In the previous two parts I've laid out some of the fundamental components for your custom-designed curriculum, and you can see those posts here (part 1) and here (part 2). Today we'll finish off the mini-series by exploring a crucial aspect of your art education: learning socially.
Unless you're a die-hard introvert, it's likely that you enjoy the company of others. When learning art on a budget, it's easy to overlook this fact, and select a regimen of solitary practices. Books and the internet are often the most cost effective way to learn -- but they rarely satisfy the social aspect of learning. How, then, can you learn socially without emptying your wallet at an expensive art school? First, let's explore the physiological factors at work.
If you've ever been on a sports team, you know that exercise is more fun in a group than as a solitary pursuit. Even if the exercise routine is exactly the same on paper, suffering through it with the camaraderie of a team lessens the psychological burden. I can't explain the science underlying this phenomenon, but I can guarantee art works the same way. I learned more effectively during the four years I spent at art school than I have in the 6 years since, and much of that is due to the social climate I was immersed in. Late nights spent working on homework assignments, tough critiques, and marathon study sessions were all shared by my community of art peers. Being in the same room with other artists - struggling and succeeding - charged my creative energy. But we're not talking about art school, so how can you engineer social learning on a budget?
Social Art Near You
The Buddy System - Do you have an art friend? Make an art routine with them. Just like jogging or lifting weights, use social accountability to motivate one another to accomplish artistic goals. Consider sharing your results once (or more) each week.
Meetup.com - If you want to expand beyond your current group of friends, meetup offers a great way to find like-minded artists in your community. Especially if you don't want to be the event organizer, Meetup is a nice chance to involve yourself in local art activities.
Art Lectures - Even though you're not making art, lectures are a great way to get inspired and learn about the art world. This effect is magnified by the crowd of like-minded atendees, so consider seeing live lectures instead of online video recordings. The society of illustrators (NY), Creative Mornings, and PechaKucha are good examples of this, though local museums are wonderful too. Especially if there's an art college near you, finding an lecture isn't hard to do.
Drink & Draw - If you're old enough to legally enter a pub, this is a fun opportunity. Many cities are home to these drawing clubs. As the name suggests, sketchbooks in these get-togethers are accompanied by pint glasses and jolly behavior. Even if you don't produce a masterwork, it's a fun way to meet fellow artists in your area.
No matter what format works best for you, I'm serious about this recommendation. Learning has a funny way of 'sticking' when you do it around friends. Limiting your custom-designed education to solo activities is a missed opportunity. How will you learn socially? We'd love to hear about your strategies in the comments, so join in the conversation!