Advertising your exhibition

The success of an exhibition is partly due to the advertising and marketing. Naturally, the purpose is to get as many people to see the exhibition as possible. But in addition that, it’s also worth considering who you want to be in that group. Ideally, you want to be targeting people who are interested in original art, and likely to:

a) buy original art

b) spread the word about work they like (word of mouth can be the most powerful marketing of all)

c) provide you with valuable feedback on the work.

Here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

Develop a mailing list

These are people who know your work and would like to be invited to a preview event.

  • When you mail them the news of your exhibition, ask them to forward the news to others they think will be interested, or bring friends along to the event. People sometimes need to be reminded that they are welcome to do that (and in fact that you actively encourage it – it’s a good way to build your mailing list).
  • Keep track of who has accepted so that you can cater adequately at the preview event, and also so you can;
  • Send a reminder email out 2 days before the event. Include map and parking information in this one, as well as any other last-minute information
  • Expect at least 10% to drop out at the last minute. Stuff happens in people’s lives.

 

Put out a press release about the exhibition and send it to the local press (newspapers magazines and online)

  • Include a photograph of a painting that has great impact. The more attention-grabbing, the better. We included Girls’ Best Friends on the event poster and that resulted in it being used by a number of publications to illustrate their piece about the event.
  • Compile a spreadsheet to track the publication names, contact person and email addresses of all your local media. This will make it easier to get in touch with them for future events.
  • Think about the demographic of the readership of the magazine, particularly in light of the audience you would like to attract. If a publication has a high proportion of readers who are interested in the arts, it is more likely to publish a piece about an art exhibition. Double bonus: better chance of publication, and the opportunity to reach a higher number of the people you want to attract.
  • Be mindful of deadlines. In particular, printed publications often have quite long lead in times for publications. It’s worth finding out what they are. We left it a bit too late for some of ours and missed out completely on getting into a few key publications.

Cambridgeshire Journal, March 2013

 Look out for local ‘what’s on’ websites and e-bulletins

  • Get in touch with them to get a listing in at the right time. For the weekly editions, a couple of weeks run up to the event should be sufficient.

Put up posters in the local vicinity if you are allowed to do so by councils

  • If you can’t get them onto pavements or public spaces, ask a few people who live close to the venue if they would mind having a temporary sign on their gate or fence. This may only work in villages. It certainly worked in ours.

On the exhibition days, make sure the signage is good

  • People will give up and go away if they can’t quickly and easily work out where you are.
  • It is also a good way of attracting serendipitous visitors. People who have a bit of time to spare and see your signs may well want to pop in for a browse.

Social Media

  • Set up a Facebook Event and invite the Facebook friends who are based in the area where your exhibition will be held.
  • Tweet your event when you announce it.
  • Post news on Facebook and Twitter as your plans develop and things get done.
  • Post news about event publicity. The publications get additional exposure so they love it too.

Get creative

  • Partner with local businesses where you can.
  • Think about what public holidays are taking place during your exhibition time and see if you can take advantage of them some way.

exhibition invitations

What other ways have you advertised your event? Please share them in the comments.

The more people get into the habit of buying original art, the more they will buy original art in the future.

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Meet the Artist: Mary Frances Millet

What or who inspired you to start painting?

Vintage Kitchen Tools - by Mary Frances Millet. Watercolour
Vintage Kitchen Tools – by Mary Frances Millet. Watercolour

My mom worked at Mayfair Gallery in Glenville and she asked if I wanted to try art lessons there. I said, sure. At age 8 I was exposed to my first art class and was hooked. I was then placed in Dorothy Fredericks class at the Burnt Owl until I was a teenager.

What mediums do you use for your artwork? – Which is your favourite and why?

Watercolor, textile and paper collage, acrylic. I have also worked in clay.

Formally trained or self-taught?

I graduated from the Professional Institute of Commercial Art in Maryland which is gone now. I also took class for several years from Karen Rosasco, AWS.  I also have degrees in Occupational Therapy and Sociology as backup careers.

What is your greatest frustration about art or the art world? (If you have one)

That we need to be better marketers. Being an artist is wonderful and we should all know how to narrow down our choices of what to do with it. It’s very confusing trying to figure out which way to go. There’s so many opportunities.

Which contemporary artists do you admire?

Charles Reid, Mel Stabin, Jeanne Dobie, Karen Rosasco to name a few. There’s many many more. Old master artists: Hopper, Homer, Matisse.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

Past: When I exhibited at e Wiregrass Museum in Birmingham, AL and was the top bid and top seller at the art auction.  Present: partnering with MVP Healthcare offering art workshops to their employees as a team building and socialization effort. It’s so much fun. I am impressed that they would include art as part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you had one wish (regarding your art), what would it be?

To run worldwide watercolor workshops. I’m working on one right now in Greece.

