How to plan for a successful art show and opening reception.

My recent opening for Velatura was on Tuesday, April 4th at SUNY Empire State College in East Syracuse, NY, and to my delight, a lot of acquaintances, friends, and family showed up and enjoyed my art.

[A lot of photos were taken by my artist-friend, Karen who wrote a great post about this exhibit! To read her post click here!]

Yet, I believe that after an art opening it is good that every artist (give yourself a couple of days!) examines what factors contributed to the opening's success and what things could have been done differently to make it better. So....

What contributed to my art exhibit's good attendance?

1) Good planning, which included answering these 5 questions:

  • Where are you going to show our art?
  • When are you going to show your exhibit, and when are you having a reception for it?
  • What art are you exhibiting? Is it a series or a retrospective of your work? Is it a solo show or a group show?
  • Who are you hoping to reach out to with your art? Who is your target audience besides family and friends? I would recommend inviting art collectors, past clients, and journalists.
  • Why are you exhibiting your art? Is it for sharing you passion with the world or for sharing your point of view on a social issue? Is it free and open to the public?
 Selected paintings for Velatura: Creating Trees and places with Subtle Layers of Purples, Greens, and Blues.

Selected paintings for Velatura: Creating Trees and places with Subtle Layers of Purples, Greens, and Blues.

2) Writing an artist statement specifically for my upcoming exhibition. For tips on how to write your artist statement read my blog post here.

VelaturaMrizzo.jpeg

3) Writing a press release which must be sent out to local news contacts at least 2 weeks before the reception. Check out this page on how to write an effective PR.

4) Designing and printing a postcard, or an invitation, to send out to your target audience, friends and family, a week before the opening. Plus, it's important to share the same visual design on social media to keep your brand consistent.

5) Hanging-up the art a couple of days before the opening. Make sure to ask for help from a friend or a partner. Things will move much faster!

6) At the reception make sure to bring:

  • refreshments,
  • business cards,
  • and fine art prints of your work to sell, if it relates with your type of art.
  • Also, don't forget to bring your phone or camera. Make sure to take a lot of pictures or ask a friend to document the night. These photos can be later used for promotional purposes!

Yet, there are three things that, if I could go back in time, I would have done differently.

1) I didn't give an artist talk, and that was a mistake because every time I explain my process, I share my passion with the people who enjoy my art or want to learn more. So, the learned lesson is: give an artist's talk every time you have an art show. It will give people an opportunity to further connect with you and your work.

2) I didn't have a e-mail sign-up sheet to collect emails for my arts newsletter, which is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to inform my fan base about upcoming events, promotions and so forth.

3) In addition, another technique I used in the past to draw a bigger crowd and make some money was to have a raffle of my work, I would either give away a framed print or an original painting and sell tickets from $2 to $5 depending on the value of my work.

 Maria Rizzo gives an artist talk for her first group art show at The RedHouse Arts Center in 2010.

Maria Rizzo gives an artist talk for her first group art show at The RedHouse Arts Center in 2010.

So yes, I wish I taught of that, too!

I'll make sure to read this blog post again before planning my next art show!!

Maria