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Archive for the ‘Articles of Interest’ Category

You don’t have to do a lot of high-tech Internet marketing to sell your art.

One of my readers’ favorite stories in I’d Rather Be in the Studio! is the recount of how Karen Bubb was able to travel to China by selling shares of her trip. She not only made enough money to cover her costs, she also engaged a lot of people in the process. (See Action 14 in the book for all of the details.)

What’s so surprising is that Karen did this the old-fashioned way: with very little help from the Internet. Karen didn’t even have a website, wasn’t blogging, and Twitter and Facebook weren’t on the scene in 2004. (She still doesn’t have a website or Facebook page, which is why I’m not linking to her here.)

Karen sold 225 shares @ $32/share by using her mailing list, which was comprised of her friends and family in Boise, Idaho.

Karen’s idea was so interesting that a newspaper picked up on it, which brought in shareholders that were previously unknown to her.

Shelly Lewis Stanfield, Fresh. Acrylic and charcoal on birch panel©2010 Shelly Lewis Stanfield, Fresh. Acrylic and charcoal on birch panel, 48 x 48 inches.

My sister-in-law, Shelly Lewis Stanfield, is a painter who lives in Oklahoma City. Since 2007, Shelly has sold more than 300 paintings.

Shelly has a website, but she doesn’t have a blog, doesn’t use Twitter, and doesn’t have a business page on Facebook. She has some gallery representation, but the galleries sell little compared to what Shelly sells on her own.

Get this: Shelly has sold most of her art by having exhibits at restaurants and by contributing art to fundraisers for organizations that get 20-25% of the proceeds.

Shelly would tell you there’s no magic formula.

She has sold most of her art by using her mailing list. She encourages the people she knows to attend the restaurant openings and visit the restaurant while the work is up.

Her preferred method of contact? Postcards. She sends one or two at a time to individuals on her mailing list for a personal touch.

And no, Shelly has never asked me for any help or advice. Honest. She’s done this all on her own – fearlessly. Shelly succeeds because she’s out there pounding the pavement, not just the computer keys.

If you’re not embracing email, blogs, and social media, follow the example of Shelly and Karen. You can do amazing things with traditional marketing.

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Some very interesting articles on Ceramics Arts Daily

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repost from Alyson B. Stanfield’s ArtBiz Blog:

Bulk email messages can hit a lot of people at once, but your personal notes will elicit action.

We’ve become too dependent on growing our email lists and sending easy messages to vast numbers of people. This is the most popular method to communicate with your contact list, but it shouldn’t be the only way you get your message out.

Whether you’re telling people about a workshop, inviting them to an opening, or announcing a sale, a personal email (or letter or phone call) will garner far more attention than a mass announcement.

To personalize your communications, consider these 4 tips:

1.  Write to a single person.
Don’t write as if you’re talking to a large group. Write with one person in mind. How would you speak to her if you met in the same room? Use that more relaxed and casual voice than what you’d write in a proclamation. It’s more trustworthy.

You can use the same framework as a starting point for personalized email, but you must take care to ensure that each recipient’s message is unique to them. Use his or her name, mention anything personal you’ve shared (like lunch), and remove references that don’t apply.

2.  Use a salutation.
Addressing someone by name isn’t just professional, it is also the polite way to start an email. Please be sure to double check the spelling of the person’s name before you press the Send button. You instantly lose credibility when you misspell a name.

3.  Be clear about what action you’re looking for.
What do you want recipients to do as a result of your email? Don’t make them guess and don’t beat around the bush. More importantly, don’t command or demand anything. “Please post this on your blog” might sound polite, but it’s still a command. Instead of commanding, ask. But asking doesn’t have to be in the form of a question, as evidenced by these examples:

I know how busy you are, but I would really appreciate your help [doing xyz].

If you have a couple of minutes, would you mind forwarding this to people who might be interested?

If you know anyone who might like to attend, I’d be grateful if you would share this with them.

4.  Customize the subject line.
Your subject line shouldn’t sound like a promotion. It should read as if you’re writing to a friend.

When you want recipients of your communications to take action, send a sincere, personal request.

Business practices such as those described above are part of cultivating buyers, collectors, and fans for your art. If you’d like more of these types of people in your life, join us for the Cultivate Collectors class. The fun begins October 6 at ArtBizCoach.

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1. Cultural Arts & Recreation Center – develop a cultural arts center that would include the performing arts and a venue for presentations and exhibits. Find a permanent financial solution for sustaining the Galena Art & Recreation Center (ARC) and for allowing the expansion of programming.

2. Economic Development Program – City of Galena should retain professional staff to pursue jobs, business opportunities and develop regional partnerships. Create additional economic incentives to attract private investment and business development. Including continuing to improve city infrastructure including sidewalks, signage, parking, public restrooms, and public transportation.