How would you characterize your style?

Loose, splashy, colorful.

Collage by Mary Frances Millet
Collage by Mary Frances Millet

Do you have a signature painting?

Yes. It’s a watercolor/paper collage of two boats with fisherman talking to each other.

What’s in your calendar for the coming year?

I teach private individuals, groups and corporate art workshops. I’ll be at the Clifton Park Library teaching watercolor to kids in April. I’ll be exhibiting my Uncle Sam statue in April also. It’s a program sponsored by the Troy BID to install 5 ft fiberglass life size statues of Uncle Sam embellished by 20 local artists. Sept brings the workshop in Greece. May brings my first grand baby.

Watercolour and collage by Mary Frances Millet
Watercolour and collage by Mary Frances Millet

If you had one tip share with other artists, what would that be?

Think big. Get a social media coach.i have one and she’s the best. It’s tough to do it all yourself.

New question: how do you keep inspired?  

How do I not?? Inspiration is everywhere! A tree, a window, a shadow, a color, seasons, flowers, people. Im distracted by everything.

How can people find you on social media? (Twitter, facebook, blog address, any other social media?)

Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Pinterest and www.maryfrancesmillet.com. Workin on a blog and placing more things on etsy, eBay and Pinterest. There’s so much to do! So many paintings! 🙂

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Meet the Artist: Cathy Holtom

Artist - Cathy Holtom
Artist – Cathy Holtom

What or who inspired you to start painting?

The first person to encourage me was an inspiring art teacher at school and I’ve painted ever since then.  He’s an amazing artist and is still teaching watercolour to local art groups.

http://www.trevorboult.co.uk/

What mediums do you use for your artwork? – Which is your favourite and why?

I knew you’d ask me that question!  I use anything which will make a mark or colour my paper or canvas.  Watercolour, coloured pencil, ink, graphite, oils and pastel, sometimes mixed together, I love them all.  My favourite is always the one I’m using at the time, each has it’s own characteristics and difficulties.  I have tried to stick to one medium but I find it too limiting, now I just go where the subject or mood takes me.

 Formally trained or self-taught?

I’m a self-taught artist

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

I love simple things, a special light or an interesting shape can really get my creative juices going.  I live in Sicily and find the island, it’s history and culture endlessly inspiring. I don’t think I could ever get bored of sketching and painting here, even after many years I still find fresh ideas and new places to see on my doorstep.

Which contemporary artists do you admire?

There are so many great artists out there, here are a couple I really like:
Vivien Blackburnhttp://www.vivienblackburn.com
Richard Klecociuk http://artkleko.com/

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

I  admit winning third runner up in last year’s UK Coloured Pencil Society(UKCPS) annual open exhibition had me dancing round the kitchen table.

Last of summer pears by Cathy Holtom
Last of summer pears by Cathy Holtom

If you had one wish (regarding your art), what would it be?

To keep on painting everyday, and to always be excited by my art.

How would you characterize your style?

I would say it’s a realistic style inspired by what I see around me while still maintaining a painterly feel.

Do you have a signature painting?

I don’t have one particular painting but because I live in Sicily I think  warm sunlight and  strong shadows appear over & over in my work.

What’s in your calendar for the coming year?

I have a solo exhibition coming up this year in Sicily so I’m working on some new ideas, I also need to get started on my entry for this year’s UKCPS exhibition.

Geranio by Cathy Holtom
Geranio by Cathy Holtom

If you had one tip to share with other artists, what would that be?

Keep practicing, keep learning, your best painting is always the one you haven’t painted yet!

How can people find you on social media?

Website: http://cathyholtom.co.uk/

Blog: http://cathyholtomdustylane.blogspot.it/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CathyHoltomArtist

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Meet the artist: Lisa Le Quelenec

Lisa Le Quelenec
Lisa Le Quelenec

What or who inspired you to start painting?

I don’t really remember a time when I haven’t drawn and painting has been a progression for me from the first childhood drawings. My Nan used to give me a set of Inscribe soft pastels and a pad of Ingres paper every Christmas when I was young and it was gift I would look forward to for weeks. They were much anticipated trips to town. I was also very lucky to have been taught by a very talented watercolourist, Norman Bailey, when I was at secondary school he inspired my love of watercolour.

Coming from Jersey in the Channel Islands the sea has always played a big part in my life. I guess it is natural that it’s influence comes out in my work. It holds endless fascination for me.


What mediums do you use for your artwork? – Which is your favourite and why?

I like to experiment with lots of different mediums and techniques but I mostly concentrate on acrylic and watercolour. I love the freedom of acrylic, how you can paint in thick meaty impasto one minute and then the softest whispers of glaze the next. It’s very forgiving and with the addition of different mediums you can have all the advantages of oil painting without the long waiting times and the smell. In contrast watercolour is much more challenging and intuitive.

