|Nan Hass Feldman and me, @ the Danforth Museum's networking event|
Last month I attended a networking event at the Danforth Museum of Art. The evening was part of one of the Danforth's newest offerings, their Professional Artist Series. Held on a cold, wintry February evening, I was quite aware of how lovely it was to be with a group of my peers, face to face, in a warm cozy surrounding, exchanging tales from the front.
Interestingly, most of the conversation was about social media and cyber-networking. This is a hugely, prevailing topic amongst artists lately. There are blogs, articles and workshops telling us of the dire need to get our work out into cyberspace.
And there are examples of artists who have been successful in the system. One that was recently pointed out to me is, Claire Desjardins ~ she has 13,000+ likes on her FB artist page!!! as well as good sales ~ the golden goose to many of us!!
So as I delighted in the company of my peeps, it made me ponder this issue of social media. One of my many jobs to help make ends meet is to help artists and small businesses with their FB presence. Strangely, I understand the general idea of FB and some other social media sites. But I have a major love/hate relationship with them!?!?
One reason I don't like these sites is that they are a HUGE HUGE time suck!! So MANY of the artists that I speak with would much rather be created their art than creating a cyber-buzz. Also I question why people, especially strangers, want to know all this information about me?!?!?
But I also see how these sites can work well for artists, especially visual artists!! I understand the perks of getting an image or idea to go viral. And I am a big surfer of the web - finding a link on a friend's Facebook feed that leads to an interesting gallery that introduces me to a new artist from Holland that I might not have known about otherwise.
Also I love my blog, another 'social media' outlet, however I blog for truly selfish reasons. I have been blogging since 2008, and as I have noted before, my blog is my personal journal a visual record of my journey as an artist, mom, woman in this time and place, that is out there for others to read, if they are interested.
When I sit down to put my rambling thoughts into coherent prose, I find myself learning about my own work and process. And I love to read other people's blogs, such as Joetta Maue's "little yellow birds" or Mandy Greer's blog !!! However, composing a readable blogpost is more time consuming than a quick FB post, yet are we losing content and integrity with our little tweets, posts and likes?!?!?
I don't have an answer, however on that cold evening in February it was viscerally apparent how invigorating and energizing a face to face networking event was. I could feel the vitality of the gathering, the pleasure from an actual hug or handshake, the communal reconnections through similiar plights, or even the ah-ha of putting the 'real face' to a Facebook 'friend'.
So as I write this manifesto of sorts on my cyber-journal to put out into the world of social media one of my hopes is to remind everyone to step away from the keyboard, go for a walk, find your sketch book or paint brush and/or go meet a friend, face to face, go to an opening or a networking event. Let's not forget the wonders of connecting with people in person!!!
The Danforth is hosting another networking event this Thursday!! I will be with my girls that evening but I am sure it will be worth the trip.