It has been said that choir is one of the best community onramps because it creates a way for people to appear in ratspace without the events being About ratspace. But this only works if you happen to sing. So, perhaps there should be more such things about more such activities. I have decided to try a fairly low-effort trial balloon of an art meet where:
- we will hang out in my backyard and draw
- I might make cookies or something if I feel like it but no promises
- my four-year-old cohost has agreed to share her colored pencils and crayons
- I can also provide basic printer paper and may or may not have acquired charcoal by then
- I can put random objects from my house out for people to draw if they want
- The table has slats, so I can supply large books to use as drawing backings
- you can bring your own art supplies, but as mentioned above, my cohost is four, so this is kind of an "oil pastels yes, an entire dipdye setup perhaps no" deal
My backyard contains eight chairs and I think one of them might be broken. Only some of them are in the shade of the table umbrella at any given time. Some extra chairs might be collectable from the inside of the house. We also have a hammock and the shade sail may or may not be installed by then. If you are willing to sit on the ground of my extremely weedy garden, there is space for you. If you want a chair, you can come iff demand isn't overwhelming. I don't have a Facebook account, so email me to check chair availability, tell me what kind of dessert you are deathly allergic to, solicit an opinion on an edge case art supply, or find out where Valinor (my house) is.
If this goes well I might keep doing it, get more dedicated supplies for it, etc.
Event will be canceled in case of rain, bad air quality, or unforeseen emergency. Please come only if you are fully vaccinated (my cohost is an exception because she is four). My household possesses rapid test kits and if there is any nervousness about exposures we can set you up with one of those day-of, but we are not requiring masks; that's what being outside is for. If you are also in choir you are welcome to hang around from 3-5:30 should this be convenient for you but no one here will be in Hospitality Mode at that time. It is OK to come late and/or leave early. If my four year old cohost gets particularly antsy and abandons the meet I may find it necessary to send people home or take departures from the meet in order to relieve coparents.
Attendance of the meet wound up being:
I am curious if there are things I could have done to improve turnout, if anyone has ideas.
[Epistemic status: just my gut reactions. I knew I wasn't going to go because I'm moving in two days and so was busy, but also probably wouldn't have gotten up the courage/agency/will to go anyway (maybe 20% chance I would have gone).]
I think the "there are only eight chairs" thing maybe gave a bit of a vibe of exclusivity and/or set expectations low for attendance, which makes it less appealing as a getting-to-know-people event.
I also think a large part of it is just that the first instance of a thing is harder to get buy-in for — with choir there's a very established structure and a core of people who show up, so you really know what you're getting into, whereas with this I was unsure what to expect. I guess I'm not sure if there's an action item here. Maybe more assertive wording?
I notice I also felt weird about the idea of drawing outside. I just like to draw on a nice smooth table, and I don't want bugs on my paper. Obviously I get why you would have the event outside, and besides, I don't even know if this would be a deterrent for anyone else.
Was there an FB event? In my experience it's hard to get people to show up to anything without inviting them on FB or very directly via PM or individual emails.
In the future, maybe we can somehow figure out how to get better visibility to the right people by just creating a LW event, but sadly, at this point in time, I think it's necessary to post the event other places to get the right amount of visibility and turnout.
I don't have a Facebook account. I use my spouse's so I can read things but I don't eve know how to do the rest.
Can't say that's a mistake. But for organizing events in particular, FB is really useful. I would be happy to create an event for things like this in the future and invite people who are nearby if you send me a PM.
This is a great idea.