While it’s certainly important to market your artwork online and strive to reach a global audience, it is easy to overlook the importance of reaching out within your local community. Although there may not be as much opportunity there in terms of art fair and gallery exposure, there are other ways to make those important connections in your hometown. One of the best ways of developing relationships is by volunteering. In the end, this is a win-win, as you are able to leverage your unique talents to give back to your community while developing the relationships you need to get your work out there at a local level. Here’s a look at some of the opportunities available for artist volunteers and how this type of work can help strengthen your career.
Popular Volunteer Opportunities for Artists
- Volunteer at your local art museum: One of the best ways to get to know the local art community is to volunteer your time at an art museum. Here, you will have the opportunity to develop relationships with a wide range of people, from local art historians and curators to patrons. Museums typically look for local artists to volunteer their time in a variety of outreach projects, from special education programs for children and other target audiences (such as the senior adult community) to murals, sculpture, and other art projects out in the community.
- Volunteer in the schools: Bringing local artists into schools has become a popular approach to art education. Artists are able to volunteer their time for everything from high school career days to hands-on art education with younger students. In many cases, the school will have a project for the artist to work on with the children. This might be anything from a decorative mural for the gym to a photo essay project.
- Team up with a local charity: As an artist, you can help support your favorite charity in myriad ways: from offering a prize or entertainment for a fundraising event to running a class or demonstration for the public. A major benefit here is that most local charities have an established relationship with the media — meaning that there’s a good chance that you may get additional exposure at a local level.
How Volunteering Can Benefit Your Career
Volunteering in your community can benefit your career, as it gives you an avenue through which to promote yourself as an artist in new and fresh ways. Volunteering is a great opportunity to expand your network, as you will be able to meet people in the art world you may have otherwise never run across. It can also be good for your pocketbook; local markets tend to be lucrative since people love to support artists from the community.
The bottom line is, when you volunteer as an artist, you are able to give back to your community and so much more. Volunteering provides an excellent way to connect yourself with the local population and also create a powerful fan base that can help support your work for many years to come.