Sunday, September 03, 2017
"Open Your Studio: Nine Steps To A Successful Art Event"
Melinda Cootsona (melindacootsona.com) is a Bay Area painter and art teacher with family in Chico. Over the years she's gained experience in hosting or participating in Open Studio events; that's where the public is invited to meet the artist, see the artist's domain, and view and purchase selected works. But there's much more to it than putting out a sign that says "the artist is in!"
Cootsona has distilled her advice into a no-nonsense manual that guides the artist into the business side of things. "Open Your Studio: Nine Steps To A Successful Art Event" ($14.95 in paperback from RedDot Press; also for Amazon Kindle) "is a step-by-step guide written to encourage artists to participate in Open Studios."
It's timely help--and motivation--for those preparing for the 30th annual Chico Art Center Open Studios Art Tour (OSAT) October 21-22 and October 28-29. There's a preview exhibition October 6-29, a reception, and more (see facebook.com/CACOSAT2017).
What Cootsona wants to do is demystify the "commerce" side of art. "Selling your own art," she writes, "can be done successfully without 'selling out' or compromising your integrity."
What should the artist show? "Put your best/favorite pieces at one end and arrange them down to your least favorite. Try to be objective in looking at the quality" and then "show only your best work."
"It will hang on someone's wall and they will remember you when they see it. How much they like the art determines if they'll return. So, if you need to eliminate some of your pieces because you don't feel they are as strong, do it!" Make sure the presentation is "cohesive"; eliminate those works that don't seem to "fit" with the others.
The chapters on pricing are worth the cost of admission. Key ideas: "Never price a work according to your own emotional attachment to it"; "always be consistent with your pricing, no matter what your medium"; and "discounting your work cheapens it."
Cootsona gets into some nitty-gritty details but reminds artists to "create what you want to create and what speaks to you … people will see passion in your work."
And they will be moved.