If you work in isolation as an artist, you miss the many benefits of belonging to a creative community.
Are you a part of an art community? There are plenty of reasons to belong, and ways to connect. Here are some of them:
In Person. Gather with artists and others to broaden your knowledge and learn about resources that can grow your small business much more quickly than working alone. In-person events such as salons, meetups and workshops provide wonderful networking opportunities as well as chances for professional development.
Virtual Communities. Meet other artists online through forums, chat rooms and discussion groups on Facebook, LinkedIn and other third-party platforms. These online groups can help you move beyond the local and gain access to people on an international level, which provides another dimension to the community experience. The relationships you develop are limited only by your desires and the ability to find places to meet others who can be valuable to you. Online meetings can lead to in-person meetings, personal friendships and even collaboration.
Most of these groups are filled with other artists, but you needn’t think of them as your competition. Consider these ways that you can work directly with each other for mutual benefit:
Work as Accountability Partners. By yourself, it can be hard to get organized, motivated, and work steadily on goals you want to accomplish. Partner up with another artist to support each other in reaching these goals. Want to build a better art website? Agree to check in with each other, setting a timetable and reporting your progress. Being accountable to another often provides the motivation. Conversations on progress or the lack thereof, give both of you a chance to discuss frustration, mistakes and rejections with someone else who really understands. Work together, build up each other and celebrate your successes.
Become Strategic Allies. Have you met another artist who also fits your niche in the marketplace? If your collections are complementary, you can partner to refer business to each other through a strategic alliance. Promote the other artist on your blog; they can do the same for you. Mention them in an email to your list and introduce them to your customer base. They can reciprocate – and, neither of you has handed over your hard-earned list of prospects and customers.
Sell Your Work Together. Collaborate with other artists to create products for your collection, such as bundling your work together in a gift basket or set. And search for places to set up shop together even if you don’t share individual sales. Share a booth, an open studio display, a holiday home show or a pop-up shop space. Invite your respective lists to come, and shop. The more the merrier!
Have you found ways to build relationships in your art community? Did you partner for mutual benefit?