My most important tools are my sketchbooks and after evacuating the house of people if it was on fire they are what I would want to save next. Years of sketches, ideas, memories, research and potential new work are contained within the pages and they are something that I wouldn’t want to lose.

Formally trained or self-taught?

I studied an art & design foundation course at Falmouth College of Arts. It was absolutely and without a doubt one of the most exciting things I could have done. I was introduced to so many different media and ways of working. Afterwards I did a degree in Fine Art at Southampton Solent University. Three years of painting in oils culminating in a final project based on shell forms. These were highly textured large scale pieces and quite unlike anything I do now although I continue to paint shells.

Which contemporary artists do you admire?

So many….Kurt Jackson is a favourite.  http://www.kurtjackson.com/ . I love all the texture and mark making of Maggi Hambling’s work http://www.maggihambling.com/  . The light and colour Frederick Cumming captures  http://www.fredcuming.com/  I could look at his work for hours.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

I made the leap from part time painting at weekends and evenings to full time a few years ago and have never looked back. It had always been my long term goal and it is even better than I imagined it would be. Each day there are new discoveries to be made and opportunities to be explored. I love being my own boss and setting my own work schedule – I’ve never been so productive or worked so hard. I know that a lot of people thought I was crazy giving up the security of a full time job at the beginning of a recession but it felt like the right time for me and I don’t regret a minute.

If you had one wish (regarding your art), what would it be?

To gain more time, there is never enough and I am always trying to pack more in to my day. I get impatient wanting to work harder and faster but painting isn’t like that it takes time to percolate and develop. It’s the biggest frustration and the biggest driving force. I work on a few different projects at once so that I can always be working and looking with fresh eyes at the work in front of me. I thrive on variety and find one project’s ideas and direction will kickstart ideas within another.

How would you characterize your style?

Limited palettes, light and tone, glazing and diffused colour. I think I tend to veer toward the minimal whilst still having recogniseable imagery. That said I can lose myself in the detail of pattern and texture in a shell or feather. I aim to paint peaceful meditative work that is restful to look at and explore.

Lisa Le Quelenec - Winter light pastel and charcoal 48x48cm
Lisa Le Quelenec – Winter light pastel and charcoal 48x48cm

Do you have a signature painting?

An ongoing series is what I think of as my ‘big empties’ -big skies and sea, lots of empty atmospheric space. As it continues to develop I can see that I will end up on a very abstract vein where the subject will become solely colour and light. At the moment they are baby steps on an exciting path and I am enjoying every step of the journey.

What’s in your calendar for the coming year?

This is going to be an exciting year. I am particularly looking forward to exhibiting with the group 4ART again at the Hayloft Gallery in Christchurch in May. Then for a week in June I have been invited to demonstrate as part of the ‘Living Craft’ event at the Priory in Christchurch. This is a lovely event where people can come and meet artists and crafts people, ask questions and pick up hints and tips and watch demonstrations.

Work wise this  year I want to spend a chunk of time experimenting and developing a new body of work within printmaking so there will be a period of learning and relearning new skills.

If you had one tip share with other artists, what would that be?

You get out what you put in. The more I work, the more that I want to work and the better buzz I get about the work. You can’t wait around for ‘inspiration’ it comes from knuckling down and getting on with it. It’s never going to be easy. Whilst you might drift into ‘the zone’ every once in a while you will find that by putting in more time you will find the ‘zone’ more and more easily.

Lisa Le Quelenec - Reflecting in the sand 50x50cm
Lisa Le Quelenec – Reflecting in the sand 50x50cm

How can people find you on social media? (Twitter, facebook, blog address, any other social media?)

I confess the only social media that I use is blogger which has been great for connecting with collectors and other artists. I have found that spreading my time around on other sites just takes too much time away from working.

My blog seasidestudiosblog.blogspot.com                   My email seasidestudios@hotmail.com

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Meet the Artist: Laura Moore

Laura Moore
Laura Moore

What mediums do you use for your artwork? – Which is your favourite and why?

Since watercolours found their way into my life a few years ago I have not used any other medium.  Its versatility, fluidity, vitality and mysterious ways are enough to absorb my attention and curiosity.
I find the challenge for a watercolourist is to learn to tame watercolour without extinguishing its energetic, life force qualities.

Which contemporary artists do you admire?

There are many modern day watercolourists who paint with expression, mystery and looseness that I admire.  Far too many for me to mention here.
I do believe that spending too much time focused on just one or two artists leads to the loss of individual creativity and originality.  From a young age I have always had an interest in the art world and I have always been open to all genres of art.  The appreciation of art as a whole broadens the mind and develops thinking and creativity in my view.

What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?

