Thursday, August 31, 2006
Flowers with Fruit
acrylic on panel
Preparing For a Show Opening
An artist asked me for advice on preparing for an opening. It would take a long time to cover that topic thouroughly, but here are a few important tasks.
Send a good press release about four weeks before the event and then again about ten days before the event. These should go to every style magazine, local weekly paper, radio station, and daily newspaper, along with any TV stations in your area.
You will need to attach a picture of one of your paintings, and another image of you working in your studio or on location. You should add info about where the show is, gallery, art center or museum, along with their PR info and a link to their web site. Include anything pertaining to the theme, along with anything related to worthy causes if they are related in any way. You should have a brief one paragraph bio about your work process. If it is a show about plein air painting, send a brief invitation to the press persons to come out and join you in the great outdoors.
If you have a web site be sure to put the show information on your home page, with an address for the place you are showing.
www.evite.com is a great way to invite your mailing list of personal and business associates and clients. They should be invited about two weeks before the event.
When your show opens, You should have plenty of business cards and promotional materials to give out. You should also carry a small notebook and pen in hand, to write down information about people you talk with. Often they will give you contact information in person more willingly than signing a guest book. Be sure there is a guest book which is in a prominent location. It should have instructions for including email addresses and zip codes.
Be sure to wear business casual and look as well groomed as possible. Remember that you are dealing with a lot of business people who have purchasing income. They will not be impressed by sloppy, unkempt artsy styles. Do not drink much alcohol. You want to be very alert and personable to possible patrons. Circulate constantly and do not get cornered by friends. I rarely invite personal friends or family to openings for that reason. I am interested in clients and this is about the business of art. Unless they are there to introduce new business contacts, leave them at home.
Don’t forget other markets for the exhibit. If the show is about gardens, send invitations to nurseries. It it is about marshes and wetlands, send invitations to trail,or river enthusiasts. Try to reach a broad range of potential clients who might have interests in your work, not just fine art collectors.
The most important thing to do is smile, be open and friendly and listen more than you talk.