Open Studios are a popular way to show your latest work to collectors, arts professionals, and the public. They can also be a successful and consistent way to sell your work. Read on to find out how to stage one successfully.
In Part 1 we’ll talk about preparing for the event. In Parts 2 and 3 we’ll go over important details for the day of the event and follow-up activities for when you have cleaned away all those empty champagne magnums!
Part 1 – Before The Event – Planning The Open Studio
Decide what a Successful Open Studio means to you
Understand what you want to achieve from your open studio and then plan accordingly. Success to one artist might mean the sale of works of art, whilst to another it could mean an expanded mailing list or a connection with a gallery or dealer.
Understand your existing Gallery/Dealer Relationships
This is very important. If you have an existing relationship with a gallery or dealer you need to check the fine print of your contract to understand if any commission payments are applicable to sales from your Studio. If so, have the gallery work with you to publicize the event. Make it a win-win as much as you can!
Choose a time that works for your visitors!
A good friend used to have a regular open studio in New York on Sunday afternoons with very few visitors. Then one day it dawned on her that most people in her area were in their Hamptons vacation homes on the weekends. She changed to weekday evenings and suddenly had lots more visitors. Find out what works in your area!
Promote your Open Studio Event
Start planning at least a month in advance and be creative! As a bare minimum you should use the following list:
- Press releases to local or arts related publications
- Announcements in local event listings
- Email announcements to your email list
- Postcard mailings to snail-mail list
- Postcard mailings to local galleries and museums
- Posters in cafes, health practitioners offices, clinics, libraries, etc
- Tell everyone you know
Curate and Hang the Artwork
Curating is an art in its own right! Don’t leave the placement of the art until the last minute – start staging the work at least a week prior to the show. If you feel comfortable, invite trusted friends and arts professionals to look critically at the placement of the work. A well-curated show will have a sense of flow and will give visitors a sense of the whole of your work rather than just a collection of individual parts.
Think about payment Methods
Many people will be happy to write you a check in the event of a purchase while others may prefer to use a credit card. If you are planning to have regular Open Studio events you might want to think about setting up a merchant account so that you can accept credit card payments. There are some very simple and cost effective solutions available, so be sure to do your research before signing up.
Read the next article in this series: Part 2 – “On The Day Of The Event”. Until then… Happy Art Journeys!