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Open sesame: an open studio may say "open sesame" to your art business.

OPENING UP STUDIO SPACE to the public may be one of the best ways artists can begin or expand their careers. Participating in an event like this enables new artists to get feedback on their work, begin to learn how to price and sell their work, develop a client base, and test the waters of "art as business." If they price their work correctly and use good marketing techniques, both new and seasoned artists can potentially increase their incomes by hosting one or two open studios a year. But, as an artist, how can you decide which piece or pieces to show, and how important is presentation? Here are some simple tips to help you get the most from your open studio event.

Group Show or Solo Exhibition?

Most people visit open studios featuring multiple artists. If this is your first event and you lack a following or a strong mailing list, consider partnering with other artists. If you have hosted an open studio event in the past and have had poor attendance, this option may also be the best way to increase your sales. You can't sell your art unless people are there to buy it.

In other words, multiple artists at one site attract more customers. To build your clientele, you may want to host two to three other artists at your location or join one or more other artists at their studios.

Decide What to Show

Exhibit only your best work. Artists often make the mistake of showing everything that they have ever created. Now is the time to call on your editing skills and look objectively at your work. Your presentation should "hang" well together, no matter the medium. If your earlier work is not up to the quality of your current work, then don't show it. Show only your best work. You can include sketches and studies, but they must represent work you would be proud to see on someone's wall.

Display Your Work

From the moment your guests walk into your studio, you want to convey that you are a professional artist. How you display and price your art and how you present yourself are all keys to increasing sales. To create the gallery experience, your space should look as much like a gallery as possible. You don't need a pristine studio space because people love to see how an artist works. Leftover paint on walls and easels and clay residue on wheels and counters are all signs of energetic creativity. The intention is to clean up your space as much as feasible and to effectively display your work.

Many creative, inexpensive, yet professional-looking ways--from tables to easels and more--are available for displaying your work. You should also clearly label your artwork with titles and provide readily available price lists.

Put a Value on Your Art

Establishing the correct price for your art may be the most important step in creating a successful open studio. Many artists have emotional attachments to their work. For some, it is more of a craft; for others, it is distinctly personal. Whichever description fits you, when it comes to pricing, the more you remove yourself from your art, the better off you will be. Once again, it's time to take an objective look at your art.

The biggest mistake artists make at open studio events is inappropriate pricing. Sometimes, artists price their work too high. Surprisingly, they sometimes price it too low.

Successful open studio artists research the pricing of their peers in their general geographic location. "Peers" include not only those artists using the same medium and similar subject matter, but also those with the same level of experience as you. Good pricing should also be consistent pricing.

Marketing Basics

Many open studio organizations supply maps to the artists' studios. You will most likely get visitors from this source. However, to truly succeed at this event, you must do additional marketing. Use a combination of printed postcards, emails and social media. Postcards are still excellent advertisements of your event, and you can leave them at various locations, such as your neighborhood coffee shop, hair salon or barber, bank, or boutique. Always ask for permission before leaving postcards. You can use emails, newsletters and social media to promote your event. The extra effort that you put into marketing will typically produce stronger sales.

Everyone who comes to your event is a potential customer, including other artists, relatives, friends and neighbors.

Be certain to respect and interact with each guest if possible. Tell the story of your creation, whether it's simply how you made it or, more deeply, why you made it.

Open studios provide an experience that is special and different from purchasing art in a gallery because it enables the public to interact directly with the artist. The experience of having direct access to an artist and the artist's work is not an everyday occurrence, and many people find it exciting. From the artist's viewpoint, this proximity to a patron provides an important opportunity, as well. This interaction is your chance both to educate the client about your work and to develop a connection with the client; this connection can often lead to future sales.

Most important, enjoy yourself at open studios. Create your art, celebrate your art and share your art!
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Comment:Open sesame: an open studio may say "open sesame" to your art business.
Author:Cootsona, Melinda
Publication:Art Business News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2014
Words:885
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