Even in the best economies, making a full-time living as an artist can be daunting. Where, then, can an artist turn for assistance? Fortunately there is a growing community of groups that share ideas, cooperative learning environments and spaces. According to Caitlin Strokosch, executive director for the Alliance of Artist Communities, an international association of artists’ communities and residencies, there is a nationwide increase in artist co-ops. “It’s no longer ideal for an artist to work in isolation,” says, Strokosch. “Co-ops and exposure to other artists foster balance and inspiration.”
Take a look at how these local collaboratives have excelled by doing just this.
Wild Goose Creative. In the fall of 2006, a group of college friends living in Columbus decided to do something with their passion for the arts. They started with occasional events in each others’ homes and as word got out about the group, it developed a following. Eventually, they founded Wild Goose Creative, a nonprofit organization “committed to creativity, hospitality, education and community.” The group’s six founders have since moved into a space in Clintonville and have been joined by several others who share the same vision for the arts and community. Examples of events the group has presented include a semi-monthly musician showcase, called WGC Presents. As described by Amanda Anderson, a WGC member, “We basically pick a local band that we’ve seen play somewhere — usually a bar where no one is listening — and invite them to perform in our space. We offer an experience they will appreciate, a place to share the music they’ve spent so much time crafting and have a more intimate performance.”
The Couchfire Collective. Couchfire converged in 2006 as a group with shared interest in studio spaces and promoting exposure and enthusiasm among artists and the Columbus creative community. Couchfire’s current headquarters houses 44 studios and more than 60 artists. The group benefits heavily from the participation and support of members and friends. Columbus native Jay Moffett, a three-year Couchfire member and secretary for the organization notes how being a member of Couchfire has helped him network with the local arts community more than he could ever have done on his own. “I’ve learned a number of new skills from other members and have met so many new and amazing artists from the local area. This to me is what makes a co-operative a great vehicle to helping you grow as an artist and experience new things you might not find on your own,” Moffett said.
Everyone knows the age old adage that experience is the best teacher. The above organizations are great places for artists get experience, get a career started, meet people and make connections. What these organizations and our artists bring to our community is just as important—a creative, energized and entrepreneurial spirit that will help Columbus flourish.
GCAC presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.