In October of 2008 Caroline Collective hosted the first Bandcamp. The event was a full afternoon of education and community discussion surrounding the challenges and successes of the local music community. Through a several hour townhall discussion, community members were able to voice their concerns, ideas and success stories in the Houston Music Community. Fast forward several months and Bandcamp is a regular monthly event addressing the facets of career development that bands need to be successful as well as providing continued resources for local artists.

As a community based education model, Bandcamp has been a resounding success. Sessions are led by experts in the particular topic but the open discussion format results in information sharing about some of the best practices and experiences other artists have learned from. Bandcamp organizers have also recently begun to offer one-on-one consultation sessions with bands looking for extra guidance. Regular attendees have reported that Bandcamp has resulted in more gigs, better online presence and a new and richer relationships with members of the Houston Music Community.

Bandcamp’s success is a demonstration of the power of community based education models and what can result from open forums for discussion and idea sharing that ultimately create opportunities for individuals and groups to be more successful. The best part about these models is that they can work for any genre or specialization. For that reason we’ve decided to hold a similar event but this time focused on the Houston Arts Community.

Join us this Saturday, February 28th for ArtCamp. Artcamp is an informal, community-based event to discuss the state of the arts in Houston and develop an informed strategy on how we can collectively support our arts community. The format is open and decided upon by those in attendance but we have several goals that we will achieve through open discussion and peer-to-peer educational sessions:

  • Inform participants of available resources online and offline
  • Share best practices among organizations, including audience development, fundraising, board and volunteer recruitment, and online outreach
  • Share best practices among artists, such as developing their careers, promoting themselves and their work, obtaining gallery representation, and building an online presence

The schedule for the day will include educational sessions and a townhall discussion section just like at Bandcamp. Through this discussion we hope to determine the difficulties that local artists and members of the art community experience, the common solutions to problems, and voice concerns, comments and suggestions for improvement. The final session of the day will be a focused townhall discussion proposing sustainable solutions to educate and deliver resources to members of the community to ensure the improved success and continued communication at all levels.

Check out this great quote about ArtCamp from co-organizer Grace Rodriguez of AYN Brand:

The trigger for this event was Wayne Dolcefino’s scathing editorial (disguised as an investigative report) that derided funding for the arts in Houston. Members and supporters of our arts community were appalled at the lack of factual context and objectivity in his broadcast; and were disappointed that private objection to Dolcefino’s “reports” were not reflected in a unified voice, publicly. Several of us recognized that we need to facilitate better communication and improve relationships among the various arts organizations, stakeholders, and supporters to strengthen our community, so that we could disseminate information and correct misunderstandings more quickly in the future.

We hope to bring the general public and arts supporters together with those directly involved in the arts community to discuss the state of the arts in Houston, share best practices, and develop strategies on how we can *collectively* support and contribute to our arts community. Basically, we want everyone who “hearts” art to get to know each other and figure out how we can best vitalize and support our cultural community.

The signup and event listing is here: http://barcamp.org/ArtCampHouston

For more information, please contact Matthew Wettergreen at mwettergreen@gmail.com or Grace Rodriguez at grace@aynbrand.com.

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