The Importance of Community for Artists

Everyone is part of some type of community.

You may live in a city or town that has several communities or neigbourhoods within its boundaries. You may live in a community where people interact with each other, maybe only with a smile and wave or maybe with a let’s-get-together-for-coffee. Perhaps you share like interests with others in a club or organization, forming a community around that interest. Your family members and/or your circle of friends might form your community. If you attend a church or a school you will find that you are part of that community.

I believe community is especially important for artists.

Even though I live almost 3 hours away from Hamilton, I have found that James North Studio Gallery has become a “community” for me. I feel a kinship with each artist there; a common thread of creativity ties us together. Because of the physical distance between myself and the other artists at James North, I thought that a series of blogs  – Meet Our Members – would be a way of getting to know each other as well as introduce the artists to the community at large. I was right! What a great response I got and how wonderful to “meet” these artists who are part of the James North community. I know that I can contact any of the artists in this community for information or advice.

I belong to a group of 5 women who try to get together monthly and paint. This small group “community” not only spends time painting, but are also there for discussion, education, learning, critique, encouragement and darn good food. This small “community” stepped outside their safe boundaries last year and had an exhibit at a local art gallery, something that most of them had never thought they would ever be able to do. A community can do anything!

I enjoy the safeness and acceptance in my artist communities. This week I will be traveling from Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada to Wisconsin to meet with a group of artist friends from across USA who paint in the same uncommon medium as I do. I am looking forward to this once-a-year time together, not so much the painting, but the exchange of ideas, the suggestions for improvement, the stories of what went wrong (and how to avoid those pitfalls) and what went right. We will laugh and be joyful, be ecstatic to see others progress, perhaps be serious and sombre at times, but we will be part of a community who are all there to encourage and support each other as we travel this path of creativity.

If you are an artist, I encourage you to find or form a community of like-minded people and experience the positive results for yourself.


Canada’s most famous community of artists: the Group of Seven