Do you feel disconnected from the creative scene within your city? Want the “in” on the first steps to connecting with artists around you? You’ve come to the right place. Finding a community of creatives can really make or break your experience in the city you call home. In the best case scenario this adventure inspires & invigorates you, you get some new best friends out of it, and you learn new things. Worst case? Well, you spend a few hours of your time figuring out what is and isn’t right for you. Doesn’t sound too bad!
Now that we’ve taken away the fear that comes along with putting yourself out there to talk and meet new people, let’s start discussing the how. There are many ways to tap into the creative pulse of a city. We encourage you to explore our ideas below if they are comfortable and available for you. We made sure to include choices that are present in a wide range of cities, but you may also find some smaller and equally amazing opportunities that are specific to where you live.
Join Facebook Groups
The easiest of them all involves an activity most people are already doing, using social media. Facebook isn’t just for selling your old shoes or ignoring all the photos your estranged Aunt Betty posts of her sourdough starter. Facebook Groups are chock-full of opportunities to dip into the creativity your city (and beyond) has to offer.
When you search for groups on Facebook using keywords, you’ll find what ranges between local and worldwide. Don’t be dismayed by joining a more general group and finding others in your area from there. All it takes is putting yourself out there by posting “Does anyone live or work around ______? Looking to meet up with some creatives!” and the people interested will comment or message you. Also, it never hurts to expand your horizons and meet others across the world virtually!
There are plenty of niche-specific groups for whatever area of creativity you want to be involved in, but there are also multidisciplinary groups where you can get an insight to all different types of creatives.
Look Up Your Local AIGA
AIGA is a professional association for design, meaning a huge organization dedicated to all things design related. It’s a national group that has 70+ local chapters in various cities. It is a membership based group, but membership is not required, so don’t fret! Becoming a member gives you things like event ticket discounts, access to certain resources, specific opportunities, and other bells and whistles. You can do a little try before you buy and test the waters before committing to anything. If you determine AIGA is something you dig after giving it a try, a membership with them is a great thing to have.
The best part of AIGA is the events. They organize incredible speakers to host intimate talks or workshops about a wide variety of topics. Best of all, you already know the people there are like-minded and interested in the same things as you. AIGA also hosts virtual events if the online world is more your jam!
Some of my favorite AIGA events have provided not only the chance to meet new people, but also left me with incredible insight. With discussions, speakers, workshops, competitions, and even large-scale conferences, you can certainly find something to pique your interest. Whatever scale, topic, or delivery you’re looking for, AIGA has you covered.
If you’re located in Nashville like we are, check out the chapter here to explore resources they have at a local level.
Attend Creative Mornings
Creative Mornings is the “world’s largest face-to-face creative community”. It is an international group with local chapters in *224* cities across the globe! If somehow your city isn’t on the list, you can start your own chapter to put that baby on the map.
Once a month this organization puts on an event, always in the morning, and always free. Not everyone is a morning person, that’s for sure. BUT if you can peel yourself out of bed once a month, then this community is worth it. Not to mention, they provide coffee and breakfast treats of some variety at every monthly talk. Free breakfast and inspiring conversations!?
They pride themselves on their face-to-face interactions, but their online community is no joke either. They have a directory of creatives to be used for connection outside of their monthly meet-ups. They encourage you to share your work, and share your passions with others! What’s more fun to chat about than a mutual interest in creative pursuits?
The Nashville chapter has a lot of great recorded content, as well as a place to sign-up for the newsletter to keep updated on local events!
Sip and Mingle at Ladies, Wine & Design
Ladies (and non-binary, agender and gender non-conforming folks) this one is for you! Ladies, Wine & Design is a group dedicated to diversity in the creative world, and provides a space to learn and grow in the industry. This unique non-profit can be found in 285 cities across the world. They are typically known for once a month salon of various sizes that are generally free, and often include some sort of libations! In addition the monthly meetups they offer mentor/mentee opportunities and portfolio reviews.
The monthly salons provide the perfect opportunity to casually network in a low pressure environment. They’ve got drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) so you don’t have to worry about what to do with your hands. It’s a comfortable setting with a community known for being nonjudgemental. It provides the perfect opportunity to get to know others given that it is designed to encourage conversation. Plus, it’s all female, non-binary, agender and gender non-conforming humans.
The most exciting part of this organization is their dedication in representing the underrepresented. LWD tackles important issues such as pay gaps, discrimination, diversity in leadership roles, implicit bias, and so much more.
Just Talk to People
There is nothing more rudimentary than just getting out there and talking to people. You never know who knows who, and how they are connected. Some of the best things in life are stumbled upon, and you just may find the link to the creative community that you’ve been searching for.
Now go forth and get involved in your city’s creative scene!