Art Clubs: Pro’s and Con’s

I was recently having lunch with a couple of artist friends when we began discussing the diverse types of artists in our art club. I started thinking about this and could define at least three types: there are the “newbie” painters who are basically pretty happy with whatever the art club presents to them. Then there are the “progressive” artists who are interested in growing their knowledge base, their patrons, and professional affiliations. The largest group in any club are, what I’ll call the “in betweens”.

Now each grouping has its own plus and minus in the grand scheme of running an art club. The “newbie”painters tend to be easy going and love the social interaction these clubs offer. The “progressive” artists seem more driven to push a group towards loftier goals and tend to be forthcoming with new ideas. Not to say that all types do this but the “progressives” seem to relish this role a bit more. The “progressives” are always needed in any club situation. They have both the drive and ambition and can help mentor those who want to reach loftier goals.

Now the “in betweens” are the most interesting of groups for me. Why? Let’s follow my thought pattern. In my mind, the “in betweens” are in transit. They are most open to either going forward with an art career or staying at the same level. They are somewhat more likely to ascertain decisions from a “middle of the road” point of view. This can be both a good and bad thing. On the one hand the “in betweens” can easily slide into following the majority or they can begin to embrace and relish a more defined role, that is, that of evolving and moving the club towards loftier and more inspired goals. The “newbies” can be more readily influenced by the above mentioned “in betweens and “progressives” as their agenda is more lenient.

All three groups are necessary to have an art club function but depending on the proportion of one group or the other the art cub will either move forward or stay stagnant. The “in betweens”, usually being the majority in the club, are most likely the decision-makers in regards to which way the association will go. Another factor that can influence the direction in which the club goes is dependent on the artists own self-confidence or lack thereof. Lack of self-confidence will make some groups more susceptible to negative and poverty thinking. This is where the “in betweens” control the scene.

Lack of self-confidence will make some groups more susceptible to negative and poverty thinking.

My hope in joining any group is that there will be positive social interactions that help the entire art club and not just a few self-serving people. It seems to me, by my own experience, that it is always the same go-getters who end up doing the same tasks over and over again. Getting anyone to do an executive position is akin to having a root canal without anesthetics. If it were up to me, every individual who joined the association would have a position assigned to them according to their strengths (that appeals to my learning bent) for a set time period.

A group should be forward thinking and embrace new ideas. To move forward you need to be open-minded and spend some money. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered, in my last art club, that people are unwilling to spend any money to move ahead. More than anything else, coming from a “poverty mentality” will never allow a club to really succeed.

Developing critical thinking skills and being able to evaluate for the future benefit of an association is of prime importance for all these groupings. As often happens, a select few can sometimes disrupt the harmony and progress for all I realize, writing this, that there are generalizations and each grouping brings a different set of skill sets but can you get the majority on the same “progress” page? I think not.

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