My intention, in 2009, of setting up Rochester Artisans as an email group was because we’re all busy running our art businesses, in addition to day jobs, families and life. I didn’t see us having regular meetings.
Then something happened over the years. We got to know each other, met in person at shows and discovered we like each other. So in 2012 and 2013 we had an annual social event, held in the winter when we’re all a bit less busy. Both times, people said, “This is fun, we should do it more often!”
So in 2014 we are holding monthly gatherings, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month. I thought it would be fun to meet at various locations around town, mostly coffee shops. That takes care of the food & drink aspect and since coffee shops often have arrangements with artists for showing their work, I thought some good connections might be made.
I started a list of places that were open past 7:00 on Wednesdays, mostly in the city, to provide easy access for eastsiders and westsiders. I didn’t fill all 12 months with suggestions, but I came close.
In January we met at Joe Bean Coffee Roasters on University Avenue. It’s a really nice place (and boy, do they know their coffee) but didn’t really fulfill our spatial needs like I’d hoped.
Then in February something happened to change my thinking. Outside the Box Art Gallery invited us to hold our gathering in their space. Not being centrally located in the city didn’t seem to deter anyone from driving to Fairport. We had a good turnout (15ish, I’d say), even some non-members stopped by to see what this Rochester Artisans group is all about. It was lots of fun to see all the art in the gallery and learn more about how they operate.
I could not be happier that it was such a win-win for all. The gallery is getting some new members, RA members made new connections with each other, some found selling opportunities with the gallery, purchases were made from the gallery. And it was really fun!
So that’s our new Gathering model – to hold them in locally owned galleries & stores who work with artists. What a great way to gain exposure and make connections!
Before I sit down to revise my spreadsheet schedule, replacing coffee shops with galleries & stores, I thought I’d open the floor for invitations, so to speak. We meet the 2nd Wednesday of each month, 5:00 – 7:00. It’s kind of an open house, people can come & go, but most stay the full two hours. Beyond that, we’re open to suggestions. Email me at email@example.com with ideas and suggestions.