Embrace a Space and Get Your Art Out There

She wasn't expecting much.
When the opportunity to show at the public library arose, Sherrie York said Yes. But not because she thought it was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was, after all, a library and libraries aren't known for showing art.
Sherrie said Yes because she is seeking fresh exhibit opportunities, and this was a new venue. She embraced the space.
Imagine her surprise when the library system selected Sherrie as their featured artist for February. As a result, her work is highlighted in their district-wide newsletter and is the subject of a 5-minute spot on their local TV show.
The library produced a handsome video for the TV show, which Sherrie can use to promote her art. She's already started sharing it, and I'm sure she would want for you to see it, too.

Sherrie says the moral of the story is “You just never know.” You never know when a seemingly insignificant event will turn into much more.
I urge you to follow Sherrie's example and get your art out in the world at whatever cost. It does you no good sitting around your studio.
People want to see your art, and you need for people to see it. You need the fuel provided by the dialogue and interaction people have with your art and with you.
Don't wait around for the perfect gallery. Go! Find a space! Embrace it! Don't worry about expectations. Just get your art out in the world.
Need inspiration from other artists? Read these posts:
Pop-up storefront galleries
Showing and selling in restaurants
Guerrilla Knitters
How are you taking the initiative? What are you doing to get your art out of the studio and in front of people?

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15 thoughts on “Embrace a Space and Get Your Art Out There”

  1. I hadn’t sold much(the last two years) until my current exhibit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. I applied to exhibit once before and did not get in and then two years went by and I applied again and was accepted. Then I applied for my first grant to help me frame everything and received it from the Iowa Arts Council. Now the hospital has purchasd four of my abstract pastels for their permanent collection.

  2. Today is the day I deliver 4 works of animal art to The Childrens Hospital at Aurora, Colorado. The Community Art Liason saw my work at the Denver Airport and contacted me. This 3 month exhibit is called “Cats,Dogs and other Favorite Pets”, what better venue for an animal artist! This exhibit is to celebrate two outstanding animal/companion programs. In April, there will be a special party to celebrate the exhibition and will give me an opportunity to snag some commissions and enjoy other artists,patients and families. Network,network,network!

  3. I recently attended a screening of a short film I made where I had to stand in the cold, outside, alone. BUT… it was an amazing opportunity to get some photos of my film on a really BIG SCREEN. My blog post about it and my FB post has generated more traffic, and more comments, than I’ve seen in a while and that is a GOOD thing!
    Here’s the post if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/gLeVGJ

  4. Good goin’. One of my best places to sell work is at two of the Rec Centers in Boulder, CO. In Boulder, everyone works out and people flowck to the rec centers. They get lots of traffic and my work gets lots of eyes looking at it.

  5. Yes! Libraries are wonderful showplaces for art. I have been able to build a good fanbase by using our libraries facilities and as a part time employee of the main library here in Fremont, CA, I am able to keep track of the action. My co-workers and some patrons have become some of my best fans, having bought work from me and promoted my work outside. I’ve also had a good bit of exposure from the local arts associations who have permanent and pop-up galleries as well as open studios. But the main thing is that all of this has given me the boost I have needed to start a serious business of art this year. My fans are so loyal and I am so pleased!
    Happy Birthday, Alyson

  6. I was approached via my website by a contemporary furniture store after a friend showed a friend an invite for a show at an artist run center and have had a few pieces there since before Christmas. Just yesterday the owner called me in a panic as she had empty walls and a last-minute event involving some local business bigwigs. Not many people saw the show at the artist-run center, but printing the invite was worth it! Now my work is featured at tonight’s event and will be seen by a group of people who both appreciate art and design and can afford it. Yep, you never know.

  7. Happy Birthday! I gave $5.00 to your CERF project & it didn’t hurt at all…I hope others will help to get to that $50K goal! The stories on that site are worth the ticket alone…
    “She wasn’t expecting much”…I think those words, that emotion is key… People like to take you off guard, to surprise you… When you stand around expecting results, expecting sales, expecting a good turn-out- that is a turn-off…

  8. Libraries are fabulous places to hang art. I had a solo show at the Harbourfront library in Nanaimo. All the library emplyees knew I was an artist but had never seen any of my work. I brought a couple of pieces in a series I had just completed. The chief librarian happened to be in that day and she suggested I bring the rest, 13 paintings, in to hang on the loft wall.
    I’ve had a weekend group show in my garden featuring the artists from my neighbourhood and I have participated in a show with a friend who rented a small shop in the Old City area of Nanaimo.
    This June I have organized a solo show at The Tamagawa University in their log building. I knew the program organizer and she asked me if I would consider being the first artist to have I show there. It will be promoting me but also the University.

  9. I have had two restaurants display my work (not the bead weaving, though) and it felt great even if there were no sales, because it’s nice to be seen. I have obtained an application to display at the Hamden Public Library, but I’ve not yet filled it out. Mostly because I’ve no idea how my wall art would be hung or how my bead weaving would be displayed. I need to create displays for the bead weaving that will enhance the work not fight with it or be boring.

  10. Many fine artists that I’ve worked with are concerned that showing someplace like a restaurant or library makes their material less appealing for museums and galleries. I’d love your take on this Alyson.
    My feeling is get it OUT there. It takes time to build your platform and that’s what a gallery and museum is looking for – buzz. I would also recommend setting up some way to build your list through these exposure opportunities.
    Yes, have your contact information available for people to take home – in the form of a lovely postcard image of your work – which is in essence a “pinkspoon” offering. I’ve taken postcards from artists and slipped them into a $3.95 glass frame and used it for decorating.
    But, that’s not enough – as it depends on your audience taking some kind of action to stay in touch. Creating a sign up sheet for your mailing list is better.
    But what works really great is creating a drawing to win an art piece in exchange for their contact (preferably email) information. And that give-away doesn’t need to be expensive, it can be a mug or a calendar or a set of gift cards.

  11. I love the video – the way Sherrie explains her process – and I am inspired by her beautiful work. I think the take home message for me is “just say yes.”
    There is concern about “correct” venues, but I think art works well with library patrons, who browse books and would likely browse though art, as well. It is also a gift to them. At least, that’s how I feel when I come upon someone’s work in public places. Because of this, one of my goals is to create a body of work suitable for donation to a hospital.

  12. Pingback: Your Marketing Strategy — Art Biz Blog

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