|Some of the tools I'll be using, oh my, me and a drill?|
Collaboration, or working together, dominates my mind these days. I am about to embark on a brand new art project with the Amandwe Support Group in KwaZulu Natal & The Bag of Hope http://TheBagofHope.com. They have done their bit and now it’s all up to me. It’s a pretty scary, and exciting, prospect. And I am so looking forward to immersing myself in this over the next few months.
But this working together towards a common goal got me thinking. I am very big on working with other artists, businesses or anyone really, to further my art/business/town. I think some of it stems from going to all-girls boarding schools at a young age - the first time I was 9, it was not a match made in heaven, so the less said the better. Then at the ripe old age of 11, I went off to another school. This was much better, my older sister was already there and a number of my friends from my small town were also enrolled. I was as happy as can be - made life long friendships and learned strong values and liberal ideas.
We all also learned at a young age that we could achieve success at whatever exciting venture someone dreamed up - good and bad - if we worked as a team. One girl distracts the authority figure and rest sneak off on a daring adventure. We had a high success rate, but naturally, some failures as well. Just like real life. We never lost our individuality, nor the strong influence our parents exerted on us, but boarding school sure shaped my life in more ways than I could have realized at that tender and wonderfully, silly age. And since the launch of face book, I am reconnecting with many of my class mates from school - now strong, independent ladies living all over the world. What a treat!
Americans pride themselves as being highly individual characters and sometimes have trouble seeing the benefits of working as a group - Congress springs to mind as an extreme example. However, we’ll not go there. In this economy, I think it’s pretty obvious - for instance, I can’t afford hundreds of dollars on adverts, but if a group of us get together and each put in a small amount, we can advertise. Or if we can show people outside our area all we have to offer in one place, we become a much more interesting prospect. And so on … I’ve never felt I’m in competition with other artists. We each have our individual, unique style - and everyone has different preferences and tastes - and there’s the obvious conclusion, we’ll all get a slice of the pie. If there are different things to see, different styles of art to buy, concerts to attend, nice places to eat and sleep - more people will come.
So, meet the Art Ramble in Milford - our permanent, self-guided studio tour. Here we’re clustering our art-related businesses, listing events in town and a map to show how everything is in walking distance. Please check out the website and bookmark it! And let me know what you think… feedback’s always good http://artramble.com
Meantime, while the Art Ramble is getting built up and we all promote each other with enthusiasm, I am working on my African collaboration art project. Do stop in and see how I’m doing whenever you can. I’m like a pup wagging it’s tail with happiness and excitement. It will take my art and imagination to new levels. I always did love a challenge!