Being part of a supportive arts group is important. Here are some of the benefits.
It’s often been pointed out that artists can feel isolated in their studios, which makes sense when a single entrepreneur works alone. Joining an arts community such as a guild is one of the factors that help make successful artists – well, successful.
Whether the guild is national in scope, statewide, or local, and whether it encompasses all mediums or only one, there are many benefits that artists and craftspeople can take advantage of, depending on their needs and interests. If you are just starting out, becoming a guild member can give you the help you need to overcome initial challenges and grow your business.
We talked with Jeanette Rowlett, the Director of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, about their guild, where membership is juried. She says, “Our organization is constantly working for the good of our membership. After 50 years of great success, our Kentucky Guild is growing each year through our two jury sessions, which are held each February and August of every year.” They currently have over 350 members.
What can a guild offer you? Here are some benefits you may find at your local guild:
Education. Workshops and seminars, frequently on topics such as business plans, marketing, website development and more.
Opportunity. Want to show or sell your work? Art and craft fairs and festivals, annual sales, and gallery exposure is often a benefit of guild membership. Some guilds even partner in exhibitions with privately-owned galleries and museums.
Networking. Meetings with other artists and craftspeople offer you support and feedback from your peers in the group, and mentorship as well. Some guilds offer events where work can be critiqued. And quite often you can learn of opportunities to show or exhibit, find good resources, learn about grants and residencies or collaborate with other artists in the guild.
Work space. Studio space, gallery space and even a room for photographing your work are sometimes available through these groups. Studio space for rent may be advertised through an online bulletin board available to members.
Trips. Guild sponsored trips, to art destinations, museums or activities such as a “plein-air” painting group may be available.
Trade Show Participation. Your guild may choose to exhibit at a trade show, such as the Buyers Market, where special arrangements can be made to feature a number of artists within the guild in a large booth at a discounted fee.
Partnership. Guilds can partner with other organizations, such as CERF+, to strengthen each other and bring more benefits to members. CERF+ offers emergency aid to craft artists, as well as essential business and insurance information.
Publicity. Guilds share news and information about their members in newsletters, press releases and on their websites. Use any publicity that you get from your guild connection to garner even more press attention.
What’s your personal experience with a guild?
Photo credit: Gin Petty