It’s common for artists to be bummed after an opening. So much work went into making the art, promoting the event, and installing it. No wonder you’re deflated when you wake up the next morning.
This is when you must soldier on. You have artwork hanging in a public space, and it’s the perfect time to get some things done that couldn’t happen if your art had stayed in the studio.
The fun starts now with these 5 To Dos.
1. Schedule a Photo Shoot
When your work is hung in a beautiful setting, you want pictures!
This is no time for amateur hour. You need fantastic photos to use in your promotions and to document the occasion.
Get photos of:
- The entire installation
- Your name on the wall or front window – perhaps from an interesting angle
- People looking at your art
- You in front of select pieces
- Your art in situ – if you have installed it in seating areas or other living/dining spaces
- You surrounded by your art
2. Write Thank-You and Follow-Up Notes
Use a beautiful note card with an image of your art on the front to write (handwritten) notes of gratitude to people who purchased your art.
Envelopes that have handwriting on them are likely to be opened first and more appreciated by the recipients.
In addition, send emails or notes to anyone who expressed interest in your art. All you have to do is say something like the following:
Thank you so much for talking with me about my art. [refer to something you remember about the conversation]
I’d love for you to return if you have the chance – when nobody else is around and we can talk more in depth. Let me know if you can come by, or if you’d be available to visit my studio.
3. Activate The Space
Nick Cave’s Soundsuits are activated when worn in performance, but that can’t always occur. Sometimes (oftentimes) they are part of major gallery and museum exhibitions. In these instances, they are worn by mannequins that stand atop pedestals rather than by performers.
In other words, they are static. Not at all seen in the way in which they were intended.
Cave tries to think of how they can exude energy when exhibited. He said he asks the question of his exhibits: “How do you keep the space active after the opening?”
What happens after your opening reception? How can you keep the buzz going?
4. Take Advantage of the Opportunity
Reach out with personal invitations to interior designers, curators, collectors, and VIPs that you want to see your show.
If there was a review in the paper, photocopy it and send it via real mail with a personal invitation for a private tour.
5. Visit Often
Your art is more likely to sell if you’re there with it. Make frequent appearances, bringing along guests so you have someone to speak with about the art. This will draw attention to the fact that YOU are the artist.
You should also visit alone and observe (spy on?) other people in the space. What are they attracted to? What are they saying?
When I worked in the museum, we observed people in our galleries. There are countless studies about visitor behavior, which affect how art is installed and interpreted.
You don’t need an official study. Just be there and pay attention.
What do you do after an opening to make the most of your show?