Saturday, September 13, 2008

10 Tips for Opening An Art Gallery

1. First and foremost, get a website up and running. It is an essential part of business these days. Put an impressive portfolio of your work on your site. Myspace is a great option for free advertising.

2. Make your presence known while you attend craft shows and at other art events. See how other artist run their galleries. Please don't steal the limelight, but do make yourself known.

3. Publish a newsletter. Post it on the neighborhood bulletin boards and in the neighborhood near your gallery showing.

4. Collaborate with fellow artists before you go it alone. Get a glimpse of what having a gallery will be like before you take the leap. Share a gallery with other artists. There are lots of artists who will be happy to share the experience with you.

5. Teaching your craft for a few hours each week either as a volunteer or as a way to make a few extra dollars will get your name out there. Your "students" will be talking about their "teacher." Another natural extension of advertising for your gallery opening. Volunteering will speak volumes about you to the community.

6. Have a professional portfolio made. No one wants to see your lovely work stuck in a binder with glue sticks. Take the time and spend a little money to have a portfolio professionally done. It will pay off and you will be proud to show off your work.

7. Your business cards should reflect your work. So many times I see business cards that don't tell me a thing about someone. You are an artist, be creative. All of your information should be on your business cards, from your name and address to your blog address and your website, and don't forget the phone number. Carry them everywhere. Leave one with the tip the next time you go to a restaurant. Why not.

8. Start a blog. Having a blog is really a good way to advertise your gallery and art. Don't be shy about starting one. Blogs take a little time, but they can be worth the effort to explain what you do in words and are a great way to promote yourself. I know, I'm the queen of "shameless promotion".

9. Don't forget the obvious, your personal network of people who are proud of you and are willing to tell the world how wonderful your art is. These people can be your teachers, pastor, community leaders, fellow artists or family members. Feel free to keep adding to this list.

10. Collect emails as you go so you can let your customers and potential customers know about any new releases or sales. Having the option for your customers to receive emails from you on your website is a great way to get repeat customers. Research indicates that you will need to have seven contacts with potential customers before you will make a sale. If this research is accurate, email is a cost efficient way to make your sales happen. Not doing this is like sweeping money into the trash.

A final note. Consider contacting the local paper regarding a press release about your gallery opening. You've hit the big time!