One of the founding ideas of ABBA is to help facilitate the formation of local groups guided by a local a ‘Champion’.
The aim is to encourage all those with an interest in botanical art and botany to pursue their passion. The need for local facilitators is based on the feedback from our extensive initial survey in which the desire to have ‘local groups’ was expressed by a majority of our respondents.
I have been asked by ABBA to act as co-ordinator for the local Champions to help them implement this idea. I have been practising botanical art for around 15 years and am still hooked, so I am keen to encourage everyone who is interested to ‘have a go’.
As co-ordinator I hope to facilitate the development of more local activities by providing information to the Champions who can then disseminate this to our members. I will promote the exchange of experiences between groups having different approaches and provide a link with the ABBA Team, thus creating feedback and communication in both directions.
Initially local Champions will be there to support and mentor other members keen to learn more regardless of their experience. This support will vary around the country depending on local members' interests. Activities could be as simple as meeting once a month in small groups in someone’s home to draw, paint or just to chat about the botanical world.
Since our members are geographically dispersed, for those in less accessible regions, the Champions could help members to connect via electronic communication; for example on WhatsApp, Skype or Facetime, to meet up over coffee to chat and exchange ideas. Gatherings of this type are amazingly valuable even across continents. Try one you will be surprised how natural it can be.
The forum is another quick way to communicate and its a great way to start a conversation, ask a question or just let others know what is happening in your part of the world.
Local groups are designed to be self-supporting networks and it is not proposed that the Champions teach but act as facilitators. Members who do teach are welcome to post classes etc on the forum or in "Our Library" but these would be paid for privately.
Ideas for group activities could involve meeting in nature reserves or woodlands with interesting flora to sketch, paint and observe. There could be garden visits for a guided tour or to practise your botanical art with a rare species. Other groups may like to come together to paint the local flora or plan a small exhibition.
Local Champions will organise some events but their role will be to encourage members to start groups or organise outings in their immediate areas. The regions for Champions are quite large so smaller groups throughout the region would be easier for distant members to access.
The ABBA website is our primary communications medium and individuals can take an active part by posting ideas on the forum and advertising their local events. This website is your website so make sure you let me, or your local Champion, know if its not working for you.
Remember ABBA is for every one - every where - every ability.
We really hope that your association with your local Champion and other members will, over time, result in some real friendships and a growing passion for botanical art.