Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Artist Mentoring and The Wonderful World of Social Networking

So I came home tonight to do the first challenge, that involves setting up an Artist-Mentoring group.  It's a group of people you go to to brain storm and offer up ideas and provide support.

And I realized I've already done that (:

First, there's my friend and fellow artist, Deanna over at Om Is Where the Art Is and You've Got Maille.  We've been friends for almost 6 of years (thanks to social media) but I got to meet her in real life for the first time about two years ago (:  She participated in and invited me to join Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge at the beginning of the year, as well as joined me in my count down to One Billion Rising.  And she's joining me in this challenge too!  At lunch, she invited me to be her mentoring buddy and -Viola-!  Day One challenge was done before I even knew about it!

But I've been blessed to have multiple Artist- Mentors that I can turn to (and frequently do!)

There's Studio 116, where I did my internship last year, where I got to set up and help lead last year's summer art camps for kids, where I've gotten to do storytelling and where some of my items are in their gallery.  You can find them on facebook or the web.  One of the things I adore about Studio 116 are Chris and Sara, the owners.  They've created this fantastic art/music/learning venue in the middle of our area!  One of the prime tenant of theirs is to grow community through the arts.  And they're not just paying lip service to this idea-- they mean it.  And it influences everything they do in such a wonderful way.  They are an incredible source of inspiration and support and if you have the change to visit Brundidge, Alabama, walk along main street and give them a visit.  The gallery is FULL of local artists and you're likely to catch a fantastic music event or have the opportunity to join a class.  And they have kids activities all the time.  They've really made it a family friendly environment and I have to admit, I'm proud to be associated with them.

Last fall, I had the privilege of participating in Show and Tell, a fabulous supportive creative inspiring month long happening hosted and led by my friend Shamsi.  In retrospect, I realize that description sounds both exciting and vague...but it was all about finding our own stories and exploring the ways to tell them in an atmosphere of total support and encouragement.  Any and all media were welcome and encouraged (including fine arts, crafts, music, dance, poetry and writing-- you get the idea.  ANY media.)  You can find her on the web if you're interested in partaking of wonderful light and warmth that she supports and generates. (:

And then there is facebook itself.  When I launched my Wise Rambling page, it was easy to feel lost.  But fb is all about social interaction.  And with a couple of searches, I found some wonderful resources and sources of support that I'm going to share!

When you're an artist/crafter/musician/creator of things/performer, you want to be able to share your work.  Facebook has all sorts of rules and regulations and would LOVE to have you paying through the nose to get anyone to see what you post.  Fortunately, the nature of facebook allows people to create networks and social structures that allow you to share without paying.

For artists, I highly recommend The Artistic Blog, Ink and Alchemy, Art to Share, and Seeking Artists.  All four of these pages welcome and encourage you to share your art, contests, and art questions with them.  Not sure how to photograph your work?  Ask.  Need help figuring out how to price?  Ask.  Each one of these is a fantastic supportive network of fellow artist who have the same questions and have found a wealth of answers and are willing to share their knowledge with you.  And you will have the opportunity to return the favor when you're the one who knows the answer!

For crafters, I highly recommend Clearly Crafty Community, Artizans Emporium, Craftsy, Crafty Likes, Spreading the Handcrafted Love, and  Hand Made in the UK.  Looking for craft supplies?  They can help you find them.  Wondering about a particular technique?  Ask!  And you're going to get to 'meet' some truly giving, talented, incredible artisan crafters along the way!  And many of these resources will have buyers coming to them as well asking for potentially, exactly what you have to offer!

Trying to increase your page 'likes'?  Check out Hike Those Likes!  This is for the American branch, but they have pages for all over the world.  And like the above two, they are ALSO great resources for finding potential buyers and for finding guidance and advice.

And when it comes to facebook and trying to grow your page (or supporting the pages you love!),  I'd like to share this:

"I see so many small business pages that say they're struggling because of the changes facebook has made regarding who sees their posts, so here is a post to explain how Facebook seems to be working, which I have borrowed from another page Little Burrow Designs:

"It seems to me that a written post gets potentially seen by 3 or 4 times more people than a photo or a link and if you are sharing your own pictures or posts you might as well not bother as they're seen by so few.

The more people who comment or click "like" on your post the more facebook will allow it to appear in different news feeds.

So the answer is, if you're reading this, click "like" or comment on anything and everything that catches your eye and help all us small businesses survive or one day you'll go looking for your favourite business pages only to find they've given up because people didn't actively like or comment on their photos or posts on a regular basis.

Small businesses need to support each other Don't forget the Get Notifications option under the Liked button to ensure you receive all posts from your fave pages.

Thank you!"

All in all, I would have to say:

Day 1 Challenge:  Totally 'check'!  (:

Looking forward to what Day 2 has in store!

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