Why and how to exhibit your art was the topic of this week’s newsletter. Each week my newsletter has an Insight from my studio practice. These insights can be about materials, my art practice, mindset or the business of art.
This week’s Insights from the Studio is an excerpt from one of the Q&A Sessions in my coaching group called the Art Fluency Discussion Group. This group meets a couple of times a month and in this session, we were discussing the ins and outs of beginning to show your art and sell it, starting with some of the reasons we might choose to show our work.
Why Exhibit Your Art?
Beginning to share your art with the world is often about feedback and response, although I see these two things as different. Feedback is best given in a supportive professional environment, for example, individual coaching, an art or coaching group like my Art Fluency Discussion Group. In these settings, there are often clear guidelines for giving feedback, and there is someone with experience facilitating a group and managing the feedback. Response I see as more general and about how people respond to and experience your work and can come from a much wider range of people and situations.
Your journey and experiences may be an inspiration to others. Seeing what you have achieved may encourage others. Sometimes people have to put their creativity and art to one side in the service of family, jobs and other commitments. Your example may be an encouragement to them to keep going when life gets in the way, or it feels difficult to maintain a connection to their art.
The act of putting your art out into the world is likely to help build your confidence in yourself as an artist and may help to push past personal boundaries and limitations.
Let’s bring more art into the world. People have been creating from the earliest times, if we make art then showing it and having it out in the world is a positive thing. Sharing your unique ideas and artistic expression, no one will see the world quite like you or be creative quite like you.
Avenues open to new artists wanting to show their work.
Some areas have Open Studios that are organised by local committees. These are great events for new artists to show their work and can range from local art trails in a small area to regional events. Depending on the level of organisation may involve listing on a website, entry in a magazine and lots of publicity to generate interest and visitors. Open Studios are a great opportunity to show your work to people you already know as well as new visitors. Some Open Studio events take place in public buildings like Church Halls, local galleries, and municipal buildings, so if your studio space is not suitable for visitors there are sometimes other options available. They are also opportunities to sell your work with lots of time to chat with people and get feedback and people’s responses to your art.
Local and national arts organisations and galleries often hold open exhibitions where artists are invited to submit work to be included. These can be great opportunities to show your work. Giving some thought to choosing an event that is appropriate to where you are as an artist is more likely to lead to you being accepted. Work is usually for sale at these events and entry involves payment of a small application fee. Sometimes there are open events planned around the exhibition which provide opportunities for feedback if you are able to attend. It’s worth doing some research into what groups there may be in your area that offer this type of opportunity.
Small Galleries and Cafes
Lots of smaller galleries and cafes are interested in taking work from unknown or experienced amateur artists. Take a look around at those in your area. Note what type of art they are displaying. Does your work fit? Is it a similar type of work? Is the price about right? Showing your work in these kinds of venues is more of a selling opportunity although getting feedback by approaching the gallery or cafe can also be helpful. The best way to approach these types of businesses is to, first of all, check if they have a website with details of how to approach them. If not, then a phone call or email first. Unsolicited approaches by taking work in are often not encouraged.
Small Art Fairs and Art Markets.
It’s worth looking out for smaller art events. These can be reasonably low cost, will often take place over a weekend and can be a great way to get your art in front of people. Once you have identified a possible event do some research first. Go and visit the event if you can before committing. See who else is exhibiting. Again, will your work look comparable with other exhibitors? You can often chat with exhibitors and see how they are finding the event. Are there enough visitors? Is the event well organised? You will need to give consideration to the cost of some kind of exhibition stand if the venue does not provide this. For small fairs, something simple is usually acceptable, like a table with a small set of shelves and table easels. Again, this is an opportunity to sell your work with lots of time to talk to visitors about your art.
This is just a sample of some of the interesting topics covered in the Art Fluency Discussion Group. I hope if you’re considering showing your art it gives you a few ideas and I’d love to hear how you get on. Drop me a comment below.
The Art Fluency Discussion Group is currently open for new people to join. You can find out more about it here.
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