Art Marketing Circle IV: Venues
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OK, on to the article…..
We’re continuing our members-only series outlining our Circles of Art Marketing framework. If you’re a new member, or missed what we covered previously, I recommend you catch up on the series at the following links:
Alright, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at Art Marketing Circle IV - Sales…
You will notice this Circle of Art Marketing, Sales, has a marked difference in flavor.
For your business, this is the circle where everything comes together. Your activities in all of the circles outside of this one, you attempt to pull people ever closer until they finally enter this circle. In other words, in those outer circles, you generate demand. And all of your efforts in the circles inside of this one, you must push to get your work to the point it is worthy and ready to be presented for sale. In other words, in the inner circles, you create supply.
This circle, Sales, is where supply and demand (hopefully) meet.
Sales is where the inner three circles meet the outer three circles. It’s where your product meets your true fans. And, the most important takeaway to remember about this circle is this:
Somebody must be actively selling your art.
So far in this series, we’ve looked at:
This week we’re going to take a look at Venues and why you need to consider showing your art is some kind of venue. Let’s dive in……
Venues are places where your art is shown and (hopefully) sold. They could be physical or online. Here are some examples of venues:
Pop up Shows
In general, you probably need to show your work in some sort of venue, at least in the earlier stages in your career. Social media by itself is rarely enough. A website by itself is rarely enough. Even a newsletter, by itself, is rarely enough. (Though with a lot of dedication and hard work it is possible).
An art gallery, for example, can do wonders for your business. But it is sometimes hard to get directly into an art gallery early on however, so it is worthwhile to consider other venues. For example, though I sometimes dismiss the value of restaurant exhibits, you never know who is going to see your artwork and you can never discount the lifetime value of a single contact.
We recently had artist Kathleen Dunphy on our private members-only webinar discussing all aspects of the art business.
Consider what Kathleen Dunphy told us about how her career finally got off the ground:
[While living in Alaska] I started doing drawings of dogs and hanging them in local vet clinics, and I would get commissions from that. So that's how I sold my first work of art. And I started painting some still lifes from photographs and landscapes from photographs.
And then I had a little show with the Sleepy Dog Cafe in Eagle River, Alaska. And the owner of one of the biggest and best galleries in Alaska saw my work in the cafe, he called me and asked if I would show in her gallery. And it was because she saw my work hanging in one of these sort of local, little, events. When you first start showing work in these small venues, you think, “this is so much work for nothing.” But then, one day, something happens. And that's, that's a lesson to keep in mind: nobody is going to see your art if you don't put it out there.
So sometimes you have to start in places like the Sleepy Dog Cafe or whatever local venue, just to get your art on a wall.
But that is what started my real career art-wise, you know. That is how I got into a gallery and started selling paintings.
- Kathleen Dunphy
On the subject of art galleries - a lot of people dismiss art galleries these days since you can, theoretically, sell directly - however, keep in mind the discussion we had about artists needing a salesperson. If you aren’t going to do it, or don’t want to do it, and you don’t have a spouse who will do it for you, then an art gallery can be an excellent option for having a primary salesperson who is actively focused on outreach and selling your artwork.
And this is one of the huge advantages of art galleries. Presumably, they have salespeople on staff who handle all of the tasks outlined in the salesperson section earlier. If you are asked to show in a particular venue, it’s worth asking what their sales process is and who is responsible for making sales and doing follow up.
Thanks so much for reading! Next week we’ll take a look at where your website fits in the sales process.
See ya then!
PS - What creative venues have you found to show your art work? Let us know in the comments!
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