by Luiza Brenner
VANCOUVER – It was during a wine-filled dinner with friends, in the summer of 2015, that Thrive Art Studio was born. Rather than a premeditated idea or thought-through plan, the endeavour came about almost like a (very fortuitous) accident. Thrive founder Jamie Smith used to gather monthly with a group of girlfriends to talk about the perks and hardships of being a female artist in this day and age. But, six months into it, the news spread.
“I started getting these emails that said ‘What’s this group you run? Tell me about this! I’m looking for something!’ To me, it felt really simple. Of course, we bring people together and we talk, but I didn’t realize what we were doing — we were creating community,” Smith remembers.
In a world where human connections are becoming more rare, this sense of community is essential.
“One of the main things is that [being an artist] is really lonely,” Tara Galuska, Thrive member and co-founder, shares. “It is great if you have a family or friends who are supportive – you almost won the lottery! But, then, they will give you advice that usually just don’t apply in the art world.”
Almost two and a half years later, the tribe grew significantly. Thrive is now a community of over 160 cis and trans women, and those who are non-binary, gender-fluid, and femme-identified are welcome, too. What started as informal chats became a structured business, with a range of different resources. Thrive Mastermind is the heart of it. Organized in groups of 10 and led by an OG member, members meet monthly (in person for Vancouver-based ladies, and online for international ones) and provide each other with support, accountability, and motivation. Thrive Talks is a series of 10-minute talks where members share their stories; Thrive Art School teaches all the things you should (but don’t) learn in art school. Lastly, there’s the Thrive Network, an online platform used to ask questions, share resources, and, more importantly, connect.
“What I love about it is that it brings together, in real time, women that are trying to reach their goals, learning lessons, and sharing that knowledge,” says Smith.
After struggling to find a new HQ, Thrive has officially found their home: a co-working space in downtown Vancouver. To celebrate this new phase, Thrive will throw a welcome bash on January 25. All are welcome — men included.
Thrive Art Studio is located at 535 Thurlow Street.Art, Thrive Studio