How to Create Successful Art Events
by Carolyn Edlund
An experienced gallerist and expert shares smart ideas on how to plan your own successful art events.
At one time in my multi-faceted art career, I was hired to organize art events in New York City. The venues ranged from such diverse spaces as corporations and cultural centers to night clubs, hotels, galleries and artist's studios. I was continuously challenged to provide innovative ideas. The events ranged from Open Studio events with 50 guests to large televised galas with more than 1,000 in attendance.
At Art Expo New York, I hired costumed stilt walkers to stroll through the large crowds and distribute copies of Manhattan Arts International magazine. At a Healing Power of Art event, I invited Tai Chi performers and massage therapists to give guests the royal treatment. At the group exhibition called "The Montmarte Gala" artists wore attire from "La Belle Époque" period, we invited dignitaries from the French Embassy, we served French pastry and champagne, and gave away bottles of Chanel perfume.
I learned how to create a theme and carry it through. I also learned you can take your art event from ordinary to extraordinary on any budget. You are limited only by your imagination, networking abilities, and attention to details.
Focus on The Art
- Choose the venue that suits the scale of your event. You don't need to limit your exhibition to galleries and studios. Seek alternative venues such as hotel party rooms, dance studios and restaurants.
- Select only your best art for display that reflects an interesting theme with an event title to match.
- Install excellent lighting to show off your art in the best possible manner.
- Carry out your theme with a matching ambiance, color and design scheme – from the invitations and signage to the napkins and musical accompaniment.
Be A Gracious Host
My motto is: Treat your guests like royalty and you'll gain their loyalty.
- Arrange a private VIP Preview party and invite dignitaries, top collectors and the press. This can take place a day or hour before the main event.
- Smile, circulate, and engage people in conversation about your art and artistic process.
- Wear something that you'll feel comfortable with and that will help you stand out.
- Present a brief talk to welcome your guests, thank them for coming, and explain your art.
- If you are nervous and have trouble remembering names, consider using name tags.
Save Money and Get Funding
- Invite local restaurants to donate food in exchange for providing recognition on your invitation, press releases and social media posts.
- Approach the public relations departments of corporations and request "out of pocket" expenses in exchange for listing them as sponsors.
- Ask a local printer to print your invitations and programs at their cost in exchange for giving them credit on the printed materials.
Be Prepared for Sales
- Display at least one work of art with a red dot (sold sign).
- Ask gregarious friends and associates to help you with art sales and distribution of promotional materials.
- Set a sales goal for the event.
- Offer low, medium and high priced art work to increase options.
- Download an app to your iphone or tablet that accepts credit card payments.
- Display prices prominently next to your art.
- Post and distribute several copies of the price list.
- Have packaging materials, sales receipts, and order forms ready for purchases.
Last but not least, give every guest a gift. This can be as simple as a small bag with your brochure and business card, miniature signed and matted print, or calendar with your art reproduced on it. Enclose a special coupon good for any purchase they make in the near future.
I wish you many successful and prosperous events!
Renée Phillips is founder/director of Manhattan Arts International, which promotes artistic excellence through curated art programs and online exhibitions. Known as The Artrepreneur Coach, she helps artists attain their creative, career and financial goals through consultations, coaching, and art-business articles and e-books.
Photo Credit: KeithMasonPhotography (a.k.a. Scooter.john) via Compfight cc
This article is courtesy of Carolyn Edlund
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: https://www.artsyshark.com/build-your-art-business/