By Carolyn Edlund
Take a look at some phenomenal ideas that artist Judith HeartSong is successfully using to make her studio a center of attention and help others at the same time, especially local arts and charities. She recently sent out an email newsletter (see it here) which presents fans and their guests with multiple opportunities to learn, shop and enjoy the arts at her new studio.
Here are a few ways you can use this model to generate buzz around your own event:
- Invite your list to see art demonstrations in your studio space. Judith has a wonderful studio with about 800 square feet of space for groups to meet. Staff from Utrecht Art Supply will be demonstrating oil paint sticks and allowing visitors to try them out and make a project. This brings in professional artists and hobbyists, and a busload of seniors that Judith teaches will make this a special trip from their community.
- Partner with the other arts. A poetry reading is scheduled for an October weekend, offering an opportunity for area poets who contributed to an anthology, which also supports a charitable cause – a gulf coast area food bank and clean up efforts for the gulf oil spill. By providing a venue and inviting the poets to bring in their guests, Judith also introduces them to her art. A drum circle is planned for a future performance, which will attract music fans to come as well.
- Promote your galleries. The Maris Elaine Gallery sells Judith’s work, and she promotes them in her newsletter by way of congratulating them on an article in a regional publication.
- Feature speakers. Are you a guild member, or belong to an arts organization? Invite a speaker, (such as the gallery owner in this case who will talk about the business of art) or other hot topic to bring in a group and make your studio a destination which can’t be missed.
- Give Publicity to Your “Partners”. It’s a smart idea to work with others in a strategic alliance which benefits both of your businesses. Double your audience by cross-promoting each other. Judith does that by partnering with the Washington School of Photography, and inviting her list to their event at another location, while also inviting them on field trips to her studio to photograph interiors.
She also suggests that if you are looking to involve others, call a local college and get an a capella group or musicians to join you at your open studio event. Give them exposure at your venue, while making it more festive and inviting – and bringing in their guests, too. Serve light refreshments and get a party started.
Or, partner with another artist who works in another medium and have more to offer your invitees. Combine your email lists and get out the word.
It’s also a smart move to use testimonials, which you will see on the sidebar of Judith’s newsletter. These are great ways to let others know you are professional and give you more credibility.
Don’t worry if you aren’t making sales right out of the gate – as visitors find out about you, they will return or refer others. Ask them to sign your guestbook and get permission to put them on your email list. With all these great events, who wouldn’t want to hear from you?