So you have an exhibition coming up? That’s great! Have you given some thought to how you’re going to promote it? No? Not so great. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – however wonderful your art is, no one will buy it if they haven’t been exposed to it. And most of the time, that doesn’t happen by accident. You need to put some effort in order to make it happen.
The amount of effort that you need to invest in self-promotion depends significantly on where you are exhibiting. There are many galleries, including Agora Gallery, which provide considerable promotional material and make efforts on your behalf. However, it is important for you to make yourself aware of what is being done by others to promote both the exhibition and your work, This will help you recognize the steps you need to take in order to promote yourself as an artist as well as your upcoming exhibition.
And just in case, you are not sure where to begin, here is a 7-step guide to promoting your art exhibition and making sure your art gains the recognition it deserves.
1 What Makes Your Show Different?
The first and foremost thing to do before you begin promoting is to recognize the ideas or details that will make your exhibition stand out. This is relevant both on a personal level – what is unusual about this for you? Is it your first exhibition in New York? Does the work represent a new departure? – and regarding the exhibition – is it in an interesting location? Is it an annual event? These details can help your show stand out.
Consider these criteria as your selling point. These ideas will be the ones you make use of during your promotional campaign while this process will also help you narrow down your target audience and reach out to more like-minded people that will appreciate your art style.
2 Exhibition Paraphernalia
Press releases, artist statements, catalogs, posters, exhibition cards, invitations – all of these can be extremely useful before, during, and after the exhibition. You can place these places to advertise the event as well as your art before the exhibition. During the exhibition, you can have them near your work, at the reception desk, and so on, for those who are interested in your work and would like to know more. Once the exhibition has run its course, these can be useful for maintaining records and highlighting your past experience.
At Agora, we make sure that every artist is provided with a carefully drafted press release and that their artist statement is exhibited along with their works in order to provide a good contextual background to the gallery guests. We also make use of press releases for online promotion as well as in the exhibition catalogues.
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3 Approach Relevant Organizations
Once all your exhibition information and material are in place, you might want to start contacting relevant organizations about the upcoming event. Inform journalists and media professionals about your exhibition. Think outside the box and try to come up with connections to specific groups or individuals who would be likely to be especially interested in your exhibition. Do not forget to take help of friends and family to spread the message and reach out to potential buyers.
Don’t ignore the local art scene even if you are not exhibiting in your hometown. It’s true that art lovers will go some distance for an exhibition or art fair, but the obvious population to target is always the one that lives next door. If there’s a local art scene, then that should be a priority, but local businesses, newspapers or magazines, cafés and cultural centers can all be useful places to advertise. Explain the appeal in local terms and they will be more likely to let you put up a poster or leave some exhibition cards.
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4 Work With Others
Are you participating in a collective exhibition in a gallery or fair that doesn’t provide promotion? You might want to be in touch with other participating artists so that you can work together to produce a greater effect. You can share the costs of printing materials, and make sure that your promotional efforts don’t overlap so that you cover more ground.
Even if you are exhibiting at a gallery like Agora that takes care of most of the exhibition promotion, get in touch with the gallery professionals and let them know your expectations. Make sure you provide them with as much information about your art as possible so that they can market your artworks as well as the event extensively.
5 Target People Who Already Love Your Work
You probably have a list of collectors who’ve purchased your work in the past or a mailing list of those who have expressed interest at some point – make use of them! If they love your work, they’ll want to see you succeed. Make sure they know that they could really help and thank them when they do.
6 Use Social Media To Promote Your Exhibition
Online promotion is increasingly becoming popular. Not only is it a great way to reach out to people all across the globe within seconds, but also a platform to connect with like-minded people, sell your artworks and learn more about the latest art trends.
Do you have a Facebook Page? If not, you might want one – and no, it’s not the same as a personal profile. A Twitter feed? Do you participate in art-related discussions on forums or groups? These are great platforms to get the word out because it’s so easy for people to re-share the information with others. If you don’t spend much time updating your Facebook page, you might want to put more effort in, especially coming up to the show, so that people who see the posts in their newsfeed start getting excited too.
Useful Series: Social Media for Artists
7 Share Your Excitement
This really is important – with anyone you want to help you in any way, from a journalist to a café owner, to your cousin. You’ll find they’re more likely to respond if you show them how exciting this opportunity is. It’s infectious; you want them to start to feel that way too.
An art exhibition, however small, is a great opportunity for you as an artist. However, making it successful and turning it into a stepping stone for a memorable career, is in your power. Promote your exhibition right!
Have more questions? Ask us in the comment section or email us at email@example.com.
This post is also available in: Spanish