Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Community Beyond My Desk

I never expected this to happen or to find myself here.

Creating for me has been a solitary endeavor.  However, I’ve stepped away from my desk and found a very welcoming place indeed. 

A few months ago, I was invited to join a group of local artists (writers, musicians, actors, painters, designers, to name a few).  Their mission?  “To spark their creative endeavors and get encouragement to keep on working.” As a loner, it was a leap of faith for me to join this group.  We meet once a month and discuss everything imaginable from the drive we feel to be creative, the tools we use, the workspaces we use and the risks and sacrifices we make in our lives to do what we do.  It was astounding to me the similarities in challenges and goals we all share.

In a very short time they’ve had a profound effect in how I see myself as an artist and the creative process.

Photo Credit: Niagara Univesity
An assignment from the “You Should Be Writing Boot Camp” course I’m taking tasked me to “nurture myself with a planned distraction”.  I work at Niagara University, which is home to the Castellani Art Museum. I like museums, however rarely go.  In fact, I've gone to the Castellani once in my seven years at Niagara.

So a few weeks ago on my lunch hour, I walked the rooms, starting with an exhibition of the history of Niagara Falls.  The following rooms housed a celebration of the Top-Spin series (solo exhibitions for emerging regional artists), portraits, sculptures and paintings. 
In the last room that held a collection on the Underground Railroad, I sat on the remarkably comfy bench and thought of being an artist.  

I thought about FEELING like an artist.  Like the ones who created the works I'd just looked at.  They had a vision.  They created and developed it into a form to share with others.  Their work touched me in thought and emotion.  

I thought about BEING an artist. I have a vision.  I create and develop pieces and share them with others.  People read my work that I will never know or meet.  It will touch them in ways that I don't know and can't imagine.   

I thought about the procrastinations and distractions in their lives and the daily routines they had.  And I thought about all the finished pieces I'd seen.  And that made me think about their commitments, their drive, their love of their craft.  I have within me all the same vices and talents. 

Then Friday night, I went to a reception for the artists of MY FAVORITE THINGS, by Robin Frey and Heidi Zanelli at Fox Run’s Gyda Higgins Gallery.  I met Heidi through the local group of artists. 
I walked the exhibition, admiring the beauty of the paintings and portraits as I listened to vocalist Mari McNeil, another artist from the group, provide soft musical jazz background.  Again, I found myself thinking of the process of creating and being an artist.

Sometimes stepping away from your own little corner of creativity opens up a whole new world, which is exactly what’s happened.  Where have I found myself now?  Remarkably... in a community of artists

A community made up of online friends, mentors and blogging groups like GBE2 Blog On and The Writer’s Post.  There is the talented group of writers and a wise instructor, Lisa Romeo, who I’ve met through the Boot Camp course, and an inspiring group of artists that I meet with once a month, all who have spurred my creativity to new heights.  More importantly, they’ve helped me feel a part of something bigger – something that allows me to walk through the Castellani or an artist’s reception and feel a connection not only to the finished pieces, but the artists, whether I know them or not.  We are ALL part of a community of artists.   

So no, I never expected this to happen or to find myself here; part of a world I hadn’t realized existed.  A world where I can nurture and support others with my experiences or by being part of an event.  By sharing my goals, my failures or my techniques. By showing interest and giving encouragement and feedback.  Yes, it’s a simple concept, but a new one for this solitary writer.  I’m glad I finally ventured past the edge of my desk.


  1. Isn't it a wonderful thing, this being, belonging, feeling, working as an artist?

    We are so blessed to have community - community that lifts us up and believes in us; generous people who know that they cannot outgive the universe. Thank you for this post, Amy!

  2. It is great to be apart of a group and having that support in your creative endeavors. Somehow it means a whole lot more with others input.


    1. It certainly does Kathy and I appreciate being part of your group! Thanks for stopping by to comment.