Collaborate & Advocate on Behalf of Your Art

Janice McDonald - Budding
Janice McDonald's Budding (collage) is projected as a backdrop during Patricia Renzetti's “Reflections” ballet in Denver. Photo by Rachel Graham.

I encourage you to stop and think about what it means to be part of a worldwide community of artists.
Really. Stop now. Think about it.
Even if the proclamation of National Arts & Humanities Month (October) is for the U.S., we know that national boundaries are fuzzier because of the Internet. We feel a kinship with artists around the globe.
I ask you to spend time this month on these two actions: collaborating and advocating.
Since this is the Art Biz Blog, let’s look at how this applies to your marketing.


Trade postal support with another artist.
Contact someone whose work you admire and organize a 2-person exhibit or collaborate on a single project.


I doubt that asking people to celebrate National Arts & Humanities Month will change their behavior much. You can, however, change your behavior.
I give you 4 easy and meaningful ways to do this in this week's Art Marketing Action Newsletter.

If you would like to read this whole article, subscribe to the Art Marketing Action newsletter by October 11. The current issue will be sent to you immediately.

Are you collaborating and advocating?

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27 thoughts on “Collaborate & Advocate on Behalf of Your Art”

  1. Thanks Alyson. I wholeheartedly agree about this … and all the time, not just for this month. I share things about other artists on my blog and on my Facebook page. I do attend openings of other artists and groups that are within my region. I think it is very worthwhile to advise all of us to do these things as often as we can … it helps the public, and all the people associated with these artists and venues. So, I’ll share this today on my FB page!

  2. Pingback: Collaborate & Advocate on Behalf of Your Art — Art Biz Blog |

  3. Here’s a link about a possible new paradigm for fundraisers who solicit work from artists — and merchants, and caterers. It supports artists, enhances connections between artists and their communities, and ensures that the donations received will be of the highest quality.
    Social media are perfect for shout-outs and brags about the accomplishment of fellow artists. It’s virtual “word of mouth,” which is the best possible advertising.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Megan: I can’t get that link to work. Can you post the full URL, please?
      You’re right about social media being the perfect way to share others’ accomplishments.

  4. Alyson, I have subscribed to your newsletter three times and have not received your full newsletters yet. Yes, I have confirmed my subscription from the email I received. Can you check into this?

  5. Great ideas here. I have posted the link and blurb about October being National Arts & Humanities Month on my FB page. I have asked people to share who their favorite local artist is as I think it is very important to support the local artist. This is a pet peeve of mine because I see the local artist as not being very well respected.

  6. As you and many of your readers will be aware, for the last few years I’ve been using a weekly post (“who’s made a mark this week?” ) on my art blog Making A Mark to highlight artist’s achievements and opportunities for them to further their careers. I also review and report on back the contributions of artists to the annual exhibitions of national art societies and the major art competitions which have exhibitions in London. The ‘payback’ for me is that I know a lot of people who have entered work to these exhibitions as a result of reading my posts. Indeed on one fantastic occasion I learned that the artist who won “Young Artist of the Year” in a major competition had only entered because of my blog post the previous year!
    There’s also a standing invite on my art blog for art bloggers with an exhibition to get in touch and to tell me so i can also highlight their exhibitions (however no art blog – no mention!). I’m also happy to link to posts by people who’ve written reviews of major exhibitions.
    My basic premise is, for the most part, to highlight those doing well and those who I think deserve to do well.
    I do however get a little uneasy about always being “happy clappy oriented”. I tend to reserve any less enthusiastic comments for those entering art competitions where the top prize is a lot of money (eg £25,000)!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Katherine: Thank you for sharing this and for the invite.
      Can you please clarify your last paragraph? I’m not sure I’m understanding.

    2. Sorry – I tried to condense something which is a bit complicated about achieving balance in reviews.
      On the whole I try to focus on the things I like, the positive and achievements of other artists – and to highlight those. So – if I review an exhibition I won’t reveal in a blog post the work I don’t like.
      However in reviewing exhibitions that did seem to lead to posts which are a little unbalanced (ie only about the positive) which seemed a bit odd to me. It’s rarely the case I see an exhibition where I like everything (probably in common with most people). So I first of all started to give more generic comments about the positives and negatives of the exhibition as a whole (ie not particular to an individual) – and that continues to be my practice for most reviews.
      However if somebody is putting their work forward for a major prize (and I’m talking very big money) it seems to me that one can and should be a bit more even-handed in the review ie big money = balanced commentary. So, for example, if I don’t find merit in a piece which is shortlisted for a major prize I now say so. I counterbalance this by identifying the pieces I would have liked to see shortlisted. I would add that I got a lot more confident about doing this after I found I was consistently picking the winners before they were announced!
      My commentary is still a very long way from the type of “less than enthusiastic” comment about artists written by some UK art journalists! It is however maybe a UK trait to be a tad more direct?

