This post was first shared with our membership by email on January 4, 2022 from Lizzy Wilson, Huron River Art Collective President.
Happy New Year!
The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. – Friedrich Nietzsche
I want to express my deep gratitude for you as a member of Huron River Art Collective. I thank you for participating in the decision-making and being patient as we continue to work through major changes during this time of Covid and much transition as an organization. You are the heart of this organization and key to building a supportive community for artists and the arts.
Especially, I want to thank our volunteer board of directors and committee members who have gone above and beyond, yet again, this past year. They have put so much time and energy, working in the background on infrastructure needs and adapting to overcome the obstacles of Covid this past year while continuing to provide and even expand educational, exhibition, and member social and networking opportunities. This year we have worked on improving our use of technologies, along with training volunteers, members, and guests to engage virtually so we could continue our Speaker Series, Empowering Women Artists program, ArtShare events, Critiques, as well as our board meetings.
We also have taken a serious look at our sustainability as an organization and what is needed to assure the Collective continues to meet with its mission to support artists into the future. One outcome of this work is that we terminated the lease in our current space and are preparing to sign a contract to lease Trust Arts gallery space just down the road from our previous space. The lease is to begin February 1, 2022. January and February will be busy with the move. Our expectation is that by April we will be hosting events in our new space.
All of these changes we have seen in the past year are being driven by membership interest and guided by our mission and values. This coming year, if you have not yet done so, I hope you will jump in and get involved to help to make the Collective even better in 2022!
Sincerely, Lizzy Wilson Huron River Art Collective President
Personal honesty, integrity and respect in our work as a board, membership, and community members
Diversity, equity, and inclusion in leadership, membership, and community engagement
Passion for teaching, learning, creativity, innovation, and sharing
Collaborative community approach connecting members and collaborating
Our mission is to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for a diverse community of artists to share knowledge and opportunities that promote individual excellence, collaboration, inspire new creative perspectives, and offer engagement with the public to foster participation, appreciation, and support of the arts.
On Friday, December 3, 2021, the Huron River Art Collective had the long awaited Fall 2021 Juried Art Show Reception at Malletts Creek Library in Ann Arbor. There were over 150 entries for this show. The Juror, Durwood Coffey, had the difficult task of choosing just 40 pieces of art to hang for this show. He requested that we up it to 42, saying it was very difficult to choose as there were many outstanding and diverse pieces.
The Juried Exhibition Committee and a number of volunteers met in late October to hang this show at the library. While hanging, a staff member of the library was overheard saying, “it is so nice to have art on the walls again!’ Isn’t that the truth!?! Patrons of the library were treated to a lovely display of art as they entered, explored and exited the library. All works were for sale.
Artists, friends and relatives who attended the reception viewed the lovely art, and socialized with fellow creatives. Juror, Durwood Coffey gave out awards to Tricia Hampo, Bryan Wilson, Quadre Curry, Anne Rogers, Marilyn Thomas, Gwen McKay and Mary Riley. Durwood also shared some words of wisdom regarding creating art. While reflecting on the submitted work and how he made the difficult decision, he said one thing always stands out and that is composition. If the composition is no good then it doesn’t matter how well rendered a piece is. Good composition always trumps everything else. He also told the group that there are two kinds of artists, those who are a “circle” and those who are a “straight line”. A “circle” artist is one who does one thing, then another, then another, then does what this person wants, and what that person wants and so on and so on (sometimes this is necessary to make a living (; ). The “straight” line artist creates similar things, but always moving forward along that same line. The circular artist does not progress as fast as the straight line artist. To sum it up, he says the straight line artist most likely creates what they love. Bottom line, do what you love!
We hope to see you and your art at the next exhibit!
The Huron River Art Collective would like to thank artist Trisha Hampo for speaking at the reception and writing this blog post. Congratulations again on your first place award.
