If you’re looking for social outlets as well as support in your creative business, my recommendation is to join or start a supportive group.
I recently started an Artisan Guild in my local area because I couldn’t find one to join. I did a lot of research and found a couple of other local artists that might want to join forces with me to get it off the ground. Here are some of my research and notes pertaining to setting up and structuring an artisan or art guild.
Starting an Art Guild or Artisan’s Guild
Groups or guilds provide a setting to exchange information and socialize. They can also sponsor workshops, organize group activities, or operate group facilities as well as studios, and galleries.
First, you will need a core group. One person can be the catalyst, but it takes a lot of work to get something like this started – you will need a group of people who are excited about the idea and willing to put in some work to make it happen.
Article I – Name
Art Guild or Artisan Guild?
Create – The Artisan’s Guild of ???
Using the word artisan opens membership to anyone interested in soap, cheese, wine, and gourmet food items rather than simply visual art.
Article II – Mission Statement
Create a mission statement – a short statement that describes the purpose of the organization. We wanted to create a supportive group where members work together to help and encourage one another, so this is emphasized in our mission statement.
Under the umbrella of the mission statement, we then decided on the activities we want to offer and put a person in charge of planning each of these activities, which included the newsletter, website, regular meetings, workshops, and sale. We want to have some activities in the works when we started recruiting members, so we could tell them what they would get in exchange for their membership dues!
Article III – Membership
Who will be admitted to the group? For us, it was professionals selling their handmade goods at galleries, shows or fairs, in brick and mortar or web stores, etc.
Article IV – Dues
You will need this to pay for speakers and special presentations.
Article V – Meetings
Where will they take place?
How long ?
At what time?
Ideas for topics to cover at meetings:
- Taxes for small businesses
- Setting up a website
- Setting up social media channels
- Who is your audience?
- Pull topics from all of the articles I’ve written for Creative Income website
- Include field trips to galleries or studios
- Demonstrations – show and tell style
Article VI – Exhibits
It would be nice to have 2 “shows” a year featuring guild members.
Should have items for sale
Who will coordinate and handle finances?
Open house type opening? Visit with the artists?
Article VII – Elections
How is leadership determined after the initial start up?
Set up the guild in a way that it will run long after the initial leaders have moved on.
- Vice Pres
- Committee chairpersons
- Separate website and social media channels?
- How will accounting work?
As you can see from my notes we opted for an artisan guild so that we could include people who made practically anything. We didn’t want to exclude people who didn’t work in the fine arts.
The final documents for the guild are far more detailed yet they only take up two pages. Keep the beginnings of your guild loose so that you can grow into it over time. And speaking of time – you’ll want to take your time and set things up the right way to begin with – it’s difficult to go back and change the basic structure of the group once you have a more members.
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess