Hobnobbing: Should You Stay or Should You Go? < Deep Thought Thursday

Elizabeth Carr
Elizabeth Carr, Mess of Greens. Watercolor

Elizabeth Carr faces a tough decision that so many artists encounter.
She was accepted into the American Watercolor Society’s 144th Annual International Exhibition. It opens in New York in April and she struggles with this question:

Does appearing at the opening of a show of over 100 paintings by the top watercolorists in the country and beyond justify the cost of travel, room & board, and other expense?

What do you think?
Is it worth it to go? What would make it worth the expense?

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33 thoughts on “Hobnobbing: Should You Stay or Should You Go? < Deep Thought Thursday”

  1. Tempting! It’s an excuse to visit New York which is a wonderful place. Maybe you could also network with some NY galleries whilst there??

  2. Yes. The question wouldn’t be asked unless you wanted to go. The contacts you may have the opportunity to meet and the value of seeing other accepted works up close will make it more than worth the cost. It’s a business write-off, and in the long run will be an experience you will remember and hopefully cherish. Go for it!

  3. Yes, are you kidding?! Start talking to people now and put all that social media to work. I bet you’ll not only find a free place to stay, but meet plenty of people that can do nothing but help you (and vice versa) along in your career. You can always find good flights to nyc. I say if you want to get out there and have your work seen and shown that there’s no reason to pass up any opportunity. (you can also start promoting now you’re acceptance into the show to sell more pantings to help you pay for your trip there!) Talk to your friends, family and clients. I’m always amazed by how the whole world becomes available just by talking to people and telling them what you’re up to and what you’re looking for. Good luck!

  4. YES>>>GO!!!
    Maybe take someone to share expenses!
    A new city with new experiences is PRICELESS!
    Check out all your contacts there and all your friends contacts there
    and you may find a free place to stay, and maybe they will cook for you!
    You never know until you ask.
    Connections can lead to amazing things if you’re open to it, besides I’m sure you have plenty to share as well!
    Good luck!

  5. The up front costs may give you pause and the long term returns are unknown, but I think its a good thing to go. Like Lynn said, bring someone. The new contacts, a change in environment & seeing other peoples work up close can re-invigorate and re-inspire you to do new things and see you art in new ways.

  6. Go! And if AWS doesn’t slap a great big name tag on you that says ARTIST + your hometown – bring one. People love to meet participating artists and it will give you a chance to talk about your work. Try to spend an extra day or two or three to take advantage of museums, galleries etc. To help finance it offer up a painting or two for sale to your client list and ask them to help pave your way to NY. Fans love to help out! Let us know how it goes and good luck!

  7. If she can afford it, she should go. But if she doesn’t have the money or it would make it a hardship to buy this month’s groceries and pay the rent or heating, then she should stay home. This assumes that there is potential to interact with other artists, art business people (curators and the like), and collectors. It’s a business trip, I believe, and much of the expense should be deductible in figuring her taxes next year. But if it’s a hardship then, sadly, it’s not worth the stress of no heat and hot water for the rest of March and April.

  8. Congratulations and I would go! It is the Olympics of watercolor and you will have a chance to see outstanding paintings and meet the finest artists. You never know what a conversation could lead to: friendships, connections, tips and techniques, etc.

  9. Email List, Twitter, Facebook – get yourself and your fans there to celebrate this outstanding achievement. It is a high point on the promotional opportunity ladder; not to be lightly passed over. Heh, if you have to, get a Kickstarter project together to help cover the costs – any artist should be able to come up with appropriate reward levels.
    -SL Clark

  10. Definitely go! I had same choice/opportunity (AWS) many years ago, went, had a wonderful experience, not just the event itself -(just being accepted is a real honor), but seeing the wonderful work in person, and especially seeing what the BIG N Y galleries and museums were all about – I really have no memory of the expense, just the wonderful experience. Though I no longer work in watercolor except for portraits, am now AWS,DF – not that anyone out here really cares!

    1. Elizabeth Carr

      Thanks for the feedback, Marianne. It looks like everyone’s voting for me to go. Where is “out here”?

  11. I love new experiences and this would be a great one to savor. I would try to make it anyway I could and find all of your suggestions very helpful.

