Recently we at The Artist’s Magazine received an inspiring
letter from one of our readers, Jane Freeman. Hers is a story of isolation that
blossomed into long friendships, thanks to art and technology. Let’s hear it
from Jane, herself…
Dear Artist’s Magazine,
I wanted to tell you about a group of artists that I think
would make an interesting article. First I need to tell a little history. For
five years I was the editor an art magazine and online forum; I learned how
important the forum element was for established artists like myself, who have
become isolated because of our craft. I live in northern Minnesota in an area
without art leagues or clubs. When I stopped helping at the forum in order to
spend more time painting, I found a void. I didn’t want to join another group
online as I found that it was common to cross paths with those who created
friction with their very strong opinions. I didn’t need that drama in my life
and so I decided to start my own group.
Several years ago I began a new online forum, and it’s been a blessing in my
life. I personally knew each of the original members I invited because of
emails through the years. I wanted it to remain small and supportive with the
hopes that we would actually become closer friends and fill that need for
inclusion in such a secluded life.
Over the years some have moved on and others have been added. Some go on to
write books or get busy teaching and then it’s hard to keep active. I’ve done
both but I have a great group and they keep things running when I’m gone. I
established a private backroom as a more personal area as well. When members
are going through difficulties that they wouldn’t want to share with the world,
we can talk in the backroom, sharing support and love. We affectionately call
it the Clubhouse.
This endeavor has exceeded my expectations. Over the years some of us have been
able to meet; we’ve planned a gathering in Chicago and wondered if anyone would
spend the money to meet for five days. Well, I believe at this point there are
14 signed up! We reserved a block of rooms and are planning many day trips to
zoos, gardens, museums and galleries. Members are coming from California,
Texas, North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, Ontario and Minnesota.
I think this proves how much we need those friendships in our lives. This is
about art but maybe more about friends who support each other in all facets of
our lives. Some of us have communicated for almost 10 years now. I’d love to
see more artists start groups like mine as I’ve seen how successful they can
be. Now, I never feel alone way up here in the woods.
I just wanted to share with you how special this is to all of us. We
intentionally remain a small group, and we know each other well because of
Here’s a fun photo of a few members of our group. We’re beginning to do more things together now that we know one another.
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