As I'm getting ready for my art shows coming up, I'm doing my best to help promote both. In both cases I'm surprised by the number of artists that aren't getting involved - not just by not promoting the show, but not even submitting images of the work they're bringing. I know how much time and energy I'm putting into getting work ready for the shows, so I know I want people to be there. Lots of people!
I know that not everyone has the time or personality to actively promote, but if you're going to show work at an art show there are some basic things you need to do or have, besides getting your work ready, in order to make the show successful.
1) Have at least one good picture that's representative of the work you're going to bring. Even if you're not actively promoting the show, there will be someone that does - whether it's the owner or manager of the venue, the show organizer, or another artist - and they want to draw in as many people as possible by showing tantalizing images of what will be available. Even without a website, you can create a Flickr account for free and upload images there so they're easily accessible.
2) Have a place people can see your work online. Whether you have a blog, an Etsy store, a Facebook fan page, or a Flickr account, you want someplace on the web people can see your work, not only to browse and shop, but to establish your credibility as an artist. You create trust with shoppers by being available to past and future customers online before and after the show. The more credible the individual artists, the more traffic the show will receive. Plus, by not having an online presence you cut yourself off from the momentum, exposure, and after show sales that an art show generates.
3) Make yourself available to distribute art show advertisements. You don't have to hand out post cards on a busy street corner (but what a great idea!), but if you're local, attach them to community events boards that you know about in church, or a coffee shop. Stick them in waiting rooms in doctor offices or car mechanics. Ask stores if you can post them inside restroom stalls! Get the word out! If you aren't local, post it in a blog, on your website, or even just on your Flickr site. Want a marketing tip? Attach a promotional coupon for a free item with purchase or a percentage off a single item from you if they show you the coupon at the art show!
4) Help figure out where else to promote. This is sort of related to the last note, but it's bigger. More than just a flier, you can create or link up to an Etsy Local event page, create a Google + event page, send press releases to newspapers, post on related Facebook pages, or online community forums. Example: for the Art Charm Auction I'm part of, one of the other artists realized it would be a good idea to promote the auction on the Facebook pages of the local hospitals our charity supports. Chances are there are lots of places to announce the show and every idea from every person counts!
5) Tell everyone you know. For some people this is the easiest part, for others this may be the scariest. But, you know people. Whether it's the first person that ever bought art from you, your family, best friends, or coworkers, chances are that - if nothing else - people are going to want interesting things to do with their weekend. They are also going to want to spend some of their holiday budget locally. You aren't asking for a personal favor. You're making sure they have valuable information! Plus, if it makes you more comfortable, you can phrase it as "come see all of these amazing artists (and I'll be there, too)." But, people won't know they should come if you don't tell them.
So, if you're in an art show this holiday season, you have my very best wishes for a great show! Just remember, it doesn't happen magically, or by the effort of others, or just by bringing pretty things. For a great show, you need to get your hands dirty and help get the information out there in as many places as possible! Now get out there and make it happen!
Are there any other basics I forgot to mention? Let me know!
Thanks for stopping by!