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Jams: If you can’t find one, host one!

Have you checked out our event page lately? We have a lot going on! Besides teaching at the MAX Convention in St Louis this April, I’ve just posted THREE upcoming jams for March and April! I LOVE jamming and try to host a jam every month in my home. I have hosted 51 jams since I started opening up my home to jamming in 2015! Covid was the only thing that forced me to stop for a while, with everyone working from home in our house!! Now I have one day a week when I can host jams and that’s Tuesday, so for the time being that’s when my jams will be! 😉 HOWEVER, I’ve decided that I couldn’t decide this time and in March I’ll be hosting TWO jams. One for balloons, and another 1 week later for face paint! In April I’ll be hosting a GEM jam where we’ll spend some time making bling clusters!

But there aren’t any jams in my area!

I hear from a lot of artist lamenting that there are no jams in their area. And to this I say, “then make one!” Hosting a jam is not hard. You really just need a time and a place, and a way to get the word out! If you prefer to start small, start with just having one creative friend over to work on projects with. Don’t want to host in your home? Check out your local community rooms. Most libraries have rooms you can book. Many local restaurants and even grocery stores have community rooms! Just be sure to get approval to use glitter or bring your own vacuum!

What do you DO at a jam?

You can make a jam as focused or loose as you like. I’ve been to jams where everyone works on the same things together. I like to keep mine super casual. While I may pick a general theme like face paint, balloons, gems or henna, they are always open to whatever people want to work on…I don’t ever want a twister to feel like they can’t come to a paint jam, or vice versa! Most of the fun is just in hanging out with fellow entertainers and eating pot luck, am I right?! Sometimes as artists in this field, we just need a place to go connect with like minds and practice something we don’t make time to practice when we’re at home.

I have incorporated some other fun topics into jams. One time I did a belly painting jam and invited pregnant moms to be painted which was SO fun! A couple times I’ve invited people to bring their gear and supplies they don’t want anymore and set up a “garage sale” table where we could buy stuff from each other. Another time I did a “photo jam” where I set up a photo backdrop with lighting in the garage and invited some kids over to be painted. We were able to get some nice photos for our websites, menus, etc!

What about the food?

Feeding people doesn’t have to be hard either, but it does help if you jam for a long time! (The time FLIES way too fast at my 6 hour jams!) For my jams I just have everyone bring some sort of food item to share and we do pot luck, which is always fun and easy. I used to just pick up a couple Papa Murphy’s take-n-bake pizzas for my jams, but then ours closed over Covid. Boo! But pot luck is always good. If you host your jam at a local restaurant’s party room or grocery store, people can grab their own food there too which the venue always appreciates! If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with predictable good weather, you can even do an outdoor picnic jam at a local park!

Here’s a photo from my paint jam earlier this week! I may have been painting faces for 27 years, but I LOVE that I learn something new EVERY time I hang out with my artist friends. One of my favorite sayings is, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room!” We ALL have so much to learn from each other, no matter how long we’ve been painting. If you live within driving distance of Minneapolis/St.Paul MN, join us sometime!! If you don’t, I hope you can either find a jam in your area or host your own!!! I decided when I started hosting these, that even if nobody showed up, I would still just utilize the time to work on whatever I needed to practice. If one person showed up, I had a friend to practice and be creative with! It’s really a win-win!

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