Free UK-based online artists support network launched

paint-potsA free online artists support network is launching this week, primarily aimed at young people in the UK – including comic artists. The Artists Support Network service gives aspiring artists a simple way to request and receive help from established artists, galleries, teachers and sponsors.

The Artists Support Network encourages young artists to request help for their projects, ideas and goals online.

“Requests can be made for any type of support they need,” explains Chris Davis the network’s founder. “It could be for materials, art space, visits or skills workshops. Once a request is made any artists who would like to help can respond by making an offer directly to an individual or to the whole group.”

Established artists from around the UK are uniting through the new network to support young and aspiring artists by offering a range of knowledge, experiences, expertise, studio space and resources.

Chris told downthetubes they definitely plan to include resources for comic artists.

“The network is just launching this week and we are now building up a network of support for people to tap into,” he told us.

“Expert contributions are welcomed and where we can we want to work closely with a few artists in each main area of the visual arts.

“I just had a conversation this morning where comic art came up (One of the members of a youth project I was talking to who are going to be using the network asked  ‘Does comic book art count?’)

“Comic artists is a great area for us as it can help to get people interested in art in a different way to an painting or sculpting.”

Chris set up the artists support network because he saw a clear gap between formal arts courses and establishing a career in art or design. According to What Do Graduates Do? 2012 (PDF link) notes that less than a fifth of all art and design graduates end up working in an artistic career. Just at graduate level, that means there is a huge number of young people not following their dreams.’ he said. ‘This network aims to bridge that gap between professional and aspiring artists.’

The skills and mentoring available to young artists from professionals already registered on the network include painting, sculpture, stone work, drawing, photography, fabric and illustration.

Artists looking for help can sign up and create their own support request to share online. As soon as a request is created they can begin receiving offers and proposals from other artists, galleries, experts and supporters.

“We had a great response to a trial we ran in Gloucestershire earlier in the year,” says Chris. “We found artists and galleries were very keen to be involved. The goodwill and offers of help received during the pilot scheme showed us the potential for a dedicated artists support network and how it could offer practical help to young artists. We are now extending that to the rest of the UK.”

As well as acting as a portal for requesting individual help, there will be regular arts campaigns and projects that people can become involved in. Anyone can sign up by email or use a social login account to receive arts news, requests, offers and deals on equipment, art supplies and events.

“Maintaining a career in the arts has always been difficult and it is important that the network is useful for established artists as well as newcomers. We give artists lots of way to promote their work, skills, exhibitions, courses and galleries,” said Chris.

Experts in visual arts or design are encouraged to share opportunities and add their own offers, guides and other helpful artistic resources.

The Artists Support Network is run by Add My Support, who manage supportive social networks designed to connect people needing support to others who are able to provide it. Other creative support networks include the Drama Support Network, Dance Support Network and Young Musicians Support Network.

• The Artists Support Network is free for new and experienced artists to register. It’s primarily designed for young artists 14-24 year olds, but can be used by anyone involved in or interested in the arts. If you are seeking help or are interested in assisting young artists please contact art@addmysupport.com with your details or go to http://art.addmysupport.com



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