IN THE STUDIO WITH JAMIE SMITH AND TARA GALUSKA OF THRIVE
At Creative Founders we’re all about supporting female artists are focused on building their creative businesses, so we felt like we found kindred spirits when we came across THRIVE, a Vancouver-based movement that aims to support, motivate and educate visual artists through monthly meetings, podcasts, talks and the THRIVE Art School. We got in touch with Jamie Smith and Tara Galuska to learn more about their amazing initiatives.
IN THE STUDIO WITH JAMIE SMITH & TARA GALUSKA OF THRIVE
Hi ladies, thanks so much for chatting with us! So let’s start at the beginning. How did THRIVE start?
Tara: THRIVE started almost by accident in July 2015 when Jamie invited 6 artist girlfriends to her new studio one summer evening and the conversations that night were magical. Little did we know it was the start of a movement! I was one of the very first members of THRIVE and it wasn’t long before Jamie and I joined forces. Since then our membership has grown to almost 150 members and we are still growing!
One of the coolest things about THRIVE is that Jamie started it because she needed it, I joined because I needed it and our membership keeps growing because other artists need it too!
What was it like in the early days of THRIVE, and how has it evolved over the last two and a half years?
Jamie: The very early days of THRIVE were very much about making sure the rent was paid by any means necessary! Along with Mastermind and our THRIVE Talks speaker series, there were a number of different events and workshops run in the studio including collage, vision boards and so much more. It was exhausting but enabled us to keep the doors open and meet so many wonderful people!
Over time we have been able to find our focus and now it is clear that the most impactful ways for us to support artists are through our Mastermind program, THRIVE Talks and also THRIVE Art School.
Can you tell us a bit more about THRIVE Mastermind? What do you cover in your monthly meetings, and what kind of benefits does membership provide for artists?
Tara: One of the hardest things we found with being artists is how lonely it can be and THRIVE Mastermind is really important in countering that. In the monthly meetings, artists talk about the ups and downs of being professional artists while providing each other with the support, accountability and motivation they need to accomplish their art making and art business goals.
Between meetings, the conversations keep going on the THRIVE Network our online community for members. Members also receive THRIVE Guide Workbooks, access to business and art resources, the opportunity to expand their networks and solid advice based on other’s experiences.
What about artists who aren’t based in Vancouver? Is there any way they can get involved and benefit from what you’re doing?
Tara: THRIVE began here in Vancouver but now thanks to the wonders of the internet we are able to have members all around the world including the United States, France, Switzerland and Ireland! Our online meetings where members connect monthly via video with their group mean that artists who live elsewhere or who travel a lot are able to be members too.
Besides running THRIVE, both of you are both working artists. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced (or still face) turning your creative passions into careers?
Jamie: One of the biggest challenges was the fact that neither of us had business backgrounds or educations! This meant that pretty early on we started investing in getting educated. That means reading a lot, doing business courses, hiring an artist consultant (we love Pennylane Shen) and being part of not only THRIVE Mastermind but other business Masterminds (we love Spring) as well. Knowledge is power and we love to take every opportunity to learn and grow that we can.
When we feel a little over our heads we remember that one of the most important things to be successful in business is creativity and as artists, we have plenty of that!
Many artists we talk to struggle with finding the time to create and do all the necessary steps it takes to grow their art business, not to mention actually having a life outside of their work. How do you manage it?
Tara: For both of us, it is a matter taking everything one day at a time and knowing that being an artist really means we are playing the long game.
It’s important to be forgiving of ourselves when THRIVE needs more time and focus and it has also been really helpful to remember that just because we don’t have a paintbrush in hand it doesn’t mean we aren’t still artists. We are very careful with our time and are constantly mastering the art of saying no to make sure we get that much needed studio and personal time.
We are honestly really lucky with THRIVE because to be good at our jobs as meeting facilitators and to know what artists are struggling with and excited about we actually have to be practising artists ourselves.
What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Tara: Do The Work!
Jamie: We have it on the wall in the studio and it is our motto. There probably isn’t a day that goes by that one of us doesn’t say it either!
Do the work obviously means doing our jobs and the tasks that need to get done but it also goes beyond that too.
Doing the work means stepping up as leaders, stepping up to have the humility that we don’t know everything and stepping up to support our communities, whether that’s artists, entrepreneurs or our next door neighbours.
Right now in history, we are at a time of massive change. We believe that the work of artists is essential in making this change a positive one. So when we feel overwhelmed or scared we remember this is important and we do the work.
Do you have any new exciting projects you’re working on at the moment?
Tara: Our main focus right now is our intake for Mastermind for 2018! It’s always such an exciting time when we are able to grow our community.
Also on the topic of time management, we are really excited to be scheduling good chunks of studio time for ourselves. Jamie is really getting into illustration and I am really getting back to my love of drawing and collage!
Where do you hope to see THRIVE in five years?
Jamie: Everywhere! Kind of joking but not really. We have been able to see the massive and beautiful changes that have happened for our members and we want to be able to reach and offer that support and accountability to as many artists who want it as possible.
We love shining the spotlight on female artists and creative entrepreneurs like yourselves who are rocking art businesses. Can you tell us about a few ladies in your own community who inspire you and why?
Tara: Every single member of THRIVE inspires us you can find them all here if you’d like. We have artists at all different stages of their art careers. We learn from the dedication of our artists who have been practising for over 10 years and from the enthusiasm that artists who are starting out have and everything in between.
The way everyone shows up for each other and themselves during the meetings and between inspires us every day! Sometimes we just text each other saying “How lucky are we that this is our job?”
We think what the ladies at THRIVE are doing is pretty amazing, so please check them out and show your support!
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