No matter what happens with our national economy, there will be artists who thrive, and who very much enjoy their prosperity. These are the people who refused to fail, who didn’t give up, and who have surrounded themselves with like-minded people traveling the same evolutionary path.
Marsha Hamby Savage, a landscape painter living and working in Smyrna, Georgia, is one such artist.
“About being inspired and motivated…. it does not take much to inspire or motivate me. My brain never seems to quit,” she says.
Marsha’s motivation and inspiration has led her to create a community of artists in her hometown. This is not an art class, although she does teach those. This is a tightly-bonded group of individuals who are committed to giving each other emotional and practical support.
A community is important for the artist because of the emotional and practical support it provides. It helps to have a cheering section on your side. Martha and her community of artist friends know this instinctively.
An artist cannot build her career alone. She needs strong arms to help lift her up, and sometimes she just needs a shoulder to cry on. But she always needs a cheering section whether times are good or bad.
There doesn’t have to be any hard and fast rules in building a community. It’s more about friends getting together and having conversations and supporting one another.
Marsha says, “We will be meeting quarterly and each time at a different artist’s studio or home. That way the moderator for the meeting will be different each time. I find that I tend to talk a lot and “impose” my thoughts …. maybe. It is nice to have a different viewpoint even to the moderation of a meeting.”
Putting together a group is trial and error, there is no one way to do it right.
Marsha elaborates on building her group, “I have been discussing the possibility of a ’round table’ meeting about the business aspects of our art careers for quite some time. Those artists that seemed most interested were the ones I invited … which was about 20 – 25.”
“Several already had things that prevented them from coming, but noted they wished to be kept on the list so they could participate in the future. We shall see if they meant it.”
A community can help share practical business advice…
“We had 12 or 13 at this first meeting. They were mostly painters (of many different mediums), and two were potters — one of which is relatively new. We want to be sure to have some ideas from different media, not only painters …. if they suffer from the same marketing issues …. and I think it is universal, no matter the medium of art.
We had one that uses Etsy quite successfully, one that does quite a few outdoor festivals (the better ones), and several that go the gallery route. Quite an interesting combination, but what I wanted to have.
Each would bring their own expertise to the group, but also gain from others’ experiences with a venue that is different. It was suggested that the next meeting we should pick one topic or two and focus solely on that for the evening (or sometimes a Saturday).”
It’s all about the community and the support and help of others…..
“One attendee took wonderful notes which she scanned in and e-mailed to me. I have not had a chance to read them yet. Since I was the “moderator or facilitator” of this meeting, I found it hard to keep notes myself (though I am a good note taker). I really tried to keep people on topic.
My first talk to them was to have them give us name, medium, and a couple of sentences about what they needed most, or what seemed to be the biggest problem for them. I started, and said I needed to be better organized …. and they all died laughing! They consider me organized. But my thing is to be better at picking the best for me and planning and not missing any deadlines. Also, to keep better address list of potential clients.”
If you have questions about starting your own art community, you can contact Marsha Savage through her website and blog: