but through their networks, you might get other, not less important, opportunities.

4.       Give an example – show the emerging artists that you can make it as an artist. Many of us are raised on the false notion that it is impossible to become successful artists, making a living off our art. If you do it, why not show it to all other artists who struggle to do just that?

5.       Be a leader – Being a professional and successful artist you have achieved so much already. Why not take it the next step and become also a leader? There are many ways to influence society and culture and one of them is by becoming a leader of an art group. You can draw from your success and move into that leadership position. And in return, you will receive many more distinguished successes through the opportunities the group will open for you as its leader.

6.       Help local organizations grow and get credibility – many local organizations have good intentions but lack the credibility to grant them recognition. Either from the public, other organizations, government funds, etc. By joining these groups, and with your built reputation, you can help such a group get a higher credibility. And in return, again, you will receive much recognition yourself.

7.       Learn – There is an Hebrew saying, driven from Psalm 119:99: “From all my teachers I gained understanding”. The meaning of the saying in Hebrew is that one can learn from anyone, not just his teachers but also his students. One can never stop learning new things. So even the professional artist, who has done it already, could learn new things by interacting with artists of different stages in their career, such that can be found in local groups.

8.       Network – I have mentioned in most of the reasons above how the opportunities will arise while being part of the group. Networking can never be stopped; it is an on-going effort. There are always new people moving to town with some new connections to be made. Your network of people might look for new business that can be found in the group you join. You can be the missing link between many business opportunities and many of them can benefit you, as well.

9.       Write about it – One of the current ways for many artists to get even a higher status is via online efforts, writing a blog, interacting with other artists, etc. As a professional artist you might now have the time to invest in that. But, if you deploy other professionals to help you run your business, a writer doubled as your marketing manager might be doing it for you. But you will have to come with some of the content, so why not share your experiences from your local art groups? How you mentored someone from the group, or became their leader, or found some new opportunities through them.

10.   Opportunities – do I really have to add anything here? I think I talked about opportunities in each one of the reasons above. So go find them, they are out there.

Do you have more reasons that I didn’t mention to join a local art group?  Do you have a story to share with us on how joining the local art group helped your career?


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