Flourish Art Group is a female arts collective sprung from Vancouver-based THRIVE Art Studio. THRIVE was founded by artists Jamie Smith and Tara Lee Bennett (née Tara Galuska). Many of us met around 2018 through mastermind groups and art shows. Today THRIVE offers a wonderful online network that I highly recommend. I remain involved. It’s a great place for any female artist to connect and grow skills.
Our group began meeting in person at The PROFILE Coworking Club about eight months before the pandemic. Jen Clark was our fearless leader. Our meetings moved online when we could no longer meet in person due to public safety guidelines. It’s hard to believe nobody knew what Zoom was back then! For many people around the world, it’s an integral part of daily life now. We are fifteen months into the pandemic at the time of this post. Many original members our group still remain. Our format has changed to include broader discussions and artist talks. It was time to give us a name.
This group has been a pillar of comfort, inspiration and strength to me throughout the pandemic. When blursday described the day of the week, borders suddenly closed, art shows cancelled and our worlds turned upside down, we still had us. Only now we were safe in our living rooms.
Each artist brings her own unique skill set and creative style. We are an unlikely artist collective. Styles range from illustration, to abstraction and realism. We are at different ages and career stages. Some are mothers, some are not. Some early members include a mural artist, poet and even a circus performer. That performer, Renee Mak, graciously launched a wonderful online life drawing group that I was part of for many months early on in the pandemic. It grounded me in a difficult time and informed my art practice. Sadly, many performers were out of work. Renee kindly did her part to help her friends make some money. I digress, but it’s important. This group supported me when I launched Make Safe Brigade, a mask-making coalition. More on that later.
We are a passionate, kind, creative group. We strive to grow as individuals and as a collective. It’s simple yet very special. We help each other flourish in art and life. This is especially important in the art world. Female artists are undervalued and underrepresented.
One thing I know for sure? I’m lucky to have this gang in my corner!
FLOURISH ~ ACTIVE MEMBERS (alphabetical)
@thechowstudio Maggie Chow
@naturescardigan Susan Jessop
@janaraynemac Jana Rayne MacDonald
@lindsaymacmillanart Lindsay Macmillan
@mira_creates Miranda Maslany
@probynart Joanne Probyn
@ashwoodworth Ash Woodworth
@jamiesmithstudio Jamie Smith
@tara.lee.bennett Tara Lee Bennett
@jenclark.art Jen Clark
@renee.mak Renee Mak
@lindschroeder Lindsay Schroeder
@karladeco_ Karla Decoran