My first local Solo Exhibition last year.  It was quite a daunting prospect putting my artwork out there for the world to view.  Possibly it is confidence that holds a lot of aspiring talented artists back.
My view with all this is to take the risk no matter how scary as “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

If you had one wish (regarding your art), what would it be?

I am really content with the path that watercolour has put me on.  It is not an easy road to go down but I know that putting time, effort and determination into it brings such wonderful rewards.  My one wish would be that my art might inspire others to pick up the watercolour brush to find solace in this wonderful medium like I have. 

How would you characterize your style?

Tricky question as I believe styles evolve.   For me stagnation is probably the worst thing that could happen on an artistic front.  I intend to continue to learn new techniques and to develop my own subject ideas and in doing so, develop my style further.  This will keep my passion and interest alive, the paintings fresh and the skill moving forward.  There will always be an element of impressionism and looseness within my style and too much realism lacks expressiveness and mystery for my taste.

Laura Moore - Thinking of Fish (watercolour)
Laura Moore – Thinking of Fish (watercolour)

Do you have a signature painting?

“Thinking of Fish” is probably the painting that encapsulates me as an artist and me as a person the most.  It symbolizes my great passion for both watercolour and wildlife in an impressionistic, colourful and textural way.  For me inspiration comes from connection or emotional commitment with the subject and this helps me to produce a more individual and expressive painting.

What’s in your calendar for the coming year?

My next event is the Lea Valley Art Society’s Easter Exhibition held over four days at Haileybury College, Hertfordshire, UK.  I will be helping in manning the event as well as exhibiting my artwork.  (Six framed paintings and four unmounted.)  More details can be found on my website.  Once this is over I will be working towards another local solo exhibition later in the year.  I will continue to look for suitable venues to exhibit my style of art throughout the year and beyond.

If you had one tip to share with other artists, what would that be?

My tip for artists is to fully develop their understanding of the application and timing process with watercolour.   It is the gentle fluid manner in which the brushstrokes are laid down onto the pristine paper and then left alone for the pigment to work its magic that determines the final effect achieved.  Mastering this skill brings fresher washes and more confident brush markings that create a more interesting, expressive and individual painting. 

Laura Moore - Papaveri (watercolour)
Laura Moore – Papaveri (watercolour)

How can people find you on social media? 

Website: http://www.lauramoorewatercolourart.com/

Blog: http://lauramoorewatercolourart.blogspot.co.uk/

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Staging an exhibition: Venue

As we go through the process of staging our exhibition, I thought it might be helpful to do a few posts about the process.

Once we’d had the idea to do a joint exhibition, the first thing to consider was venue. My initial approach was to ask other artists in the area for suggestions and then consider the following factors:

  • Location
    • Is it easy to get to?
    • How far will people on my mailing list need to travel to reach it?
    • Is there convenient parking
    • Access via public transport
  • The quality of the space
    • Natural light, if any
    • Wall space and scale
    • Size
    • Flow – is it easy for people to wander round the exhibition
  • Cost
    • How affordable is it?
    • What additional costs are there likely to be which are related to this venue?
  • The quality of the space
    • Are there good hanging facilities
    • Tables
    • Electric lighting
    • Comfort facilities (kitchen and toilets)
  • Manning the exhibition
    • Temperature (is it either too hot or too cold for comfort)
    • Location (if it’s very far away, how easy will that be)
Whittlesford gallery
Whittlesford gallery

There are loads of other things to think about that I’m sure I’ve not added here. In the end, we chose not to go for a gallery space in town. We chose The Whittlesford gallery which is 10 miles out of the centre of Cambridge but it ticks the box on many other features. The building is an old school house which has been used as a gallery for many years on and off. It has lovely high windows and, although the size is modest, it has a lot of charm. There is parking, but we will have to be creative about hanging facilities as it has not been used as a gallery for a little while. It’s close to home so manning it won’t be difficult and it’s cost effective so we can put more resource into marketing. Overall, we also like it because it has a history and doing something like an exhibition is good for the community and the neighbouring business.

And being 10 miles out of town doesn’t seem to have hurt us. We’ve already got almost 100 acceptances for our preview night between the three of us. It’s going to be a great weekend. Thank you, Sue, for the opportunity.

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Writing an Artist’s Statement

Watercolour detail - letting go.
Watercolour detail – letting go.

As one of the steps towards updating my website, I’ve been working on my artist’s statement. Somehow, writing about myself feels quite difficult. I’ve soldiered on, worked my way through it, and in the course of getting my thoughts into a readable form, it struck me that the process is a bit like painting in watercolours:

The more we strive to control, the harder it becomes. It’s only when we simply let go and loosen up, that we start to move towards mastery. So too with writing my artist’s statement. It was only when I stopped stressing about how uncomfortable it felt that I could get some thoughts on paper in a coherent form. I’m sure it will continue to evolve, but for now my artist’s statment feels about right.

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