    3. Alyson Stanfield

      Katherine: Thanks for clarifying that. I understand. I don’t enjoy writing about work I don’t like either. There’s little to say, IMO.
      When I was doing exhibit reviews for local papers, I often commented on the installation itself, the way the show was organized, even lighting.

  7. Pingback: Collaborate & Advocate on Behalf of Your Art - Lori McNee Artist

  8. Thanks for including the photo of my collaborative project with your article. I plan to leverage this experience to discuss possibilities with other choreographers and artistic directors. Working on this was fun, great PR, and made me realize there are lots of opportunities, often just waiting for us to notice!

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Janice: Thank YOU for sharing! I look forward to seeing what develops. I love reading about collaborations among artists, musicians and dancers in the early part of the 20th century – especially the Ballets Russes.

  9. Roger K. Lawrence

    We have organized a group called (Art after Class) here in Edmond, Oklahoma. It consists of about 20 students that are currently students or past students of the Conservatory for Classical Art. The Atelier was created by Leslie Lienau who teaches and and provides Guest artists workshops for the students.
    We meet one a month at a Coffee Shop to share our art experiences and have a show and tell of our current work. It is a great way for us to learn from each other while keeping in touch with the Conservatory for Classical Art. Leslie taught us that are learning will come from three sources. Our teacher, our self study, and are fellow artists. This is the fellow artists part of our education. Our group has no officers, no dues and no formal programs. We just meet and enjoy the exchange of information.
    face to face. Everyone seems to love that concept.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Excellent, Roger. Thank you for sharing your experience with this. I hope some of you are attending the Oklahoma Arts Conference in Tulsa in 3 weeks – where I’ll be presenting.

  10. Reading all these at first I was conflicted, because I have a solo show opening next Saturday in San Diego. Then I realized, there is a great collaboration going on with this show, between three people: the owner/curator of Glimpse, Lynle Ellis; our mutual art business advisor, Susan Haldeman, and me. And it’s been one of the juiciest projects I have worked on recently. Along with the show being in a city that I haven’t had a show in before, so its a whole new audience for my work, each one of us is bringing all sorts of energy and excitement to the project. There will be a lot of my work showing, the PR they put together is terrific, and I can’t wait to see how it’ll be hung, as Lynle is an interior designer, so as part of the show she’s putting together vignettes of pieces, in combinations and setting I hadn’t imagined my work in before. With three people looking at and mining the opportunities, its turning into a bigger event than I’ve had recently, and I couldn’t be happier.
    And by the way, the opening is on October 15th, in San Diego, at a lovely gallery/home store in the North Park neighborhood, called Glimpse ( Artist talk at 4:30, reception from 6 to 9 if anyone would like to come. Or tell your friends in San Diego about it! Thanks!
    Susan can be found at
    My blog is

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Jill: I’m a bit slow. I hope the opening was a huge success!
      I still show your newsletter at my workshops. People really “get it” when I put it next to others as a very good example.

    2. Hi Alyson,
      The opening was lovely, you can see photos of the installation on my Facebook page, Rosoff Artworks.
      I’m tickled to know you’re using my e-blast in your workshops, that’s a real compliment, thank you. I’d love to hear any feedback, and people are always welcome to subscribe to them on my website!

    3. One more note, speaking of connecting, I’ll be doing a talk/demonstration at a local art league on November 8th. It’s my first time doing this for an artists’ association, so I’m really looking forward to it, both for the experience, and to present to artists.

  11. Joining a local art organization is a real plus! We have a good one based out of Boulder – The Boulder Art Association. We’re involved in community outreach, venues for shows, demos and mini workshops at the monthly meetings – lots of stuff. You can also join the board for further involvement. Not only does this get you out with other artists, but it helps step up your arting. It helps create an environment in your art life that’s more and more serious. I find that really important. Get involved.

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