Getting people to come to an art show is almost an art in itself. So where ever you are and whatever your artistic medium, consider this a quick and dirty guide to getting eyes on your work
Our second woodturning show opened to the public at Doongalik Studios on 28th February, 2016. The show was entitled ‘Growth’ featuring my work and that of David McGorrin and Robin Hardy. Go here for pictures and read The Nassau Guardian’s story.
Here are five things you can do to get people in the door:
Social Networking & Social Media
Let me say emphatically that I don’t like Facebook and I’m not on twitter. Luckily, I know people who love Facebook and are on twitter. In my case that someone is K. Smith of The Place for Art and organizer of the Green Earth Festival. I did a short press release, added a photo and he put it on his Facebook page. In less than a week 23 people confirmed they’d attend attend. That’s not much but way more that if I’d used my Facebook page.
Tip: Find that person among your friends with the most Facebook contacts and get them to do a little free marketing.
Use Your WhatsApp
I have less than 70 WhatsApp contacts including friends and family, but of that number, four have bought art from me in the last year, two more are regular customers. I put everyone who might be interested into a WhatsApp group and invited them all.
Did everyone show up? Nope! Four people from the group showed up BUT one person bought two items.
Tip: Expect some people to drop out of your WhatsApp group immediately. For those who remain, a gentle reminder of time and location on the day of the show is a good idea.
Ditch the Technology
Certain age groups
old people with money are not big users of Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp. A typed invitation on high-quality paper with an actual signature is appreciated by the more affluent. With so much electronic stimulation around me, I actually enjoyed writing the invitation letters as a change of pace.
Tip: See my post on who to send the letters to, here.
Don’t be afraid to pay for it
Art newsletters are probably the best thing to happen to the art world in the last two decades. Every cosmopolitan city has an art newsletter and Nassau is no exception. For our show we paid $90 to be in the Bahamian Art & Culture newsletter on the 19th and 26th of February. With over 5,000 subscribers interested in art it’s worth the money for the exposure.
As part of her Doongalik Studios , Pamela Burnside featured ‘Growth’ in the galleries newsletter which goes out to 3,000 people. This combination of art newsletters provide a one-two publicity punch.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to pay reasonable prices for publicity.
Getting on the Air
Few things are more likely to validate an artist in the public’s eye as much as seeing them on T.V Last year we were featured on the Guardian Radio show, ‘Blank Canvas’. This year we were lucky to be interviewed for the ZNS show ‘Arts and Entertainment’. While the show will be aired after our exhibition has closed it will build awareness for next year while showcasing woodturning as an art form.
It doesn’t matter how good your art is if no one sees it and as a budding artist you are less likely to continue working if no one buys it.
Attention is precious and every opportunity or tool you can use to get it for your art work increases your chances of having a successful (Spelt: p-r-o-f-i-t-a-b-l-e) show.