Art Attack – The art of marketing art
Eureka Springs is a noted arts destination, chock full of talented, creative people; but while many in the community call themselves artists, in reality only a handful make a living through art alone. Most supplement income with either full or part-time jobs to feed themselves and their artistic passions.
Marketing is a word that makes most artists cringe. We are so much more content working in the studio in blissful denial rather than tackling the realities of selling one’s self and one’s work.
Last year a small group of artists committed to get together once a week to learn the do’s and don’t’s of promoting one’s art. The 13-week “Artist in Situ” workshop, created and facilitated by Cné Breaux, covered the gamut of art marketing from gallery representation to web design to PR through social media and the press.
John Willer, Carol Saari, Drew Gentle, Charles Pearce and I diligently completed the workshop, which culminated with three overly ambitious group shows at The Space, Willow Spring Gallery and The Box. It was a lively 13 weeks and I think everyone gained valuable insight into the amount of work outside the studio it takes to become a successful artist in this town.
Last week I was invited by the Eureka Springs School of the Arts to participate in a panel discussion on “art marketing.” ESSA executive director Peggy Kjelgaard facilitated and was joined by fellow artists Zeek Taylor, Carol Dickie and Wendi Le Fey. For two hours we discussed and answered questions from a group of about 20 artists eager to learn how to get ahead in this volatile, recession-affected art scene. Again, we addressed everything from how to write a simple press release to the best way to approach a gallery.
For me personally, the morning session was a practice-what-you-preach moment – the realization that talk is truly cheap and that having all the marketing tools and skills under one’s belt are worthless if one does not get off his or her lazy, procrastinating artist ass and get moving on them.
This weekend is ESSA’s fall art show at the Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center. It’s a chance to go out and support our local artists. Not quite on par with White Street’s social level, it’s still a lot of fun, with some really good work on display.
Despite no announcement in either paper, Charles Pearce had a great turnout for the opening of his one-man show at the MainStage Gallery last Saturday. (Did someone fall asleep during “Press Release 101” Charles?) For anyone who missed this beautiful show, it can be seen Saturday and Sundays from 10 – 5 until Dec. 22.
And while in the neighborhood, definitely check out John Willer’s new work in the Grand Central Hotel.