Organize a Marketing Salon

Feeling a little lonely in your studio?
Discouraged by lack of support from “close” friends and loved ones?
Need a dose of motivation or the challenge of fresh ideas?

Organize an artist salon!

A salon is a social gathering of artists and intellectuals hosted at regular intervals by a patron in his or her home. Such convivial settings for the art of conversation emerged in Paris at the beginning of the seventeenth century.—Robert Atkins in ArtSpoke

Members of the Miami, FL marketing salon meet for the first time.
Members of the Miami, FL marketing salon meet for the first time.

No word other than “salon” better describes these meetings of highly creative people brimming with ideas. My study of art history led me to learn about the numerous communities that have nurtured artists and expanded what art can be. Some were more formal communities, while others were informal salons.

Get out of the studio, get away from the computer, and get inspired

The salons I’m talking about are not virtual. They don’t rely on Internet discussion groups or telephone bridge lines. Instead, I encourage real-life, face-to-face talking with others. Get out of the studio, get away from the computer, and get inspired. No amount of online networking can replace this human interaction that involves all the senses.

Why organize a salon?

Connections are critical for everyone’s art career. Being around other artists can build your confidence, support you emotionally, and challenge you to do better work. Large membership groups serve their purpose, but they might not be as good at cultivating intimate friendships. The trust that evolves with close friendships will lead to opportunities you never knew existed, and projects you never before contemplated. As our communication choices grow, we seem to be overwhelmed by technology and neglecting the personal touch that brought about our interest in art in the first place. That’s why I emphasize in-person gatherings.

FINAL WORD: Take the initiative. Starting a salon will make you an instant leader in your art community by contributing to the intellectual dialogue and advancement of other artists. If you’d like for your salon to focus on marketing ideas, use the free tools I’ve developed for artist salons at Art Biz Connection.


Get out of the studio and gain inspiration


The podcast is an audio version of this content.

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10 thoughts on “Organize a Marketing Salon”

  1. Another artist & I had the urge to start your art salon groups a couple years ago here in Sacramento, CA. We started with two separate groups then distilled it to a tight group of six Art Gals who meet every other week for lunch to hash out art & business ideas.

    Now several of us interact much more often than that, renting space at the same locations, doing art festivals together, visiting museums, whatever. These gals are some of my closest friends and most trusted confidants, helping to point me in the right direction, keeping me motivated when times are tough, celebrating with me when things all come together.

    I just helped auction off one of my gals’ artworks for our local PBS station on air and it was a “bell-ringer,” bringing in the stated value or more. I wouldn’t be enjoying the level of success that I am now without this salon of artists to support me. Thanks Alyson for helping us to launch this!

  2. Hi Alyson,

    I have been involved with an art marketing group that Jeff Ball leads for over a year now. It is very beneficial to everyone in the group to get out of their individual studios and share ideas. We meet once a month and switch out meeting at each others studio spaces. Some artists have large studios and some artists have smaller ones. It all works out each time and is a lot of fun.

    Thank you for sharing this concept to the other artist in your blog and newsletter.

    Dean McCready

  3. Alyson hits a key nail on the head- excessive isolation in the studio. While we need alone time to get our work done, lots of time, it comes at a cost. It’s true of both creative problems and career problems. For many artists some sort of “salon” idea could be very helpful.

  4. Artists helping other artists serves to squash the old mindset of having to do everything alone, and the fear of competition that goes along with it. The power of community is fierce. We don’t build a business alone, it truly does take a team … and what better way to be part of a team than to help build one.

  5. After re-reading this and comments from others, I’m realizing how valuable it can be for the Miami Art Marketing Salon to regroup and meet at least monthly. The creativity, fellowship and collaborative energy of our Salon was not only inspiring, it was powerful! I’ll let you know when we get back in the flow 😉

  6. Judith: Boy, Iove hearing stories about how I bring artists together. I don’t always hear them, so thank you for sharing your experience.

    Dean: Jeff is great, so I’m sure it’s a wonderful group. Kudos to all for keeping it up!

    Philip: Curious. Do you have that kind of support as a faculty member? Or do you have to find it elsewhere?

    Patrice: Rah rah!

    Debra: I know of several salons that kept meeting after the 10 meetings. I wonder how that works: if it’s just as structured? It may be that one person is in charge of a topic for each meeting. Follow this blog for the next couple of days and some ideas might pop into your mind.

  7. Pingback: Artist Salons: 6 elements for a thriving group, part 1 — Art Biz Blog

  8. What a wonderful idea, Alyson! I and my painting group have long talked about staying together, as we are such a mutually reinforcing group.

    I’ll retweet this, if I can figure out how to do it, and also send it to my art friends. We’d talked about showing and marketing together, but the salon idea gives it a new dimension. Thanks!

  9. Pingback: Artist Salons: 6 elements for a thriving group, part 2 — Art Biz Blog

  10. Pingback: Attack it head on — Art Biz Blog

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