Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Landing an Art Exhibit

Today I am doing the final prep for a cafe/gallery exhibit at Dogtown Coffee Company in Okanagan Falls, BC. I am always happy to be in the final stages of prep because most of the hard work is already done and now it is time to share and enjoy. 

Here are some quick tips on finding a venue to exhibit your fibre art:

1. Start small. You do not need your first exhibit to be in the city's main gallery. Search out small cafes, local businesses, or even dental offices that exhibit art. If you notice places with blank walls, start up a conversation. They just need to be willing to accept payment on your behalf including taxes if that is required for your business. Having them hand out a business card so the buyer can find you doesn't always translate into a sale. Buyers want to take the piece now. 

2. Approach the places you love. If they have great food or a great setting, and they recognize you as a loyal customer, you may have a better shot. Consider how your fibre art would fit in with the decor of the place. You don't want your art shoved in between signed hockey jerseys in your local barber shop. 

3. Layout the guidelines. Small exhibit spaces may take from 10% to 30% commission. You should never pay a monthly space rental with commission on top. Some cafes even take no commission in exchange for a nice rotation of trendy art on their walls. 

4. Get it in writing. Even if it is as informal as a list of the fibre art pieces with titles and prices, the length of time they will exhibit, and what the agreement is if a piece is lost, damaged, or stolen, there needs to be a contract and both parties need to sign it. 

5. Provide the cafe with a customer info form. If the cafe can collect the buyer's basic information for you, then you can add it to your contact list or send them a hand written thank you note. Also, when a customer buys your work, they should receive a receipt, your business card, and care instructions for the art at the bare minimum.

When you do land a space to display your work, now is the time to blast your social media connections, but also, be sure to sit back and revel in the joy of it. The owner of a cool trendy spot has accepted your work! (that means they love it!) It also opens up the door to new income which is what we are aiming for. Now get creating, and good luck!


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