Article: Marketing Your Art #2
From time-to-time Brevard Art News will feature supplements on specific topics. The first series, thanks to our guest author, is great advice on marketing your art. This is the second in the series. I'll publish the articles weekly... Enjoy. This week's issue of Brevard Art News follows this article...
Getting Up the Guts and Getting Out There by SKC
Once you have your Q&A lists together and you’ve reviewed and studied them, you should be ready to start branching out and creating your business connections.
Some of the first business relationships you will foster are those with the local media and press. Because many of them require a great deal of lead time for news and events listings, you will want to make your press list up-front and have it ready to go. Identify the major and minor players in your area. This may include local arts magazines, major newspapers, community newspapers, university newspapers, local television and radio stations, community bulletin boards, etc. Call each one on your list and ask them who you should address your press releases to, what format they prefer them in (email/fax/snail mail), and how far in advance they need them.
This is a fairly easy task – no intimidation required. The media representatives you call will be happy to provide you the information. The “worst-case scenario” would be that you get a local reporter on the phone who wants to interview you for an article, and well, that’s not bad at all. Once you have gathered the information together, put everything into a simple spreadsheet or list and keep it handy. If you’re computer savvy, assemble a digital contact list in your email software to make emailing your releases and announcements quick and easy.
The next business relationships you’ll nurture are those within the local arts and exhibition community. You will want to consider possible venues for your artwork locally. It is always recommended to check these locations out in person to make sure:
1. They are easy to find.
2. Are open regularly and always at least during their published hours.
3. Have ample parking (big issue if you hold an opening reception).
4. Appear to be in a vibrant area with plenty of area businesses to keep potential patrons nearby.
You may wish to start off small and build your way up by approaching local coffee shops, book stores, libraries, cafes, and hangouts at first. Once you have a list of possible venues you would consider showing at, call each one and ask to speak to the owner or manager about the possibility of hanging your artwork.
This is where you may get your first tinge of butterflies – remember the Q&A list! The owner may ask you to describe your work, what medium it is, what size, and what it looks like. If they are receptive to having artwork in their place of business, ask if there would be a good time to come by and show them your pieces.
Inquiring by phone may seem like the most intimidating step (how do you describe in words what you do?), and in a lot of ways it is. But setting up appointments is half the battle; the next step is to get there on time, look professional, and show a nicely polished portfolio of your work. The people you are meeting with may like your work and they may not. Perhaps your work fits perfectly with their business aesthetic, or perhaps not, but be prepared for either possibility. Rejection is a major part of the job – it doesn’t mean that people don’t like you personally, or even necessarily that they don’t like your work. It may come down to something as simple as a case of bad timing. So whatever you do, don’t take it to heart. Not everyone will love you, but it’s very unlikely that anyone will actually dislike you, either.
Once you have your first venue, you will want to let people know. If you’re fortunate enough, you will have an opening reception. Make sure to announce the event to your media contacts with a well-written press-release, let your friends, family, and artwork admirers know that you’re showing your work and where, and start the process of promotion.
When it comes to exhibiting and promoting your artwork, there are so many little details. Next week we’ll look at the nitty-gritty details of writing a good press release and what to include with it to help create buzz for your work in the local media.
Talk-back questions of the week (click on comment and let’s hear what you do):
How do you personally go about finding an exhibition location? What is most important to you when looking for a venue?