I have always felt that if artists could work together (and a few do) we would be able to accomplish almost anything. So I started looking at some problems we face.
The main problem we deal with is one of exposure. If the public can’t view our work, how can we sell? There are just too few galleries still functioning across the country in this miserable recession. And many artists are too old, tired, or not in good enough health to be able to participate in outdoor arts and craft shows.
I spent about a year coming up with some solutions.
“Who has the space?” I asked myself. The answer became obvious: “Business people, realtors, gift shops, county arts organizations, local museums, etc.” So I decided to send them all an e-mail after getting a list of potential patrons from the web and the yellow pages.
Then I had another thought—my friend Mike, who has a graphic arts degree, might be willing to create a flyer if I give him everything he needed to create it and let him put some of his images in the flyer too. He loved the idea and so it began.
Here is the flyer, with a copy of the text below in case you’d like to use it.
Dear Business Owner: We are a group of local artists looking to exhibit a few of our paintings in your establishment at no cost to you. All of us have been in galleries and other venues locally. If you have any extra wall space you can be surrounded by nature scenes, seascapes, animals, abstracts, graphics, photography, any subject you prefer. We hang our work for 4-6 weeks or longer, your decision, then pick them up at your convenience.
Your are not responsible for theft or damage of the work as stated in a waiver we provide. We contact friends, patrons, newspapers, etc. promoting our work and mention your business place. You receive PR and the possibility of reaching potential customers/clients and we reach an audience.
In this time of recession we all need help to promote each other and this is a win-win program. To see photos, jpegs, and to ask questions, please contact [your email and phone number here].
Every day I took an hour or so to send out about 20 flyers. In all, about 80 flyers were sent. Days and weeks went by. . . and then one day, an arts organization answered. Not only did they want us to put on an exhibit, but they also wanted me to curate future shows! Our first art exhibit lasted 6 weeks and I learned a lot.
We put on 3 more shows and I met some wonderful creative artists and, yes, some not so sweet too. Due to all the extra work involved, there was little time to do my own paintings. I really wished I had a helper, with all the calls coming in from artists who wanted to be part of my group.
Eventually the arts organization moved, and the shows were over. I have to admit, I was a little relieved. You might ask, “Was it all worth it?” The answer is a big YES!
By working together and making an organized effort, we helped MANY artists get exposure in our area.
And the best part is, you can do this same thing in your own area, too, by following the exact steps that I did. Just take my original message for your flyer, and put in your own photos and those of fellow artists.
Remember, be PATIENT. It didn’t happen overnight, but the work DID pay off in the end.
To learn more about Rusty Wahl and her artwork, please visit her online portfolio.