Thursday, 6 March 2014
Got An Exhibition? What To Do Next
The unwritten rules about what to do next are like a closely guarded secret. Those who know it do not necessarily share it with others.
PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE
It is NEVER to early to start telling people about your exhibition. Yes you could argue that they could forget to soon in advance but with todays 'free' social media and smart phones that is nigh on impossible. Create an event and invite all of your friends, family etc. But more importantly your contacts from the industry. They will be grateful for the advance notice, if they are anything like me I am invited to lots of PVs and openings and unless I am creative with my diary can attend only a few. The sooner I/they know the more likely it is that they will try to attend.
In yesterdays blog I said do your homework the same is true about promotion. If you know 10 galleries that are selling work that is similar to yours. For instance abstract paintings then make sure they get an invite.
N.B If that gallery is in Glasgow there is a good chance that they won't make it. But if you have your website and contact details on they may just take a look at your website. Which could lead to something?
When thinking about having a show you MUST budget for advertising. In my experience people do not do this. They think the outlay for the show itself is all they should spend.
There are so many ways to advertise for free on the internet that you should be doing that anyway. Plan to spend at least 10 minutes a day posting in various social networking sites.
Targeted adverts, look at the local art publications for us in the South West it is Evolver. Yes it is pricey but if you have a show planned for the end of the year and you squirrel away £10 a month you will easily be able to afford it. Alternatively, approach the gallery suggest a bigger advert that promotes your show and the gallery and split the costs. I have done this on several occasions, but unless you pay your share I won't do it on your behalf.
Postcards are a great and fairly cheap way of getting your art work under peoples noses. Do your homework but services I have used in the past include Vistaprint, (expensive delivery), Instantprint (£5 delivery on any size order) Overnight Prints (Average Delivery costs). Business cards are also a good idea.
If you are hiring a space then the onus is on you to promote your exhibition. Be creative, be inventive but most importantly be proactive. This is the area which most artists I deal with struggle. Use your friends to help you. Get them to help spread the word, in my experience people are only to happy to share a post or retweet.
I know you think that the work is the most important thing and in some ways it is. But the more important truth is that if people don't know that you are there it doesn't matter how good the work is. The work can be awesome but if no one walks through the gallery door it makes absolutely no difference.
Another truth is that the person that is best qualified to sell your work is you. Try and be at your show and designated times during your exhibition so that people can ask you about it.
Many shows I put on I see the artist at the PV and at collection time and that's it. Get involved, it is up to you. You could arrange to have Q & A or Meet The Artist events.
I would happily support this as long as the artist set the wheels in motion.
A regular occurrence for me is that people want to pay me the minimum hire rate but expect the platinum service.
I suggest you ask yourself the following questions.
1. How good am I at self promotion?
2. How much can I afford to spend?
3. Do I need to just focus on making the work?
4. Would I prefer to just supply promotional images and let the gallery take over promotion?
Depending on what you answered then act accordingly. You know yourself better than anyone if you are an expert at self promotion keep your hard earned cash and do it yourself. If not consider paying someone else to do it for you. If you have a friend you can pay in beer and food even better. You don't know until you ask.
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