An Art Ambassador

I had a pleasant experience on Thursday morning and just wanted to share it with you. It was time for an eye exam — the first in several years, actually — and thankfully I passed with good marks. But, that’s beside the point.

During the exam, I mentioned the artwork I do since having the right lenses is definitely an important consideration for a visual artist. The doctor was very interested, and then he mentioned his hopes that perhaps local artists might want to display works in his office to get additional sales. Oh, yes!

“Our art club members display a lot of paintings in doctors’ offices, banks, and other locations,” I told him and promised to have our club president contact him. Now, whether or not it will work out, I don’t know, but I did follow through with a phone call after I got home. I wasn’t able to reach the club president, but I did speak to our secretary.

“Thank you for being an art ambassador for our club,” she said, and to me, those were beautiful words to hear. More and more, I do feel that I’ve been accepted as an artist, as a club member who has something to contribute, and as a community member who is interested in promoting art within the city.

Out of curiosity — you know me, always browsing online — I looked up “Art Ambassador”. I found several things of interest, the first being “Art Ambassadors for a  Colorful World.” This is a group that works to serve children throughout the world through “the power of art”. I encourage you to follow the link and learn more.

Photo from the “Mission Statement” of Art Ambassadors for a Colorful World.

I also found a national UK site, the Arts Council England, an organization that distributes lottery funds and grants for projects. Their mission is to transform the country through “creativity and culture.” Their “Arts Ambassadors” program provides this clear-cut definition of what an art ambassador is:

“A Community Networker with the objective of spreading the word about arts and cultural events and/or representing the views and aspirations of a target community.”

I’d like to think that this is what I’m doing in my community. I do enjoy spreading the word about our art clubs, the events and workshops we hold, and the community outreach activities we have — open studios, displays, student shows, among others.

As part of this program, the Arts Council England offers information on how to effectively serve as an ambassador. Although not every item on this list is applicable to every club, these are all good suggestions:

• Increasing attendance through word of mouth promotion
• Selling and distributing tickets
• Raising awareness, interest and support
• Helping attendees to feel comfortable during a first time visit
• Informal consulting with target communities
• Offering advice and input on programming and other aspects of operation
• Following up a visit: gaining feedback from attendees

I read these with keen interest. One of the topics for discussion in the art clubs I belong to has been “declining membership”, or, more specifically, what we can do to increase membership and club participation. Many of the ideas above do have merit.

Club members can promote our art clubs through word of mouth. We can definitely strive to raise community awareness. And “helping attendees to feel comfortable”… well, indeed, that could go a long way toward building confidence and increasing membership. I do remember how awkward and ill-at-ease I felt at my first art club meeting.

I like thinking of myself as an “ambassador”, and already I have ideas coming into my head, suggestions I’ll make when we have our “Fine Arts” club meeting next week. I think there’s a lot we could do to make our club more visible within our community and help aspiring artists develop both skills and confidence.

And, in case you’re wondering about the painting shown as the “featured image” it’s “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein, painted in 1533. A lot has been written about this “double portrait”, so follow the link above to learn more.

 

 

10 Comments

    1. Thanks. Yes, it really means a lot to me to be an “art ambassador” and to promote not just visual arts but creativity within our community. People need that!

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