5 meetings x 2 hours = power
Artists use the Workbook and meet monthly for two hours.
Artists in a Working Group make the four key documents for building a sustainable life: a plan, an artist mission statement, a budget, and a calendar.
Working Groups build a positive, realistic conversation around sustaining as an artist.
Start your group
1) Download the free materials: Making Your Life as an Artist, the Working Group Curriculum, and the Workbook.
2) Reach out to artists and schedule the first meeting. Might we suggest a doodle poll?
3) Let us know by signing up here:
+ What makes a good Working Group?
Artists who can commit to the time and the work.
Artists who can play well with others.
Keep the focus on the work: building sustainable lives.
No gossiping, no whining.
+ Do we have to follow the curriculum?
We developed the curriculum over a decade working with artists locally and nationally. It is highly refined and extensively tested, and it is there to structure the work. If you depart from the curriculum, we strongly recommend you write down a different structure, a specific proposal for what you will do in each meeting. Groups that have strayed from the curriculum without asserting another structure have ended up in pleasant but predictable conversations.
+ Do we have to buy Workbooks?
Do not let money be a barrier. A Working Group can be done for $0. Making Your Life as an Artist and the Workbook are both available as free downloads here. You can even print them on your home printer. Many artists (ourselves included) prefer the printed Workbook because it's a real thing, an object, and not on a screen. It gives a focus to the process. We have Workbook discounts for committed Working Groups if you want to order them.
+ What's the catch?
There is none. Artists U is an artist-run incubator generating free, open-source tools for artists. We fundraise to this work, so don't worry, we aren't working for free.
Here's what we ask: if you go through a Working Group and find it useful, help spread the movement by starting another one. Find artists in your world who could benefit from these conversations and plant the seed of another Working Group.
+ Can we meet more than five times?
Yes, and many groups have. The fifth meeting is up to you, and beyond that, Working Groups have:
Continued to meet monthly around topics of specific interest.
Asked us for further meeting topics and structures (we have em).
Continued to meet occasionally to check in about plans and goals.
+ Can we change our meeting times?
Please don't. The number one thing we've learned from Working Groups is: keep the meeting times sacred. Artists are incredibly busy. It's hard to set aside time, but it's essential. The one thing we commit to a Working Group is our time. We have seen many scheduling meltdowns result from someone sending the group a message: "Could we reschedule?"
+ What is a Working Group?
A group of 4-15 artists who agree to meet five times. Artists do assignments from the Workbook, and meet monthly for two hours to discuss and work together.
Artists in a Working Group make the four key documents for building a sustainable life: a plan, an artist mission statement, a budget, and a calendar. Working Groups build a positive, realistic conversation around sustaining as an artist.
+ How do I start a Working Group?
Get Making Your Life as an Artist and the Workbook (you can download them or order them) and the Curriculum. Reach out to artists and schedule the first meeting (and make sure you schedule the rest at that first meeting). And sign your group up.
+ Why do this?
Your practice and your art deserve it.
We have done this work with thousands of artists and can say unequivocally: artists who come together to do long-term, structural thinking have more balanced, sustainable lives. And more impact on the world.
+ Can I just do it alone?
Absolutely. Download the Workbook, and get to it. Doing it in a group provides accountability (actually do it) and dialogue (get the conversation out of your head).
+ How much time does it take?
About 20 hours: 10 hours of meetings plus 10 hours to do the assignments.
+ Is it hard to make a group work?
Building community is never easy but so worth it. Coming together as artists is a powerful act, pushing back against the isolation and false sense of competition that divide us. A Working Group takes leadership on all sides: consciously speak up, listen, step forward, step back.
+ Do we need a leader?
We recommend a Host, someone who convenes the group, reminds everyone about meetings and assignments, and keeps the meetings on topic. The Host is not in charge; the Host maintains the momentum and the focus. Some groups have one Host, some have rotated the responsibility.