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Preparing For An Open Studio Event
Hosting an open event studio event is an opportunity for you to build name recognition locally and sell products that have not been sold for the past few years. Starting an art business locally and then reach a broader audience online is easier than just starting an online art business.
People who know you locally are more likely to support your art business and help you build your following by talking about your art with their friends and family.
There are many ways an artist can supplement their income online, but to be successful, they have to build an audience first.
Are you interested in building a following locally? Hosting an open studio event will help you to do just that.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hosting A Major Event
Art studios are usually a quiet place where artists work alone and lose their thoughts in their creations.
Many artists do not host an open studio event because inviting people they do not know into their home studio creates anxiety.
However, the opportunities outweigh the negatives if you can overcome the uneasy feeling you will have when people stroll through your studio.
One way to reduce the stress associated with letting strangers browse through your studio is to ask your closest friends and relatives to help and support you during the event.
Just being able to stand next to someone you know makes the entire prosses much easier.
Benefits of hosting an open studio:
- Opportunities to sell new and old artwork
- Opportunities to sell reproductions of original artwork
- Exposure to new art collectors
- Keep established art collectors up-to-date on new projects.
- Build relationships with potential art collectors
- Build relationships and network with local artists
- Personally share the story behind your creations
- Show your unique artist techniques with buyers and artists
There will be a percentage of people who will not invest in your artwork at the time of the event, but the art show will increase the odds of art collectors purchasing your artwork in the future.
Now that we have discussed the benefits let’s talk about how to start an open studio.
Before You Decide On An Open Studio Date
Hosting your first open house event will feel overwhelming at first because you do not know what to expect.
However, if you know what to expect, the event will be more productive and rewarding.
In this post, you will discover how to plan and organize your first open studio art show, so you look like a pro.
Define Open Studio Objectives
Before you can write a plan, you need to have a clear vision of what you are working towards.
Take a few minutes to write down what you would like to achieve for your first open studio event.
Would you like:
- To reach a new local audience
- Sell older artwork
- Showcase new artwork
- Sell prints of your paintings
- Gain referrals
- Connect and network with local artists
- Introduce your art to a local art gallery
- See how people interact with your artwork
- Collect email addresses
Set A Date For The Art Showing
The next step is to decide when you would like to hold an open studio event and. your business goals will determine the date of your open studio tour.
For example, if you are interested in unloading paintings that didn’t sell during the past holiday season, you might want to have your event in the spring.
On the other hand, if you would like to increase your holiday sales, you might want to hold your event late October or early November before people started their holiday shopping.
You might want to meet new people so you can build your email list and promote your local craft events.
After you set a date, you will want to start planning for the show. I recommend that you begin planning four to six months before the show date.
Make A List Of People You Will Invite
After you have set a showing date, you will want to make a list of who you will be invited to the open studio event.
Your business goals will also determine the people you invite.
For example, you might want only to invite people who have purchased from you before so you can allow them to see your new projects before you start showing them to the public.
Maybe you want to invite people who never purchased a painting but follow you on social media like Facebook and Instagram to build a personal relationship with them and turn them into loyal art collectors.
You might also want to invite people who are not familiar with your work to build name recognition locally.
After you have decided who will be attending the event, you will want to determine how you will contact them and how many people you would like to participate in the event.
Sending out invitations a month before the event will give your audience enough time to plan for the event or let you know if they can not attend the show.
Plan An Agenda For The Event
Decide what the activities will be for your event.
Are you going to offer brunch, lunch, snacks, drinks – Be causes when offering alcoholic beverages? In most states, you will be responsible for a person if you provide drinks. Unless it is close friends or family, you might be better off not providing alcoholic beverages.
Where will people meet when they arrive at your studio?
Will you allow a specific amount of time for people to mingle before the event starts?
Will you start the event by allowing the visitors to view your artwork, or will you start answering questions?
Many artists start by offering beverages and hors d’oeuvres and some small talk to discover their audience’s interests, followed by a visit to the studio and ending with a question and answers.
Asking a friend or two to help you with a flow of the event will lessen the stress. One friend can mingle with the audience and answer questions while you are interacting with another group, and another friend can sell your paintings and prints.
Decide The Hours Of The Open Studio Tour
Before you send out the invitations, you will want to decide how long the event will be.
The average showing is between two and four hours and will be determined by your open house objectives and the show’s events.
Providing the event’s length in the invitations will prevent people from staying in your studio all day.
You might also want to consider making a sign that welcomes the guests and states what time the event will end.
Practice Your Art Talk
Plan some questions and answers if you plan to devote time for question and answers during the event.
Decide how long you will want for your audience to ask questions.
Before you get started, explain that there will only be a specific amount of time for questions and decide how many items you will be able to answer during that time.
Explain to the group that you will be available for one on one questions after the speech and set a time for that.
To read more, visit How To Prepare For An Artist Talk.
Outline The Events Activities
The next step is to outline the event’s activities. Make a bullet point of the show’s flow and how much time is devoted to each activity.
Allow an extra amount of time for distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes should be enough time. If everything is running smoothly, you can use the spare time for mingling with your audience to build relationships.
Do A Practice Run
Setting up and practicing the events is an excellent idea, especially if this is going t be your first open studio event.
Ask a few friends to help you with the practice by pretending they are the guests. This will provide a dry run test for you and the people who will assist you with the event.
Practice the show from start to finish to see:
- If you have devoted enough time for each event
- If you are displaying your artwork properly
- If there are enough drinks and hors d’oeuvres
- If it is easy for buyers to make a purchase
- If you devoted enough time for your artist talk
- If you made it a pleasant and welcoming event
There will be things that you overlook when you are planning for an event for the first couple of times.
The dry run will help you to discover anything you might have overlooked or missed.
Extra Things To Consider For Your First Open Studio Event
Weather – Will the art event be indoors, outdoors, or both? Is the event taking place in the winter? If you plan on having your event outside or in the winter, the weather could affect the outcome. You might want to consider having a rain date if necessary.
Collecting Payments – Decide how you will collect money from people. People might want to use a credit card or debit card to purchase a high ticket original painting. In this case, you will want to have a way to accept credit cards. The Square is an easy solution and allows you to accept card payments on your smartphone or tablet.
If you are excepting cash, make sure that you have enough change in the cash drawer. You will also want to decide if you will allow personal checks or not.
Mailing list signup sheet – Make sure everyone knows about your mailing and email list signup sheet. You might want to consider having the signup list at the entry of the studio and ask for everyone to sign in.
Parking Space – Make sure that there is adequate parking space for your showing. One way to upset visitors is to make them walk three miles to your studio.
Make It Inviting – Simple things like:
- A brochure of the event
- Soft music playing in the background
- Scented candles or incense
- An open space for people to move around easily
- Extra seats for elderly guests
- Controlled temperature
The little extras above will make your first show successful open.
Final Thoughts On Hosting An Open Studio Event
There are many benefits to hosting an open studio event like selling art that has not been sold, promote and sell art prints, meeting new collectors, and networking with other artists.
The first couple of showings will be more of a learning experience.
After each show, think about what you can do next time to make the next show even better.
In a short amount of time, your open studio events will become the talk of the town. When you feel studio tours are running on autopilot, start working on your online art marketing strategy to reach a broader audience.
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Opening An Art Studio Event Checklist:
- Write down the objectives of the event
- Set a date for the show
- Make a list of people who will be attending
- Plan a schedule
- Decide on the hours of the show
- Practice your art talk
- Outline the event’s activities