3. Best in Tri-States Education System – attract new businesses and residents and retain young families by making our schools the best academically in the Tri-State Area. Promote community-wide emphasis on academics and curriculum expansion through class-sharing and /or consolidation with other school districts. Improve and update facilities and equipment using state-of-the-art technology and provide community college courses in our community.

4. Galena History Museum – Relocate the Galena History Museum, and develop sustainable funding sources for the capital building requirements, ongoing operations and the expansion of exhibits and programs of the museum.

5. Galena River Area Development – Plan and develop the Galena Riverfront and the adjoining street areas for the enjoyment of residents and to attract new businesses and visitors. Utilities the Old Post Office/Customs House as the cornerstone for developing this area. Create a seasonal outdoor community riverfront area for local festivals and fairs, e.g., expanded farmers markets, art & antique fairs. Develop an integrated walking/biking/hiking trail system through the Galena Riverfront area that connects with the Illinois trail system.

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The towns of Peterborough and Jaffrey in New Hampshire do their annual town fundraisers right. They understand that in order to get the best artists to participate that they partner with the artists to raise funds, not take advantage of them.

Undervaluing the Worth of Art, Hurts the Community
Many artists struggle to make a profit each year, and although it might sound noble to give art away, sometimes it does the community of artists more harm than good. Fund raisers who ask numerous artists for outright donations devalue the worth of the art in that community. When there is no minimum (reserve) price set for a work, it often sells for less than the cost for materials. Even worse, the buyers return each year to pick up unbelievable bargains, and they rarely contact the artist to pay full retail price on additional paintings. This is the kind of “exposure” that actually hurts business for artists.

Educate the Organizations You Support

The folks that put on these fundraisers are not malicious people. They just don’t understand how selling donated art at low prices hurts the art community. Often, when I’ve explained why it isn’t a good idea, the people in charge decide to go with a reserve price and percentage to the artist. It might mean that fewer paintings will be sold (at least in the first year), but I’ve seen that organizations that do it right often reap much higher rewards over the years because the best artists in the community begin to participate, and the scene becomes a place to buy great work for a tad less than they would pay otherwise. Everybody wins! The artists get their due, the organizations get 40% of each sale, and the collectors get great art.
Interestingly, the local towns in New Hampshire that do auctions the right way, make far more than those who accept artists full donations and sell the art for any price. That’s because once the auction becomes known as the place to get great artwork, it brings out serious collectors. Usually, there is a gala dinner involved, where the tickets are pricey. I’ve seen expensive works (say in the $10K range) sell at these classy auctions. The best and most expensive art goes quickly. My guess is that the collectors there enjoy the competition.
Several years ago, I attended a huge show in Denver, Salon D’arts. While there, I ate breakfast with a number of artists who participated, and Scott Burdick listed his favorite fundraisers – most were invitational museum shows where the artist reaped a 75% of the selling price. Even so, the museums made a great deal of money.
The thing that I especially enjoy about participating in fundraisers that return me 60% of the selling price is that I usually pick up a new collector when my painting sells. Unlike most galleries, auctions give the artists the names and addresses of the buyers. When someone buys my work at, or near my regular retail price, they’re usually pretty serious collectors.

Artists Can Only Deduct The Cost of Materials

When I’ve participated in auctions where I’ve given a full donation, the work sells for under $100, and nobody wins because the artwork was devalued, the organization only got $100, and I am in the hole for all my supplies. By the way, we artists can only deduct the amount of the supplies we used on our incomes taxes – not the value of the artwork. Alternately, if I simply give the organization a check from my business account, I can deduct the full amount of that check. They make just as much money or even more that way, and I am not out a painting that I could sell otherwise.

What if the Work Doesn’t Sell?
If my painting doesn’t sell, then I get the painting back and I’m out nothing. Sure the organization doesn’t get anything from me, but it probably made more in the long run because it got a greater amount from the other artists whose works did sell. Nobody loses, and the integrity of the art community is not eroded.

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by Alyson Stanfield on March 4, 2009

Last fall I was asked, by a national publication, to write an article about innovative marketing by art galleries in this economy. I said I couldn’t. I explained that I have yet to see galleries doing anything truly innovative, so it would be impossible for me to write such an article….read the rest of the article here

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This was written and posted on Maria Brophy’s blog.  Maria writes about real-life situations and shares ways to handle them.  Her closing statement says it all:

“And I think the answer to it is to stand your ground.  If a client doesn’t value your work, then you shouldn’t sell it to them cheap, or trade it, and definitely never give it away.  Because in doing so, you devalue your work even more.  And worse than that, you’ll devalue the work of all the other professional artists out there who care about the industry of art.  If you value your work, then others will, too.”

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