It seems every city and every little town has an arts organization or association or more than one. Some have groups for specific types of art, such as a watercolor group or a pastel society. Any artist can benefit from being in a group and associating with other artists. Talking with other artists, creating and painting with other artists can be inspiring.
Before joining art groups one ought to find out what the group does, and whether or not it aligns with his/her own purpose and activities. Almost all the art groups have membership fees and some have other expenses. Some have galleries where you can exhibit your work, and some exist mainly for the purpose of raising funds to award art student scholarships. Some groups buy art supplies in bulk and sell them to members at cost. Some groups hold member art shows or bring in visiting artists to share their talent and inspiration.
There are groups for professional working artists where one can share successful actions with like-minded artists and learn about how to break in to particular markets. And there are small town groups that meet mostly for the purpose of discussing people who aren’t at the meeting.
Since almost all of these cost you money, spend some time checking out the groups before you join. Some have a “Mission Statement” and by-laws, which might give you a clue, but maybe not. Talk to some people who are members and ask what they do at meetings and what activities the group does in the community.
If the group runs art classes and shows for children, and that’s what you wish to devote your time to, then it’s a good fit. Perhaps they spend a great deal of time fundraising and procuring grants for their activities. But if you are trying to become a professional artist and actually make a living doing art shows, find a group that has artists who do make a living doing art shows.
About the worst tangle you can get into is joining the wrong group and trying to make the group conform to what you want. You thought you were joining an active art group that provided opportunities and amenities for artists and after a while you realize they are only interested in fundraising for their charitable activities. Or vice versa – you wanted a volunteer activity where you could give back to the community and you join a group of artists who spend meetings painting in the park. You can always quit. But it’s better not to waste your time in the first place.