First Artist: There Are Artists Amongst Us

Artists embrace the traditions that enrich life. Living within mainstream society is to function within the artist spectrum.
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Artists. They are the ones who arrange their closets chromatically. Carefully julienne carrots to make them look enticing. Sing in the shower while soaping their pits. Make up tall tales to share with receptive peers. Create innovative solutions to everyday dilemmas. 

Artists embrace the traditions that enrich life. Living within mainstream society is to function within the artist spectrum. Those who actually call themselves artists are wired with a chronic creativity-itch – the drive to go beyond established norms and to experience, feel or propel their viewpoint through new expressions and higher-levels of artistry.

Artists boldly communicate through myriad explorations of visual, performing and musical arts. They create expressions that sometimes don’t fit within conventional schools of thought or practices of craft.

For centuries, artists have showcased their work within peopled spaces: galleries, stages, streets, earth and sky. They do not work within a vacuum; they seek venues to test their voice. In March 2020, the worldwide pandemic caused society to shutter many of its public spaces. Artists sheltered in place. Many artwork venues went dark. Society’s arts engine was idled.

When it comes to problem solving, artists are first in line. Sharers share. Chaffey Community Museum of Art opened an artist-to-public sharing experience by inviting members of the arts community to a Zoom meetup called FIRST ARTIST. Launched in the fall of 2020, it connects artists, their artwork and colleagues in a community forum. Gatherings are always on the first day of the month (FIRST ARTIST on the FIRST DAY). Artists share current news, current artwork and inspiration.

In a typical First Artist gathering, three artists present images of their works and discuss technique, process and philosophy. This is not the artist lecturing to the audience. This is a relaxed exchange of comments, questions and answers between the artist and the participants. The give-and-take produces a friendly, natural dialog that is illuminating to the artist, the commenters and the listeners.

To date, First Artist participants have come from San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Inyo counties (though the virtual format means First Artist is open to anyone anywhere in the world). Some participants have been practicing their craft for decades while others are just starting to realize they’ve caught the creativity-itch. Some are not artists. Some love art history.

First Artist gatherings explore many art forms: painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, mixed media, new media, woodworking, installation, music, poetry, storytelling and more. Because First Artist includes all of the arts, it creates understanding of all forms of art and improves everyone’s ability to use the language of art.

In a very real way, First Artist connects artists to artists and art lovers in a comfortable social venue that leads to a true appreciation of the value of art in everyday life. 

Selected Comments by First Artist Participants

“I’m so glad I came. I’m blown away by the creativity and variety. I feel so honored to be part of this. I’m not up to the level you all are but I’m excited about my creative future. Took a lot of notes.” GC

“Thanks so much for including me it was great to see your new work very inspiring and to see old friends and meet some wonderful new artists.” RC

“… I have to say that I am really enjoying The First Artist sessions much more than I initially anticipated.  Other artists I know have [launched] on-line groups during the pandemic, but they have gotten out of control very quickly – too many people invited, not enough structure, etc.  I really like how you are keeping FA regional.” KK

“… I look forward to spending time each month with the artists you select.” DK

“… Things seemed to go smoothly with the artist Zoom session. Nice work. 😉 SW

“… I love it and thank you for inviting me – pushes me to work on my work instead of just [focusing on my job] all the time, so it’s very important to me. You do a wonderful job shaping and guiding the space.” JK

“… what a great “first artist” last night. I really appreciate that time and how lovely all the artists and their works are.  … We’re keeping Art real!” RH

“So enjoyed last evening with wonderful artists sharing their work. A real treat. Thanks for putting the project together, Cheers!” DM