Join Your Local Arts Consortium: Fathom

In 2019, Nick Hood had finally had enough of people lamenting about the lack of artistic representation in Lancaster. “He got to a point where he just said, I wish people could fathom what could be possible around here,” Pam Whiteley, Executive Director of Fathom, explained. “So that’s where Fathom came from.”

Although COVID-19 slowed their initial start, Fathom Arts Consortium was registered as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. As the board was established, Hood asked Whiteley to officially step in as the Executive Director as they geared up for their first set of meetings in 2021.

Fathom Member 2022 Holiday Party at Double Edge Brewing Co.

Fathom Member 2022 Holiday Party at Double Edge Brewing Co.

One of their primary goals has been to create opportunities for all types of arts and artists in the community, encouraging people to expand their perspectives. “I worked a lot with artists who had disabilities, so I could see where they fell within the arts community, how people viewed them, and perceived their art,” Whiteley said.

Figure drawing in the park at Seeds of Change event at Rising Park.

Figure drawing in the park at Seeds of Change event at Rising Park.

Fathom has several ways they work to introduce creative people to new and interesting outlets, namely through their monthly workshops. “We wanted to bring some professional development for artists,” Whiteley said. However, they’re conscious of what other artistic forums and groups are presenting and they try to avoid overlap or repetitive workshops. Whiteley explained that Fathom is regularly consulting their group to find out where they can bring in new voices. “How are we lifting up the arts as a whole from everybody who’s doing stuff and also bringing something new to it too?”

Hall Pass Gallery, behind O'Huid's Gaelic Pub in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

Hall Pass Gallery, behind O’Huid’s Gaelic Pub in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

Fathom grows from the feedback they receive from their members, which can be seen during their monthly meetings. On the last Monday of every month, the local artists and enthusiasts get together to discuss upcoming events, workshops, opportunities, and more. “It’s really a time for that creative community to come together: share ideas, share artwork, what’s going on in town, what we could use more of,” Whiteley said. “It helps guide me. I take a lot of direction from the members.”

Fathom Arts Consortium's Collagraph Printmaking workshop at Connexion West in Lancaster, Ohio.

Fathom Arts Consortium’s Collagraph Printmaking workshop at Connexion West in Lancaster, Ohio.

During the member meetings, the group has also started to hold formal critiques. “Artists kind of tend to be reclusive, you know, we create in reclusivity,” Whiteley said. “But it’s hard to know if what you’re trying to say is actually being said.” Fathom has a significant number of self-taught artists and members that are looking to hone new skills. The formal critiques provide an opportunity for an artist to present something new during the meeting and receive suggestions, tips, and constructive feedback on their work.

Peg's Pop-Up Gallery at Double Edge Brewing Co. - a Fathom event in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

Peg’s Pop-Up Gallery at Double Edge Brewing Co. – a Fathom event in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

Fathom’s artists then have another opportunity through the group to showcase that progress and how their work has developed with the monthly First Friday Show. Hosted in the Hall Pass Gallery behind O’Huid’s and – when the weather permits – in the O’Huids parking lot, Fathom features artwork from artists in the group each month. Whether it’s focusing on one member or a theme that showcases work from several of the group’s artists, Fathom offers a platform for members to exhibit their work for the community to admire.

While there is an abundance of opportunities Fathom provides to its members, the group isn’t necessarily a closed-off organization. “We don’t want to be this exclusive thing that people have a bunch of hoops to jump through to become a member,” Whiteley said. Fathom encourages people to come to a meeting first to get a feel for the group and what they have to offer.

Artist painting concrete barriers with mural near outdoor dining area in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

Fathom Arts Consortium artist painting concrete barriers with mural near outdoor dining area in Downtown Lancaster, Ohio.

“I always tell people, come to a member meeting, bring somebody that you love if you want to, to help you feel more comfortable and just introduce yourself and just have a conversation, become a part of that,” Whiteley explained that your first visit is free so you can learn more about the other members and group activities.

Fathom recently added their membership details to their website for smoother transactions. There are two membership options you can choose from when joining Fathom.

 

The Enthusiast: $9/month or $99/year
> Access to monthly member meetings after your first visit
> Free access to group critiques and project support
> Free access to demonstrations

The Champion: $12/month or $132/year
Enthusiast benefits PLUS
> First access to exhibit your craft at First Friday Exhibits; annual membership waives entry fees
> Access to member-only exhibits
> Studio fees waived at workshops
> Access code to the Discord Community

For more information on membership, upcoming events, and Fathom’s community involvement, visit their website. Whether you’re looking to expand your skills as an artist, showcase your talents, or simply support your artistic community, Fathom looks forward to helping you grow your potential.

Filed under: Books, Arts & Music, Community, Featured, Homepage Showcase, Life, Meet Your Neighbors, News, People
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By Eleanor Mathers

Eleanor Mathers is a lead contributor to The Lancaster Herald. As a freelance writer with a special interest in the arts, Eleanor contributes stories about the arts and artists. Besides running her blog and services at EleanorTypes.com, they can be found behind bookshelves and at coffee tables around Lancaster.