5 Reasons Why Photographers Should Join An Artist Collective

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A few years ago, I joined the South Bay Artist Collective, a small group of photographers, painters, sculptors, and mixed media artists, located in Hermosa Beach, CA, about 30 minutes from Los Angeles.

We rent gallery space, and put on exhibits monthly and our group has grown to 65 members. The gallery is generally open six days a week and staffed by volunteers. It has been a great experience so far. I’d recommend it for your consideration. There are many reasons to join, but I’ll give you (5) five good ones below.

1) Creativity joining with other artists in a Collective opens up your world to a wide variety of artists from whom you can learn. I’m a photographer, and swim primarily in those waters. Since joining I’ve been exposed to other amazing photographers but also other art forms that I know little about. For a self-taught artist it is a wonderful learning opportunity.

2) Shared expenses, permanent space

Creating your images, framing them, finding space and renting space is expensive and time consuming. I’ve been in over a dozen group and solo shows. It’s great to have a consistent space where I can regularly show my work.

3) Increased exposure

When you have 65 other people to publicize an exhibit space and show times, you have better market penetration. Leveraging everyone’s contacts means we get more eyeballs on our work. On average, shows are 1-2 weeks, every show we’ve had this year has brought hundreds of people in to see the work. Our last show had over 800 guests and sold out. Another great thing about this group is that it is a 501(c)3 non-profit that promotes arts education for kids!

4) Motivation

Being in a collective with regular shows motivates me to keep my work current and push to be the best I can be. When we have a show coming up, I want to hang beautiful art that will sell.

5) Networking, networking, networking

The benefits of being in a collective include better odds of selling your work, but the connections might be the real gold. Our exhibits get press coverage, and my work has been featured in news. I’ve been contacted by multiple interior designers who are interested in my work. Today, an art foundation called me and asked me to join their roster of artists. The networking benefits are tremendous. What makes it work? All have to pitch in! At least one person has to take the lead to make sure “the flag does not touch the ground” and coordinate efforts. Many artists have multiple gigs, it’s best if you have several full-time artists in the group that can devote more time.

Photographer Kevin Gilligan in front of a 40" x 60" print "Liquid Gold" exhibited at the Resin Gallery in Hermosa Beach, CA. Click on the image to see all the glorious details.

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