Investigating Venues for Showing Your Art

Caption: ©Jayne Rose, Transfixed. Oil on gessoboard, 16 x 20 inches. Used with permission.

If you have exhibiting your art on your list of goals (as you should), you’re probably overwhelmed.

First, there’s the research into potential venues. As soon as you begin the process (and it is a process), you will uncover venues you never knew existed if you live in a metropolitan area. One leads to another which leads to another…

Which brings up the second phase of overwhelm. Once you have this list of possible spaces, how do you determine which ones might be good choices for you?

What makes a venue attractive for an exhibition of your art? Let’s look at the pluses and minuses of potential venues using the checklists below.

It’s surely too much to ask that one venue might meet all the criteria for being a desirable location. You will have to weigh the positive and negative of each space. What can you live with?

On The Plus Side

The favorable aspects of a particular venue might be that it:

Continue reading…

Fill In The Blanks to Set Your Goals

©Marcie Cohen, Snowy Bank. Used with permission.

It’s a New Year and new start.

Everyone is talking about either setting goals or why you should avoid setting goals or making resolutions at all costs.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I stand firmly in the “goals are good for you” camp. I’ve seen them work for my clients and know they’ve propelled me further than I would have been without them.

So, let’s set some goals!

I’ve adapted the questions from the annual review and The See Plan to help you set goals for the New Year.

Promise not to go crazy with the process. Aim for 3-5 big goals for your year. This list is a starting point.

1. Creativity

Continue reading…

Lessons From The Past Year

©2012 Michelle Paine, Pilgrimage: St. Peter’s. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

It’s hard to keep up with weekly emails about your art business, so I thought I’d point out some things that you might have missed or forgotten about this past year.

These are 12 valuable actions, from 12 different Art Biz Blog posts in 2015, to help you grow your art career while staying sane.

Marketing Your Art

1. Reduce the Boring Factor: Add Variety to Your Marketing Message

Why it’s on the list: Please, for the love of Pete, read this before you send another email.

Your art exhibition, class, workshop, or event has so many facets that there is no reason to send the same emails and social media posts for your promotions. They get a little stale after a while.

I have some ideas for you.

Continue reading…

Wrapping Up the Year with Your Personal Review

©Margaret Dukeman, Reflections of Lilies. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Used with permission.

I thought I could get by without a personal review for one year. Or at least I thought I would skip mine.

Then I thought that you probably don’t need a reminder either. Who will notice if I don’t send? Who has time to do a personal review anyway?

Then I thought again. (There’s been a lot of thinking going on.) It’s a terrible idea to skip the personal review. And it’s a worse idea to let you think it’s okay to skip it.

As an entrepreneur, it’s critical to review actions and to celebrate accomplishments before moving on to the next phase. We’ll never improve our results until we understand where we are and how we got here.

So, it’s time to look back on your year and assess your progress.

This year, try using the elements of The See Plan – the 8 C’s – to structure your questions: creativity, commitment, clarity, community, connection, confidence, completion, and celebration.

Grab a notebook and a pen and get started.

Continue reading…

It’s a Choice, Not a Sacrifice

©2014 Carmen Mariscal, Au fil de l'Eau/ Al filo del agua 1/1. Installation : cut-out photographs (4 black and white and 12 color), mirrors and transparent thread. Photos range from 39.3 x 59 inches to 11.8 x 6.7 cm. With permission by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France BnF. Photographed by Claude Gaspari. Used with permission.

In 2000 I had been working in art museums for 10 years and had a great job as a director of education.

And I was miserable.

I had a choice. I could keep being miserable, or I could do something about it. I chose the latter. The next year I sold my house and donated many of my belongings. Then I packed up a U-Haul and moved to a small garage apartment in Denver.

I started an art-consulting business and was instantly happier.

I had no steady paycheck, no health insurance, and no idea how to run a business. But I was blissfully happy.

I chose happiness over the security of a museum job.

It was rocky in the beginning, but I kept getting requests for help from artists I had known in my museum career and others who found my art-consulting business online. I chose to listen to them.

