Jul 15, 2012

Artist Associations

Today I'm just going to rant. Yes, I'm in that kind of mood. Today has not been a good day for a number of reasons and this is just one of them.

I had been a member of several local artist associations in the past when I was living in CA. They were in every city, literally, and very active. They had monthly meetings, frequent shows, social gatherings, photo-shoot and exhibit outings, etc. When I moved to WA I was expecting to find something similar. Sadly, artist associations are few and far between here. I finally did find one local one and joined it.

Finally, I thought, some artists to interactive with!

Yeah, so I thought.


This association (I won't be mean enough to mention the name) appears to be less than worthless. They say they have a newsletter. Three months now I've been a member I've not received one. I emailed about this 3 or 4 days ago and have received no response so far.

They say they have weekly plein-air outings. I've never been notified of a single one so far.

I asked if there were monthly meetings. I'm told, "No. There used to be. But no one came so we quit having them."

Huh? Why? What's wrong with your meetings? Do they suck that badly? If no one's coming, how about changing things around a bit then? You'd rather just throw your hands in the air and give up?

I asked if there is an email alias or forum where I can interact with other members. "No, we don't have anything like that set up."


I explained I would like to interact with other artists. I'd like to say, "Hey, I'm going to ___ art show next weekend! Anyone want to join me?" But they tell me there's no way to communicate that.

Is that too much to ask?

I'm like, Ok, what do you offer then? What are my membership benefits?

Well, so far all they offer is a weekly life drawing session ... for $10. Uh...what?? I can get that at the local art supply store. Seriously. They have life drawing classes I can pay for that I don't also have to pay a membership fee for. Why am I paying for an art association membership when I have to pay extra each week to attend the one and only activity they seem to have? Shouldn't that be included as a membership benefit?

I am so frustrated with this group I'm seriously considering asking for my membership fee to be refunded.

Is that unreasonable?

In CA I found artist associations fun, inspiring, and educational. Here I feel like I just bought a dead horse.

Are you a member of any local artist associations? What benefits do you get from them? Are they worth it?

1 comment:

Beth Campbell said...

I belong to a a few different art associations.
- The Mayfair Artists (Saskatoon, SK)
- The Saskatchewan Wildlife Art Association (SWAA)

And I belong to a number of different FB art groups.

Benefits I have found:
- both associations have annual show & sales
- both associations offer opportunities to display with other artists
- Mayfair Artists meet weekly
- the SWAA "used" to have a regular newsletter
- both associations have regular "parties" - Christmas - year-end, etc.
- artists from the associations and the FB groups will offer critique if they are asked for it.

Belonging to an association seems to validate my title as an artist. I gain an incredible amount of inspiration from the artists in the associations and the groups.

But - to get the most from any association - you must be active in that association. This seems to be especially true for the SWAA. If I did not go to the meetings to plan the annual sale I would not get to know the other artists - and they would not know who I am.

Unfortunately it sounds like you have not found an association with the right fit for you. If you can't find another - consider finding another artist and starting your own group. Could start out as simple as a few of you gathering in each others' studios to have fun.

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