Through the years I have belonged to many organizations for various reasons. Some for networking, some for the resources they could provide, some because of what they stood for. Gradually I have pared this down to just a few in Nova Scotia that focus on my current interests.
First on this list is WFNS – Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia – writers.ns.ca.
A wonderful organization that offers a variety of workshops, mentorships, school outreach (Writers in Schools) and so much more. They have a series of literary awards they administer as well as writing competitions. I cannot recommend it enough for writers of all levels of experience and ambition. The able staff nimbly adjusted programming during Covid, offering many virtual workshops that only strengthened, diversified and extended their reach and accessibility. And now they have a cottage in the Annapolis Valley they are setting up as a writers retreat!
Second is VANS – Visual Arts Nova Scotia – visual arts.ns.ca.
Like WFNS, VANS offers a variety of workshops and webinars, peer review groups and PAINTS (Professional Artists in Schools). As well, it publishes Visual Arts News magazine, hosts Artist Profile Pages and administers an Artist Emergency Relief Fund. For artists who want to improve their level of professionalism you can take workshops that tell you how to apply for grants, approach galleries, prepare for exhibitions and more. I have taken a few of their virtual workshops in the last three years, notably the excellent Hear Tell Podcast series which attracted first-rate mentors working in the field.
Third is AFCOOP – Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative – afcoop.ca
If you are interested in filmmaking, this group offers several levels of programming, from making your first one-minute film to experiencing what it is like working with a film crew on the Film 5 set. They show you how to use their equipment, rent the equipment and offer access to editing suites. Accessible, low budget support. Check them out.
All of these member-based organizations are places to find others just like you. As creators we are often alone facing our insecurities, the highs and the lows. How wonderful to be able to talk with someone who has the same challenges and, despite it all, strives to make their vision a reality. Belonging gives you a place to connect, find out how to get support, how to be more professional, how to hone your craft.
Here in Pugwash, I also belong to a group of artists the Pugwash Artist Collective. We get together about three times a year, share a meal, news, information and support each other. We also try to have a regular group show at one of the local galleries. These wonderful people lift me up and keep me going.