I was surrounded by sequins, furiously stitching away to meet my class deadline in the 5th grade. Mrs. Codner assigned us a project to create a paper or fabric carp. Mom showed me how I could use sequins to make beautiful, sparkly fish scales. It excited me so much I jumped right in.
There was, however, a problem. There was NO way I could finish the assignment by the deadline. The technique was too time consuming. I’d never been late for a homework assignment, let alone for a project. I was terrified.
Today I can call myself a recovering perfectionist. As a child, perfectionism was already in full bloom. I attended school that day, despite my best attempts to convince Mom otherwise, eyes filled to the brim with tears. And when I told my teacher it would be late because the technique I was using was so time consuming, all I could see (and still acutely remember) was her disappointment.
I went home that day determined to bring my finished carp to school the next day. I knew it was something special.
And when Mrs. Codner saw my project, her eyes popped out of her head. I felt redeemed. It affirmed that the work I put in was worth it. And she hung my carp at the front of the class.
Today I embroider and find other ways to embellish my art.
Childhood is a powerful part of our lives. For better and for worse. Connecting to the child we once were, either through material or giving ourselves permission to play, can be a wonderful way to access and channel the creative voice we seek.
Tip Two: Stop Forcing Success
Picasso is often quoted as saying, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
We start to develop ideas in our head about what we should be doing with our art, what are the correct ways to make, share, sell, display art…
And internalized rules dealing with definitions of success can easily drive our artistic decisions.
And yet, for me, it was returning to a place where there was nothing to give and no more rules to care about that helped me receive the very accolade or recognition I’d sought.
I was teaching high school art when I got these headaches that wouldn’t quit. The CT scans and MRIs had some bad news, too: it was a mass on my pituitary gland. They didn’t know what it was, or if it was cancerous. We’d know more after they went in.
I was in my mid to early twenties and here I was signing a waiver that told me I could go blind, be on lifelong hormone replacement therapy, or die.
In the days that led up to my surgery all I wanted to do was paint. So paint I did (and perhaps for the first time without a plan or a goal). I painted because I wanted to and knew it could be the last time I painted.
It was the first time in my life, since early childhood, that I had painted purely because I could.
Thankfully the surgery was a success and my health returned quickly. Shortly thereafter I found a group call for young artists facing health issues and disability. The work I had painted before the surgery was a good fit for the exhibition so I entered the work.
Those two pieces purchased my first laptop and went on a two year tour of the US which included stops at the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Before that I’d been accepted to, backed out of, then completely rejected from probably half a dozen masters programs.
As soon as I let go, as soon as I stopped trying so hard, I won.
Tip Three: Reflect Regularly
Finding a way to let go and return to creative flow honors the voice already within us. And yet, there are also systems and behaviors we can use to build our skill and develop our unique artist voice.
“I’m bad at math.”
“Artists are disorganized.”
There are A LOT of definitions and cultural assumptions about what it means to be a creative person. We are labeled with chronic mental health problems, as unreliable or inconsistent professionally, bad with money, and I’m sure we could add to this list.
How could these notions NOT impact us?
We internalize beliefs like these and take them on as personal definitions of artistic value and success without even knowing it. Which is why it’s so important to take time periodically to check in with ourselves to ask:
How do I define “artist?”
What does being a successful creative mean to me?
And, how do I get there?
Being strategic with how we use our time, and ensuring it’s aligned with our values and personal definitions will help us get there (wherever there is) faster.
Taking the time to address our limiting beliefs (H/T to Gay Hendricks The Big Leap) can ensure the artistic choices we make come from a place of curiosity and play. And when we make from a place of true flow, honoring the path before us rather than forcing it, we can confidently develop and refine our unique artist voice.
Carrie Brummer is an artist and professional educator who taught for years around the world before creating Artist Strong, an online artists’ community and school. Her personal artist practice is about elevating women, highlighting and addressing gender norms, and perfectionism. Her work has been exhibited across the United States, in Canada, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. You can learn how she supports self-taught artists at www.ArtistStrong.com and view her original art at www.CarrieBrummer.com.