Hints 'n' Tips | Visual Arts

Local Exposure

Last month we focused on getting your art or a feature about your work into print in some of the national art magazines. This month we’ll look at local exposure opportunities, and not just magazines.

We artists thrive on that solitary time that it takes to create our art. The word “marketing” is bad enough, but the term “marketing plan” is terrifying. So left-brain. Set aside your fear for a minute, take a deep breath and consider these easy, natural, and fun ways to expose your work to potential buyers:

1. Networking – If you’re an artist trying to make some money, you’re a business owner. And if you have a social bone in your body, you’ll enjoy occasional networking with other business owners. Try a local Chamber of Commerce, or the National Association of Women Business Owners, or the Utah Women’s Alliance for Building Community. At most networking lunches, breakfasts, or business-after-hours events, you’ll have a chance to give your one-minute introduction, enough time to show and tell about a piece of your art. That’s what Cheryl Glenn, a local clay artists, did at the last UWABC meeting. And guys, those two particular women’s organizations are happy to have men attend too.

2. Volunteering – There are many non-profit and charitable organizations that would love your help. And once you are acquainted with decision makers in the organization, ask if they need an illustration for an upcoming fundraiser or conference. Thanks to networking and volunteering, I once had the opportunity to provide an illustration for the Utah Nurse’s Association conference brochure, poster, and sweatshirt.

3. Donations – Of course we all want to sell our work, but there are some rather prestigious opportunities to participate in art auctions for charity; Art and Soup, sponsored by the Community Nursing Association is just one example. If you want to know more about how to participate with those organizations while protecting the value of your work and your relationship with your galleries, plan to attend the Utah Arts Councils workshop on May 22.

4. Strategic alliances – Let’s say you have a friend, a collector, or business associate who wants exposure for their business, too. Propose an art party to which they can invite clients and prospects, and you can provide the art interest. Mary Mark of Mark and Associates has been working with a group of artists to stage this type of event for years. For her, it’s a great way to make people aware of the litigation support services she provides for law firms. For the artists, it’s exposure and an opportunity to sell.

5. Cover art – Catalyst Magazines art director, Polly Mottonen, is “always looking for the next great cover!” She looks for impact, contrast, color, shape – “anything that will make the viewer want to pick us up.” To submit artwork for consideration, email a low-resolution jpg of the work to Polly. If the image is selected, she will contact you to request a higher resolution image. While Catalyst does not pay for cover art, the artist is invited to submit a photo and a few paragraphs about their work or an upcoming show, which is printed under the “On the Cover” headline inside the magazine.

6. Campus Magazines — Scholarly journals and literary magazines are another great avenue for placing your art. While they usually do not pay for your art, their readership can provide you with large new audiences. Check at your local colleges and universities for the journals published there and you can reach both local and national audiences, depending on the publication.

7. Local Magazines — Salt Lake Magazine and Utah Style and Design – Our state’s slickest magazines love local art. Jeremy Pugh at Salt Lake Magazine says he hears about the most talked about, unique, and exciting artists from galleries, but he’s not opposed to hearing directly from artists. He reminds us that his deadlines are several months before publication, so planning ahead is critical. He does not want slides, but would prefer prints on card stock, or digital copies of the art. Salt Lake Magazine’s September issue traditionally includes an “Artists to Watch” feature. Deadline for submitting material is mid-summer. Contact Jeremy at Jeremy@saltlakemagazine.com.

Brad Mee, editor at Utah Style and Design, is also interested in article ideas involving art and artists. His deadlines are also about two months ahead of each issue. It’s best to contact Brad via email – brad@utahstyleanddesign.com – and be sure to include in the subject line “to submit.”

8. Competitions – Be sure to be aware of the many local Call for Entries opportunities where your work will be reproduced. For example, every year the Ogden Arts Festival holds a poster competition, and the selected artwork appears on all of their marketing. For similar opportunities, the Utah Arts Council’s ArtOps, a quarterly publication, is a valuable resource, as is the Artists of Utah Message Board, where Call for Entries are posted as soon as they come in. One of the most recent, posted by SOS Staffing Services, is looking to commission artwork for their 2008 calendars.

From these and other tactics for “exposing” yourself and your art, pick a few that sound like a good fit for your time, your personality, and your product. Then, plug them into your schedule for the coming month. Voila! You have the beginning of a marketing plan!

Categories: Hints 'n' Tips | Visual Arts

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