Wine & Cheese AGAIN???

The awesome and amazing Matt LeBlanc was generous enough to talk with me this week about his Fusion art and entertainment event, which he deliberately created to be different from the same old wine-and-cheese openings.
More than an opening, Fusion is an annual sold-out EVENT.

Deep Thought

What can artists and galleries do differently to attract more viewers and give them a memorable evening?
What's an alternative to the expected wine-and-cheese receptions?
C'mon! Y'all are creative. Let's rock the status quo and get creative with events.
Give me your best ideas. Nothing is too crazy!

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17 thoughts on “Wine & Cheese AGAIN???”

  1. Last summer I hosted a BBQ Rib cook-out/Art Showing that was a huge hit! I sold lots of art and attracted quite a few new clients by giving the ribs top billing in my marketing efforts. I’m definitely doing it again,

  2. Hi Alyson! I am staging my event as just that…An Afternoon with the Artist- an Open Studio Event! Doing a demo with a few give aways and come sip and see! I also have a mock up painting of the 4 stage process to share so folks can get involved with how I paint! I am having some wine and appetizers but keeping it very elegant and fun too! Will let you know how it goes….tomorrow!!!

  3. My old art guild has some amazing cooks. Everyone would bring in their specialty dish which were distributed throughout the show, with recipe card available. The artists were present to discuss art and food. And there was a drawing for one of the display pieces at the end of the event (a two day event). The patrons loved the event.
    PS: I love the rib idea!

  4. There are three floors of artists where I have a studio; last night was our city’s annual gallery tour and we were on the tour route. We had open studios with live music; a flute and guitar duo was outside of my door and there was a different music group on each floor. A collector’s draw was held as a local fundraiser; the participating artists did a makeover of old record album covers. Each studio had refreshments, I had wine, made hot apple cranberry cider and had Christmas cookies. It was a nice opportunity for people to window shop, shop, or to enjoy the atmosphere and visit with the artists.

  5. The Gallery/Co-op I’m part of had food/wine every single month for the dowtown gallery walk, and this past weekend I was thinking just that. Ugh, I’m tired of the usual. So I placed an order of Crab Rangoons from my favorite chinese place. They were a HIT. I’m thinking about the gallery trying to feature a local resteraunt every month instead of the same old stuff. Living in a college town, there’s lots of yummy, inexpensive food.
    I do a home sale with a friend of mine (this weekend) and all the artists are to bring a treat to share with the customers (usually holiday-oriented) and we the artists make it into a social event with a potluck too. Some interesting food comes out of it for sure.
    The Fusion video is awesome, and has given me ome more ideas to spice things up. Thanks for the post!

  6. If you can get them in, like Frist Friday Art Walk…
    Big sheet of white paper on a wall with colored markers nearby and an invitation to comment, draw around a theme. Be sure to have a couple on non-artisty looking comments, drawings already on the paper, even stage someone writing on the paper, to seduce participation. Most folks get into playing on paper when the atmosphere is inviting. Music is good, soft, non-strident stuff.

  7. CAKE! I hosted an Art Tea with my talented cake-making friend. I did paintings based on her cake flavors and recipes She deaigned cakes insoired by my work. We exhibited them together and she served tea and samples of her cake. It waa great.

  8. At my recent solo show I offered to do an artist walk thru. It was not part of opening nite but a few weeks later on a Sunday afternoon. After the walk thru I partnered with a friend who just started a pie making business and she served pie from her fall menu. We also had ice tea. It was a great way to cross promote our businesses and for me it was a good way to get people to come out for the talk. So it was win -win!

  9. I’ve done a “tea party” opening day instead of wine too. it was fun. And one open studio I tried to make a seaside beach day in the middle of November. Bunting, ocean sounds, cakes and soft drinks, even ice cream in the cooler. (which didn’t last very well! haha!)
    For my AmericanBrits 2-man show in January we’re doing an American night on Friday – complete with imported sodas, sweets and things. Maybe a giant US flag! (just thought of that) We’re inviting the American Club, ex-pat magazine readers, embassy folk… and I’m trying to get a sponsor of food from one companies that imports US goodies for ex-pats.
    I’ve seen this done and go badly though. The open studios group I used to be in added on music, barbeque, workshops, etc and it distracted from the studios – one of our worst visitor numbers (coming into the studios) and sales years ever.

  10. Our group of Petticoat Painters recently had a show where we invited poets to choose a painting and write a poem about it which they then read at the opening. It created a lot of interest among the poets and brought more people to enjoy the show.

  11. I’ve been following Matt LeBlanc for a while, he’s terrific at promoting and marketing himself. His event ‘Fusion’ looks like a really entertaining evening. But in the end, does it sell art?? I have to wonder about all those ‘attractions’ to get people to come; do they help sales, or do they distract? If people come for the food or the entertainment, that may end up being a lot of expense and energy output to give everyone a good time, but if your purpose is to show and sell art, does it really help? I guess I should be asking Matt himself.

    1. Suzette: Matt is very clear that he does Fusion to build fans. I think it works. He recently told me he has 30 commissions lined up (down from 40 earlier in the year).

  12. At my preview party this year I did serve (sparkling) wine and cheese, but the wine was really terrific South African champagne, and I had a sommelier there to give a 10 minute talk about how to buy and drink South African bubbly. The cheese was from an artisanal cheese maker, and that, too, was special. So I think you can do wine and cheese, but step it up a notch.
    I have had openings without alcohol, and I must say the sales are not as good, at least from my patrons. (your mileage may vary, of course).

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