I could have easily held firm to my original plan, but I made a different choice that has worked out pretty well.

Choice v. Sacrifice

We often think that building an art career requires sacrifice. You might sacrifice:

Continue reading…

Mean People: When Your Soul Has Been Swiped by the Grinch

Lorelei Land Caricature

A hateful email hits your inbox.

A surly comment is left on your blog.

A nasty response is added to one of your Facebook posts.

How Do You Respond to Mean People?

I have plenty of experience with this and confess that I’ve used all of the following suggestions (except perhaps #2) at one point or another.

Your response to malicious words will depend on the level of wickedness.

If there is any question of intent in the language, make sure you’re not misreading their words. It’s easy to misunderstand email, so ask for clarification if there is any doubt.

Try this -> “Hey, Rex, I’m not sure if I’m reading this correctly, so please help. Did you mean to imply that … ?”

Armed with your answer, you can move on to any of these responses.

Continue reading…

23+ People to Be Grateful For

©Kadira Jennings, Mythic Journey III. Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 91.5 centimeters. Used with permission.

1. The janitor who cleans your gallery or apartment lobby.

2. The housekeeper who does good work, so that you can focus on your good work.

3. The gardener and lawn mower who tend to the outside of your space.

4. The tech person who was so patient with you when you thought the world was falling apart.

5. The person at the shipping company who “gets” that your art needs white-glove treatment.

6. The mail carrier who delivers important correspondence and packages.

7. The coffee shop owner who lets you mooch wifi for two hours in exchange for a $5 cuppa joe.

Continue reading…

The Circular Business Plan for Artists

The See Plan

Most business and marketing plans are linear, and most artists are anything but linear.

What if, instead of having a traditional business plan, you nurtured a holistic approach to your art career?

That’s what I want to help you do with The See Plan, a new tool to help you see your art career in total. I want you to see that a successful business is not all about making and marketing (the M’s).

The See Plan: 8 C’s for Getting Your Art Seen is circular rather than linear. You need all of the C’s for a healthy business and balanced life, however you define these.

Let me tell you about the 8 C’s.

1. Creativity

Everything begins with the art. Without the art, you are not an artist.

Continue reading…

Now Seems About Right

©Lori Sokoluk, Paint Draw 6. Mixed media on paper, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Here’s a question that my clients know is coming: By when?

By when will you send that email?

By when will you make that call?

By when will you send your application?

When I ask clients for a deadline on a task – like sending an email or making a phone call – they are most likely to say, “I’ll do that by the end of next week.”

Fair enough. They’re allowed to set their own deadlines, and it’s my job to push them a little because I know they are capable of more.

My response, when appropriate, is: “Why don’t you do it as soon as we get off of this call? Now seems like the right time to take care of it.”

Gulp. I can “hear” the hesitation in the brief moment of silence.

Hmmm. It seemed like such a good idea until I suggested immediate action.

Continue reading…

Empower Yourself By Taking 100% Responsibility

©Jean Reece Wilkey, Mango on Silver Creamer. Oil on panel, 14 x 11 inches. Used with permission.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.

Jack Canfield

It was in Jack Canfield’s seminal book, The Success Principles, where I first read about the necessity of taking 100% responsibility for your life. In fact, it’s no lower on the list than Principle #1 in the book of 64 principles.

He’s pretty clear. It’s not 100% responsibility for this or that. It’s 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING. This means:

  • You have to give up all of your excuses.
  • You have to give up blaming.
  • You have to give up complaining.

Here’s the thing about taking 100% responsibility: It puts you in charge.

I understand that this amount of control can be daunting for a new business owner, but wouldn’t you rather have control than to cede it to others?

Embrace this power!

If you’re frustrated by your results, or lack thereof, don’t blame the economy, the online platform, the weather, other artists/people, or the venue.

Instead, consider the things you can control. This is taking responsibility and being a savvy businessperson and more enlightened human being.

Continue reading…