Conversations | Meet an #ArtistHotline Partner: The Flower City Arts Center

Conversations | Meet an #ArtistHotline Partner: The Flower City Arts Center

“Find your community online – #ArtistHotline is a great place to start!“ – Megan Charland, Flower City Arts Center

#ArtistHotline is an initiative dedicated to creating an ongoing online conversation around the professional side of artistic practice. On the third Wednesday of each month, artists, arts professionals, and a wide range of arts service and cultural organizations come together on Twitter to ask questions, share arts career advice, and provide words of encouragement.

#ArtistHotline wouldn’t be possible without the wide range of organizations that participate each month, and so we’ve created a series highlighting the invaluable role these organizations play. You can read the first interview with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA)’s Mollie Flanagan here.

With this interview, we’re traveling upstate to highlight a long-time #ArtistHotline partner: Flower City Arts Center, in Rochester, New York. Flower City Arts Center is a community-based non-profit that educates, encourages, and inspires all people to create and enjoy the arts by offering programs in three visual arts areas: Printmaking & Book Arts, Ceramics, and Photography.

We spoke with Megan Charland, the Center’s Photography Program Manager. Below, Charland shares advice on taking advantage of social media, previews some upcoming opportunities at Flower City Arts Center, and meditates on the infectious energy that flows from #ArtistHotline each month. To get more advice and insights from arts professionals like Charland, join us for #ArtistHotline every third Wednesday, from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM EST. Here are some tips for participating in the Artist Professional Development Day to help you get started!


NYFA: Which upcoming opportunities or programs at Flower City Arts Center are you most excited about?

Megan Charland: We just launched our Winter 2018 class schedule, and registration is now open! Every quarter we offer 50+ classes and workshops in Photography, Printmaking & Book Arts, and Ceramics. One of the workshops I’m most excited to offer this winter is Being Present: Mindfulness in Photography with visiting teacher Pilar Arthur-Snead. This 2-day workshop will challenge students to remain present, focused, and tuned into their innate creative ability by incorporating simple mindfulness techniques into their photographic practice. Not only do our students have the opportunity to learn from a visiting teacher, but also this workshop is more focused on the experience of making than the making. As artists, it’s hard to step back and not be solely focused on what our finished artwork or product will be. I’m very excited to see what response we receive from our community! Interested in the workshop? Spend a weekend in Rochester, New York this winter!


NYFA: What have you most enjoyed about participating in #ArtistHotline?

MC: Engaging with artists and organizations from different disciplines! I first started participating in #ArtistHotline as an artist. I’ve always really enjoyed meeting and networking with new and like-minded people, and Twitter makes it so easy! Flower City Arts Center started participating in #ArtistHotline about two years ago when I was initially hired on as the Communications Coordinator. Participating as an artist is great, but I have to say participating as an arts administrator is so rewarding! The energy from this monthly Twitter exchange is contagious. It’s great to see so many artists committed to pursuing their art careers, and I really enjoy being a part of their journey. In my current position as Photography Program Manager, I participate in #ArtistHotline every month alongside my colleague Amanda Chestnut, our current Communications Coordinator. You can follow me at @megancharland, and the Center’s account, @RochesterArts, for advice from the staff at Flower City Arts Center.


NYFA: What are a few steps an artist can take to utilize social media to their advantage?

MC: Here are a few tips:

  1. Find your community online – #ArtistHotline is a great place to start! Who are other artists working in your field? Which organizations support your field? You want to engage with your peers and have meaningful interactions. Don’t just tap on the “like” button; don’t forget about the social aspect of social media. Once you start following like-minded people, you can then end up going down this glorious rabbit hole of the internet where you are introduced to great resources you might not otherwise be exposed to. Just don’t get distracted by the latest viral cat video. 
  2. Hashtags are your friends! Just look what #ArtistHotline accomplishes each month! Create a list for yourself of hashtags that are relevant to your field and region. For example, here in Rochester, New York, we use the hashtags #ROC, #RochesterNY, and #VisitROC to grab local attention. Field-related hashtags we use in the Photography program here at the Center include #FilmIsNotDead, #ArtMatters, and #CommunityDarkroom, to list a few. The field-related hashtags can help you create a national/international following on social media since they are used so widely. How do you know which hashtags to use? Which ones do you see popularly popping up on your social media feed? That’s a great place to start! Also, nowadays organizations, conferences, etc., will tell you which hashtag to use. Here at the Center? We ask our members and students to use #FlowerCityArtsCenter so we can see what everyone is creating here, and in the Photography program I ask my artists-in-residents to use #PhotoAiRes to track what they are up to. 
  3. Make sure your bio and headshot are a clear representation of you! One of the first actions a user makes after someone follows them is to immediately click on their profile to learn more. They want to know, “Who is this person following me?” If you have a website, make sure to link to it directly in your bio, so if your profile information sparks interest your new viewer can learn more. Think of your social media bio as your elevator pitch. 

Megan Charland is the Photography Program Manager at Flower City Arts Center (FCAC) in Rochester, New York. She has an MFA in Visual Studies from the Visual Studies Workshop in association with The College at Brockport State University of New York with a graduate certificate in Arts Administration. She currently teaches Social Media for Artists and Teen Zine workshops at FCAC along with zine workshops for adults throughout Western New York. Megan is also a curator for Women in Photography and a practicing interdisciplinary artist with 15+ years working in the visual arts field; learn more about Charland’s practice on her website.

– Interview Conducted by Mirielle Clifford, Program Officer, Online Resources

This post is part of a regular series highlighting the arts service organizations that participate in #ArtistHotline. Inspired by the NYFA Source Hotline, #ArtistHotline is an initiative dedicated to creating an ongoing online conversation around the professional side of artistic practice. #ArtistHotline occurs on the third Wednesday of each month on Twitter. Our goal is to help artists discover the resources needed, online and off, to develop sustainable careers.

This initiative is supported by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

Images: all images courtesy of Flower City Arts Center, lead image by FCAC Instructor Arleen Thaler

Amy Aronoff
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