Foreword: If art was considered a sport, Lindsay Whittenberg of Lindsay’s Art Cart would be its varsity head cheerleader. But is art a team sport or an individual one? Over and over, Lindsay has seen that artists work best when they find inspiration from within themselves and from creating in fellowship with others.
SOC: You’re an educator, an artist, and an “artrepreneur.” Let’s talk first about the “art of art” in the company of other artists. In addition to individual workshops, Lindsay’s Art Cart hosts art camps and weekend retreats. You also attend art retreats yourself. Why do you believe in bringing groups of people together to practice art forms and techniques?
LINDSAY: I’ve always been a people person. I thrive when I’m surrounded by others. I think there’s a little something almost magical that occurs when we create with others. Whether it be acting, playing music, etc., when a group of people of any age are willing to be vulnerable enough to try something new (and sometimes fail) in front of others, it brings us together in a truly authentic way, unlike anything else I’ve ever been a part of. There’s nowhere to hide, and out of that vulnerability, you will see utter kindness emerge. Friends encourage one another to take a chance, daughters help mothers learn how to hold a calligraphy pen correctly, children cheer for their friends that tackle a new skill. It’s the missing piece to creating… being in a community of support. This is my goal in every camp, workshop or retreat I host.
SOC: It seems like in every generation, there are great artists who are notoriously loners (Van Gogh) and great artists who notoriously draw strength from community (Warhol’s The Factory). We can probably guess, but what kind of artist are you?
LINDSAY: Very much community-driven. I can’t even help it! I think art school had that effect on me. I so loved being surrounded with like-minded people that could challenge and inspire me at the same time.
SOC: Why is it important for artists to have a community?
LINDSAY: A community will keep you motivated, keep you encouraged when you feel like a failure, and above all, give you a safe space to just be yourself.
SOC: Why is it also important for artists to work alone?
LINDSAY: There are times when working alone is crucial. To focus completely on the craft without distraction. To try and fail without fear of criticism. We all need those times. It can also be cathartic to create alone. To pour your emotions into your work. I believe that making art is a form of meditation. To clearly tune into your own thoughts and emotions and set your intentions, solitude is necessary.
SOC: Talk about why crafting is a wonderful art form.
LINDSAY: Crafting can get a bad rap. I’m always hesitant to use the word myself because it was so frowned upon in school. BUT, here’s the thing. It makes art accessible to everyone. It’s the gateway art project. It’s not pretentious. It doesn’t take years to learn. AND IT’S FUN! I have seen many people start by taking a class of mine that’s very “crafty,” and then once they realize it isn’t scary, attempt a fine art class that’s much more difficult… and they realize that they can do that, too!
SOC: Why are beginning artists and crafters fun to teach?
LINDSAY: Beginning artists and crafters and so fun to teach because you see their confidence change so quickly. Once they realize that they can do something, it’s a game changer. Before long, they are helping others in the class!
SOC: Through Lindsay’s Art Cart, you offer a special experience for families where they can create a piece of artwork together. What’s it like to work with families on an collaborative family painting?
LINDSAY: Watching a family collaborate on an intuitive painting is like watching them take a journey, one that is completely unique to each family. In my experience, the parents/adults are the ones that struggle the most, only because they want it to be perfect. Children tend to be much more exploratory and comfortable with the chaos of trying new mediums and techniques. The challenge is finding that middle ground. Helping the parents let go and embrace the experience instead of focusing too much on the details, while helping them create a piece that is truly meaningful to them and aesthetically pleasing. It is a balancing act for sure.
SOC: When you find a second to create art just for you, what media are your go-tos?
LINDSAY: I am so guilty of not making enough time to create just for me, but when I do, I am drawn to watercolor in my sketchbook. It is a medium I’m still learning, and I like to experiment when I can. I also always have a canvas hanging on the wall in my garage ready to go if and when I find the time to paint with acrylic.
SOC: What’s your vision for Lindsay’s Art Cart in 2022?
LINDSAY: I’m looking forward to growth! The pandemic really halted the forward momentum that Lindsay’s Art Cart had going, and once Omicron is put in its place, it feels like the right time to get things moving full steam ahead again!
Editor’s Note: In our February 2022 issue, we asked our contributors to reflect on the theme “From Me to We.” This story is part of that series.