You may not always be able to run away and join an artist’s colony or enroll in a course at the arts school of your dreams, but there’s always a creative community somewhere out there that can be the resource you need.

These types of communities encourage contribution and collaboration on a grand scale, allowing artists from across the region, the country or the world see how individual art work can form a greater whole—and provoke a public dialogue.

Here are a few places where you can turn to a community for inspiration and artistic collaboration:

Pair Shaped

The method of participating in the platform offered by the Pair Shaped organization consists of a creative dialogue between two or more artists from different disciplines and employs a share-and-response method. One creates a work, another responds to the work with her own creation, another responds to the response, and round and round it goes until its natural conclusion. The series of resulting art pieces is then submitted for review and publication on the Pair Shaped website.

NaNoWriMo

Even if writing a novel isn’t your goal, NaNoWriMo could be a good place to boost your morale and your motivation for completing any writing project. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, has taken place every November since 1999. While trying to squeeze out 50,000 words in 30 days, thousands of writers from around the globe receive frequent and humorous pep talk emails from the organizers, discuss and vent on regional forums, show off daily word counts and even have local writing meetups. The website features only get better and more user-friendly each year, and NaNoWriMo almost manages to turn the lonely act of writing into a furiously-paced team sport.

Brooklyn Sketchbook Project

Sign up and pay $28 to receive your official blank sketchbook, fill up the pages with drawings, photography, writing, etc, and send it in to the Brooklyn Art Library. In the project’s exhibition space in Brooklyn, your sketchbook (which you can connect to an online account with your artist bio) will join a public catalog of over 33,800 other art-filled sketchbooks that have been sent in by artists from 135 countries. You might also have the option to have your sketchbook sent out on a national or world tour. The organization always has other collaborative art projects underway, like the print maker exchange and the pen pal painting exchange. Check the website for details.

Seattle Storefronts

Artists who are Washington residents have a chance to brighten up some of greater Seattle’s empty storefront windows with their artwork. Run by the nonprofit Shunpike, Seattle Storefronts will display an artist’s 2D or 3D artwork for a 4-month period. A $500 stipend is provided.

But you don’t have to be a Washingtonian to get your art out there and start a public discussion. More and more cities are regularly holding calls for submissions for art work that can be installed in an urban or public space. Check with your local arts agency for opportunities, or find calls for submissions on websites like this.