Updated: Jun 22, 2021
I'm going to be here in Richmond for at least 2 months. And while the pandemic is still in full force, I still want to find ways to connect with people.
Making friends, meeting artists and learning as much about this new community is going to be important for me. As an artist and sometimes introvert, I enjoy my alone time. But if COVID taught me anything it's that isolation is bad, bad, bad for me.
I landed in Richmond on March 21 and there are 4 things I did within the first few days to start to build connections:
I checked out the local MeetUps and found a few groups that seemed interesting and active. For me, I wanted to be active and shake off some of that extra weight that 2020 gifted me. I found the Central Virginia Trailblazers and signed up for an upcoming hike around the James River.
I searched online for any art activities that were coming up; shows, classes, etc. An art community called Artworks (in Manchester, the warehouse district of Richmond) was having a socially distanced opening that first weekend.
I turned on Bumble BFF. Yep, the dating site has a side for women to meet other women and form friendships. (Brilliant!) Within days, I found someone willing to check out the art opening with me that weekend. And a few weeks later, we enlisted 4 other women to join us at the driving range.
I started to search Instagram for relevant hashtags for folks that I wanted to connect with; #rvamodels, #richmondphotographer #rvaartist, etc. I reached out to anyone that was active and seemed open to collaboration and sent them a DM. I'm getting at least 1 in 3 return my message and already have one model that wants to work together.
I'm amazed at how great these steps worked for me. Beginning to build connections right away and having a few things to look forward to is giving me such relief and excitement. It's a bit of work, but it's falling into place and that questioning voice in my head (was this the right neighborhood, will people be willing to meet, etc., etc., etc.,) is quieting back down.