Art Shorthand Blog

How to Meet Other Artists in 10 Easy Steps

Hi, I’m Nancy Mellon. I’m a mixed media artist. For the past 7 years, I’ve had the pleasure of being the Gallery Coordinator for the Yellow Springs Arts Council. I love living in Yellow Springs and think it’s a great village to be an artist in. This post is about how I started meeting other artists when I moved here.

How to Meet Other Artists in 10 Easy Steps

Maybe not Easy steps (or even 10 steps) but don’t you love titles that promise that?

  1. Talk to people. Walk around the village, when you see a studio, (art in the yard is a good sign) take note, (they are all over the place) when you see the artist out and about, introduce yourself as a new artist in town or another Yellow Springs artist. Ask about their art. Invite them to stop in at your studio sometime or if you work on your kitchen table ask them over for tea.
  2. Ask people:”Are you an artist?” Sounds simple but it usually will start a conversation and you will be surprised at how many will say yes. The meter reader said yes when I asked her yesterday. And it turned out that her Grandmother was a famous artist in our village. Ask the shop sitters or your waiter at a local restaurant if they are artists. Many in Yellow Springs are. Now you know another artist.
  3. Join art organizations in the area. Go to the meetings. When you are there, talk to people.The Fairborn Art Association has great meetings with an artist talk and demo as part of it.

    The Monday Morning Artists meet once a month at the Presbyterian Church in Yellow Springs. Join the Springfield Art Museum and be in their Member’s Show. How cool is that to be in a museum show?

  4. Join an art co-op. I joined Village Artisans when I first moved to Yellow Springs and immediately had 20 artists I knew.
  5. Volunteer. There’s lots of different sized jobs needed to make an art event work. There’s got to be something you would enjoy, have time for and be great at. Believe me, volunteer, show up and help out and you will make friends.
  6. Show up at art openings. Ask to have the artist pointed out to you. Find something in their work to ask them about and then go talk to the artist. Artists are pretty nervous at openings and appreciate questions about their art to answer.
  7. Take local art classes and workshops. Use art opportunities in the village-get your ceramics fired at the YS JBC Pottery, join Arts Council and apply for a show. Put work in the YSAC Members show. Be a Host or a Guest Artist in the YS Open Studios.
  8. Read the “Art Around Town” Section in the Yellow Springs News.
  9. Answer Calls for Artists, bring a piece to add to the show. Many of the local non profits have Calls for Artists and Village Artisans does Community Shows.
  10. Show your art. Do group shows, apply for shows, ask the local restaurants-The Winds, HaHa’s, the Emporium, The Spirited Goat and the Yellow Springs Brewery and the realtor-The Chris K Gallery to get on their list for a show. Talk to people about your show and talk to people when they come to see your show.
  11. Go to the library and get out an art book with a luscious art filled cover, carry it with you, read it and talk about it with other artists you meet in the coffee shops.
  12. Do public art. Bring your art journal or drawing pad to the local coffee shops or to the benches in town and draw or doodle. Paint public murals-sign them, yarn bomb-include a tag on it saying who you are, leave free art around town with a Free Art tag on it with your web site. Talk to the people who stop to talk to you about it. They will.
  13. Start an art group or host a regular live model drawing session at your studio or home or school or at the Arts Council (hint, hint.) Present an art class proposal to the library (they will even pay you for it!) or volunteer to hold an art class for the Senior Center, (they are looking for artists to teach) This is maybe the hardest thing to do. But not impossible. You can advertise in the paper and through the art groups you have joined (like in YS Arts Council’s regular e mail blast.) Or just invite artists you have met and want to spend more time with. You can meet at a coffee shop, at your home, or at a space you scrounge or rent as a group.
  14. When invited to an artist get together or on hearing about open artists’ get togethers- go to them. Show up and talk to people, ask about their art, if they have a studio, what are they working on now.
  15. Wear a name tag. I know it sounds goofy. My husband wanted a gift made for him, a couple of name tags, made out of metal that have magnets to attach them to whatever he is wearing. I got them online, they were not expensive. Make it easy for people to remember your name. Make your name in felt jewelry and wear it in a necklace, or collage it and wear it in earrings or make pins with your name on them and wear them on your hat. In fact cover your hat with pins that make art statements. Be walking art. More than likely other artists will then come up and talk to you.

    So there was a lot of “talk to them” in my list. You probably are thinking, “it is very hard for me to talk to strangers.” It is for me too. Do it anyway. How will they get to be friends if you don’t start a conversation? If you are interested in them you can get a conversation going. What do you talk about? Their art is a great place to start. Ask them if they have any pictures of their art on their phone. Pick out one you like, and tell them why.



Another Yellow Springs Artist

Posted by Angela Smith in Art Shorthand Blog, 1 comment

Influential Women of Yellow Springs

My colleague, John Day, had shared with me a picture of some banners that the city of Athens, Ohio had put up around Memorial Day to celebrate the city’s veterans.  I shelved the idea at the time, as my students were currently invested in a different project. The banners were always in the back of my mind, however, and in October when I contemplated what to do for my unit on the experience of women in U.S. History, I decided to go for it.  The project’s goal was to enlighten students and, via the banners, the community about the parallel nature of U.S. history and Yellow Springs history. I reached out to the Yellow Springs Arts and Culture Commission they were fully supportive of the project. I solicited research subject suggestions from the Yellow Springs Community via Facebook and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of recommendations; I ended up with over 100 names.  By happenstance, Superintendent Basora forwarded an email to the district around Thanksgiving encouraging teachers to sign up for an “Artist and Writer Residence” program offered by the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Long story short, I applied, was awarded the grant and was provided with an experienced artist with a background in education for 3-4 classroom visits, and 1 field trip to the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

    Our artist in residence, Jay DeFazio, came four times over the course of two months and helped students expand their creative thinking and understanding of digital media.  Along the way, the project grew to include the creation of a newspaper article that the students would write to provide context for the woman/group of women researched. After a brief delay, the students’ creations were sent to the printers and were erected along Xenia Avenue on March 8. With the aid of a grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation and the unwavering support of the staff of the Yellow Springs News, students’ articles were juried and utilized to create a supplement which was published alongside the March 21 edition. There were so many folks to thank who helped out with the project and it truly was a collaborative effort.  I hope that next year’s crop of students will take up the charge to research those names on the list that were not researched to build upon this year’s work. I am pleased to know that the banners had such and impact on the people of Yellow Springs and encourage all who were affected to let the students know. They will will be on display once more during Yellow Springs High School’s Exhibition Night on Thursday, May 16. Stop by for one last look before they come out again next March!

Link to digital version of the supplement to the YS News:  Here

Link to the non-published student articles: Here

Posted by Angela Smith in Art Shorthand Blog, Featured, Inspiration, News, Projects