How do you seek critical feedback outside of art school?
- Maggie Ginestra, Creative Director at WonderRoot
This is a real issue for artists because it gets very quiet after school. This is why friendships with like-minded peers is so important. You need a few people to see what you are making, to talk about ideas with, to provide some kind of intelligent feedback. Schools often provide the structure for this, in the form of the regular critiques and visiting artist/critic/curator studio visits for example. Once you graduate, YOU are responsible for building the system to support the dialogue you want and need. I am often surprised by how little dialogue there is amongst Atlanta’s artists, of all ages. Even established artists who show regularly need some fresh takes on what they are doing, and everyone should be in conversation about the exhibits on view in the city and elsewhere, reviews written, lectures attended, and so on. Exchanging opinions is crucial.
Where does one find the people who can provide feedback? There is the SEEKAtl group that meets regularly to do studio visits, and there are other opportunities to meet people through the High Museum of Art, WonderRoot, MoCA GA, Dashboard Co-Op, Mint, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, local dealers, curators, and critics, Whether these venues or individuals offer formal reviews or not, you need to get to know them by attending their events and saying hello. Eventually you’ll be in the position to invite them to view your website, visit your studio, and come to a show you’re having. Trust and comfort in communicating is built over time. Learning how to take advantage of opportunities takes practice. Being able to talk about or write about your art is made better by doing it, often.
I do the 15 Minutes Program for artist members of ACAC, which is a monthly portfolio review and conversation about various topics—graduate school, galleries, residencies, books to read, etc. It is as simple as signing up with Melanie Beal, our Membership and Outreach Coordinator. You can get lots of helpful info in 15 minutes, and to prove the point about how important feedback is, many people who sign up for these meetings drive from as far away as North Carolina or Florida. It is always shocking when someone tells me they live out of state and came because they really need someone to see what they are up to and respond in an informed and generous way.
All to say, no good artist I know works in a vacuum. All need a few reliable people to talk with.
- Stuart Horodner, ACAC Artistic Director
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