Do you want to learn about an online class, see a unique technique demonstrated or hear some supportive feedback on your art? Art pods are the key. Not a member? Not a problem! Everyone is welcome at the five art pods currently offered by WCA/NH: the Artist’s Meeting Place in Boscawen, the Plymouth Pod, the Lakes Region Pod in Laconia, the Monadnock Pod and the Zoom Pod that has no location.

So what happens at an art pod? A facilitator offers announcements about WCA/NH meetings, exhibitions, scholarship or grant opportunities, upcoming classes and more. Next, artists are invited to show and describe their art work if they wish (no pressure). This is not a critique, but a time for positive encouragement from peers. Some perks: artists can gain information about a technique they would like to try, find inspiration from viewing others’ artwork, and acquire new ideas. The art pods are close-knit and welcoming. Members have even taken museum trips and coordinated art exhibitions together.

In 2001 WCA/NH artists started an experimental group at Borders Books in Concord, NH, called art shares. The hope was that both members and the New Hampshire Chapter would benefit.  Laura Morrison, our current WCA President, recalls that, “It kept members connected between meetings and it grew membership.”

Nothing lasts forever; the Borders Bookstores went out of business in 2011. After we lost our meeting space there, people began taking turns hosting art shares in their homes. Meetings were sporadic, however, and after a while they stopped. Then one board member, C.M. Judge, recognizing the value of art shares, proposed that decentralized groups with fewer people could meet regularly in regions of the state geographically convenient for them.

C.M. coined the name “art pods” as a metaphor for smaller and more intimate groups, “like peas in a pod”.  The board loved her idea, and the first art pods began to meet in 2015.

Art pod attendees enjoyed camaraderie for five years until COVID-19 put a stop to in-person meetings. Although we had to learn new technology to continue, it is easier than ever to attend an art pod on Zoom. You can still show your artwork and view other creations. You can still hear about upcoming events and plan exhibitions. And you don’t have to worry about driving a long distance or coping with bad weather.

Whether you are a board seeking ideas to grow your membership or an individual artist looking for ways to connect socially and find inspiration, art pods may be for you. For more information, email info@wcanh.org.

Tea Service by Annette Mitchell