  12. Always have plenty of Business Cards in your pocket, ready to hand out. Give one to everyone you meet and, ask for theirs in return. Make a note on the back about who it is, what you talked about and where. It will be work when you get home, to write all the thank you notes, but, networking all adds up! I call it “a vacuuming opportunity”: You never know what you will find.

  13. Yes, you should go! Of course the expense will be justified. And I agree with previous comments about using it as a marketing opportunity. Let people know and get some photos while you’re there to add to your website and other marketing materials!
    Visit galleries and get networking!
    Oh, and Good Luck!

  14. Marilyn Sholin

    I agree with all the comments. That being said, there are really some reasonable options to being in NYC if money is a concern. Do a lot of google searches. Use buses and subways and feet when going places and keep your eyes on the food bargains including doing some of your own food shopping. I have done NYC every way possible, from a tight budget to being able to have whatever I wanted. No matter what, I enjoyed the experience. This is a once in a lifetime event. Don’t miss out on it. Look at the coming year and cut back on something else to be there.

  15. NO BRAINER – -GO!
    New York City has much to offer, and there is something for everyone’s taste. If the question was/is asked about the networking possibilities, I’d say go as well. “Aim at nothing, you’ll hit it.” How would you know whether something works for you unless you DO it?
    As an artist, all expenses for the trip are tax deductible, and the opportunities to visit the Met and MOMA ought not to be missed in one’s lifetime for ANY artist!
    I travel to NY/NJ over the holidays for family reasons, and never miss the chance to visit these great museums. This last trip I was also asked to photograph the installation of art glass in a residential tower across from Lincoln Center for the artist who designed it – Ron Wood (dot com).

  16. As an attorney (and consultant), it’s ALWAYS important to get your name out there. Drive if you have to. Stay with a friend or cheap motel. You can keep expenses low – and get the maximum exposure!
    Services – Tribal Art Hunter | Professional Art Consulting and Buying

  17. Wow-what a fantastic opportunity to promote your art, allow others to get to know you as an artist, and to meet other wonderful (cream of the crop) artists. I say, no brainer!

  18. Elizabeth Carr

    I just had to post this right away! I just got 2 letters in the mail from AWS. The first one announcing that my painting had been chosen for the Traveling Exhibit and the second telling me my painting had been awarded The Winsor & Newton Award! New York City, here I come! Thank you all for the comments. I have no question now that I’m supposed to go.

    1. Elizabeth, I offer my heartfelt congratulations. I enjoyed the energy of these comments on your behalf and now reading your good news! I am inspired. Enjoy this moment and all that it brings you in the future.

  19. yes yes yes What an honor! I agree with everyone get there any way you can. It seems like a wonderful opportunity.

  20. THis is what I wrote earlier— but send it to Alyson’s artbiz e-mail instead of the blog —
    out here is Santa Fe, NM – I found the dinner a bit stuffy, but that was in the dark ages (early-80s), and EVERYTHING has changed so much since then – try to find someone to stay with – it’ll help you orient and have more fun – NYC is most overwhelming to the uninitiated!
    Good luck – hope you win a prize!
    Marianne Hornbuckle

  21. Being accepted in an AWS exhibition is an opportunity of a lifetime! Seeing the original works of the other artists and perhaps meeting them as well as giving patrons the opportunity to meet you can only be beneficial. I wouldn’t miss this for the world!

    The Winsor & newton Award!!! How AWESOME is that!
    I’d say your award-winning masterpiece is calling you to the Big Apple! The Lord has made this answer loud and clear! You’ve received some great advice and encouragement via this blog. GO FOR IT !!!
    Elizabeth Chapman

  23. Alease Michelle

    I believe it would be a honor to be one of the top 100 artist chosen to be exhibited and I would try and make the show. I would get the opportunity to talk to people interested in my work, meet other artists, network, plus enjoy NYC. How could I lose?

  24. I concur with everyone here: GO! And now that you have the award…Bravo!!
    (I was going to add that if a full-time successful artist who regularly is accepted to national shows is what you want to be, live it!)
    Way to go. Congrats!

  25. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful advice and encouraging words. I’ve made the reservations and am now almost $2000 poorer (my husband and daughter are going with me). We have planned it as a business trip/senior trip for my daughter/vacation, so the “value” of the whole trip is not contingent on the art business aspect of it. I’ll be happy to report on everything when I return home May 2 (we depart April 27).

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