Start Promoting Your Exhibition Now, Part 1: Describe It

Victoria Stanway, Facets of Memory.
©The Artist

Artists often write to me just as they're ramping up their promotional efforts a month or two out from their exhibition opening or special event. They're looking for help. I can help, but they've really waited too long. If you know you have an event, exhibition, class, gallery talk, or workshop coming up, don't put off your marketing. Start your promotions right now.

What you need to remember when you're promoting something far in advance, is that you have to build up anticipation. You can't just say “I have an exhibition opening September 15” and expect us to get all excited about it. You have to entice us! It's your job to make sure we add it to our calendars, tell our friends about it, and show up when the time comes. We want to be a part of it, but you have to bolster our enthusiasm. You must take the lead.

Instead of just mentioning the date of your event, describe what we're going to see. In order to do a thorough job and put forth your best promotional efforts, take your art apart. Start by listing all of the components of your art.

— For a painter, it would be canvas/support, frame, pigment, texture, subject, line, shape, size, . . .

— For a sculptor, it might be metal, shape, form, size, space, . . .

— For a fiber artist, cloth, technique, embellishments, color,
shape, pattern, . . .

— For a photographer, composition, subject, manipulation, matting, framing, . . .

— For a jewelry artist, metal, beads, gems, clasps, settings, patterns, color, . . .

You get the idea. Whatever kind of work you do, (1) break down the components and make your list. And then, (2) describe each part, making note of how it differs from what other artists do with that part.

Then, take your descriptions and write some interesting text, trying to make it meaningful to your audience. If you want to get us excited about your exhibit, you'd do well to put yourself in our shoes. Think about us and not just about you.

Tell us what the new work is like. Explain how it's different from the work of yours that we may already know. Or tell us how they're the same. Does it relate to something that is currently in the news or something that a lot of people know? If so, draw the connection. That creates meaning.

This is why writing the artist statement is such a valuable process! See The Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement to help you write yours.


You need to understand your art and be able to describe your art before you can launch a solid promotional campaign.

Why wait?

DO THIS———-~>
Start promoting your art exhibition now. All you have to do this week is to take apart your art into the components, describe each one, and write some interesting text around those descriptions. In parts two and three of this series, I discuss breaking down your self-promotion tasks and executing those tasks.

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2 thoughts on “Start Promoting Your Exhibition Now, Part 1: Describe It”

  1. Pingback: Plan Your Exhibit with a Scale Model — Art Biz Blog

  2. Pingback: Start Promoting It NOW — Art Biz Blog

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