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Why the Art Group is Important to the Fine Artist

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

And More on 'Thrive Art Group' by St.Louis Artist Jennifer Klemp

It has only been three meetings for the Thrive Art Group, and yet I'm thrilled to have a group of artists to collaborate with on all the 'Art Things'. While there have been only three meet ups, the manifestation of the group really started in March of last year with Samantha Clarke of Mother Art STL.

Samantha and I connected on Instagram- when I saw her 'momming it' with her little baby and her then 4 year old, amongst big messes of bright and colorful paint strewn throughout her South City home. Where was this woman when I had my babies to encourage me to make art at all costs? I wished she was the friend I had when my children were that age. I thought that having children was an impediment to the artist, as that was what I was told by my peers and colleagues. "Most successful artists don't have any children, and they rarely have two of them..." said more than a friend or two. And here was Samantha, telling us about the struggles of motherhood, creating, and selling her art in a new and unique way.

I wanted to encourage this woman to keep going, and break the societal barriers I never thought of hurdling, so we met over coffee (and also breastfeeding) to chat about her Spring Print Sale for Mother Artists in March of last year. (2021)


When you leave art school, the collaborations and the cocoon of the art environment dissolves. Unless you work very actively to keep the connections alive, you find yourself the lone artist and creator making all the things on your own. It's a lonely business, to be certain.

Thrive Art Group was started from Samantha and I. Samantha brought in several friends of hers and we formed a group from her connections, while I worked to keep the group going, invite more friends, and devise agendas for business. Thrive Art Group is made up now of five artists currently which is just enough to get things moving. Samantha is interested in art critique for her work, while my intention is to collaborate on business objectives for the artist such as sales, marketing, strategy, and time management.


I LOVE collaborating about Art and Fine Art. In our last meeting, Samantha brought in a sample of an idea she is developing with 3D elements, which includes a piece of vinyl or plastic as a component. This is the sort of thing that really excites me, so I'm all over how that piece could be developed into Fine Art. In my heart of hearts, I'm an artist that is primarily concerned with process, and longevity of the work, and as such the artists development is priority in my mind.

Paint, Vinyl, Sewn Elements on Paper
Samantha Clarke - Sample Study for a New Series

Finding the proper way of adhering plastic to a 2D piece of paper, as boring as it sounds, thrills me, and all I can think about is if she should use gel medium on gesso, or spray paint vinyl with pre-made adhesive. I can see a tiny drill going into the paper to make holes for the sewn elements.

While Samantha was intent on developing a great tangible art idea, Cara Harjes was tossing around goals for the year, one being the development of courses. There is so much to discuss with this and we all had several thoughts, opinions, and ideas for her- so much so that I wondered if we really moved her to any sort of clarity. It turns out that we did, or at least she was able to siphon out the best parts as she talked it all out. This is why talking to a group about your thoughts and possible goals is so important. In saying things out loud we find out about the feelings and emotions that tie to our concepts and this provides clarity.

Oh my goodness, it's beautiful... Cara Harjes St. Louis Artist Studio Space and the Pink Couch.
Cara Harjes St. Louis Artist- Studio Space

With Caras 10 year background in counseling, we made the assumption that people were probably coming to her for a sort of 'art therapy', and there were many logistics to discuss such as possibly marketing her art courses with a therapists credentials. We settled on mini-videos that she could do which were based on tying into the emotions of her students. Dionna Raedeke who is in the group suggested the 'pink couch' sessions for the mini's which was a home run idea in my opinion. (Cara has a brilliant hot pink couch in her studio!)

Cara also clarified the fact that she did not want to 'teach people how to paint' per se... which I think is huge. This is something that is my jam- as I stated before when I spoke about art process, but for her the work and the students work as a sort of catharsis for emotion is coming to the surface.


The thing that is so interesting to me is each artists development and what drives their unique creative concepts. I seek inspiration in unusual places, and sometimes that is in the art group where others discuss their art.

I'm positive I will be talking about 'Thrive Art Group' much more often, and my best wish is to help others be successful in whatever ways they need as artists. Getting a progressive art group to the forefront in a small city in the Midwest is no easy task, especially after Covid, however, I think this group is important as the landscape of the art community is continually evolving.

You can read more about Thrive Art Group in the mailers I have called, 'Cue the Color' where there are even more nuggets for the Artist or for the Fine Art Connoisseur. It is there that I will be writing about the things that concern artists in our tiny town of St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri.

Scroll down to sign up for 'Cue the Color', and until next time- just keep going.

Jennifer Klemp Artist


Jennifer Klemp Fine Artist St. Louis behind the scenes art blog

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Since receiving my M.F.A. from Fontbonne in 2001, I've been busy creating figurative work via traditional drawing and painting techniques. I love sharing my knowledge of techniques with fellow artists. This blog will show you the process through which my art is created, whether the work be abstract or figurative. You will find details on my current and past pieces along with news regarding my future works and events. 

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