We are an online artist community sharing ways to create and sell art. Join us to save big on art supplies or try our easy websites for artists.

Recently I’ve stumbled on two effective strategies for marketing myself as an artist. One is donating art, and the second is doing things for others that they’re not so good at. (Though it may sound rather mercenary to put it that way. . .)

Why donating artwork helps promote my art

It started simply enough. I was contacted by a local charity and asked to give money. Having recently been laid off, I was inclined to say no—but I really wanted to give something.

So I asked if they had a fund-raising event coming up and offered them a painting to raffle off. As it turns out, the painting and I were featured in the newspaper article promoting the event, and my cards were even given out with the raffle tickets!

Even if I had sold that painting and spent the money on publicity, I wouldn’t have gotten nearly the same amount of good will and promotion that I did by donating it!

Since then I’ve continued giving art whenever asked and occasionally have contacted charities and offered artwork. You’ll find that most charities are really appreciative of donations, and helping good causes will make you feel good too.

I’ve learned along the way that unless you are already well-known, the smaller charities are more likely to advertise your work than the larger ones.

When you give, remember that you are giving something far more valuable than their usual cash donation, so don’t be shy about talking to the director of the charity event regarding the best to display your donation (it is in their best interest as well as yours).

Also, keep in mind that not everyone values art. If the charity isn’t able to auction it off at the main event, don’t hesitate to get it back! There’s no need to have your reputation among potential customers tarnished by having them find it tossed on the ‘dollar table’!

And doing favors for others helps too

I’ve had my own art blog at KathysGallery.blogspot.com for a couple of years now, but recently I have also set up a charitable blog to benefit the local school’s athletic department.

It all began when my son wanted to participate in sports and I decided to take photos to mask my complete ignorance at the games. I post a slideshow of the photos at KathysPhotoGallery.blogspot.com and the sports teams earn money whenever someone orders a print or tee shirt.

All of the advertising for that blog is done by the school, on their own website, as well as by handing out cards to both the home and opposing teams’ supporters. It’s very popular as a result and a surprising number of people have followed the link on that site to my own art blog.

A few of my friends who are musicians needed some help as well, so I started a blog for them too, at KathysVideoGallery.blogspot.com.

Videography is not my thing, but a decent live capture of their work is invaluable to them, because it allows people to hear them before paying a cover charge. Visitors to this blog stay for the longest amount of time, and tend to follow the link to my art blog quite often.

I suppose the biggest thing I’ve learned from helping people and donating my artwork is that sometimes nice things do happen to nice people.

Just by helping people whose causes I care about, I’ve managed to increase my own blog’s popularity greatly—and it’s truly a win-win marketing strategy that every artist can take advantage of.

To learn more about Kathleen and her art, please visit her art blog.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

Nowadays, being a successful artist means not only creating great art, but also creating a strong business—and unless you're the next Thomas Kinkade, you will probably need to think of yourself as a typical small business owner.

With that in mind, I’ve researched some of the top websites for advice on small businesses and pulled together 7 helpful art marketing tips for. . . read more

If you're looking for something else. . .
Love the Easel?

Subscribe to our totally free weekly newsletter for artists. Sign up today!

EE Writers
Cassie Rief Niki Hilsabeck Lisa Orgler Carrie Lewis Aletta de Wal Phawnda Moore

If you'd like to write for EmptyEasel, let us know!

We love publishing reader-submitted art tutorials, stories, and even reviews.Submit yours here!
© 2006-2017 EmptyEasel.com About Contact Sitemap Privacy Policy Terms of Use Advertise