At some point in their art careers, many artists are offered the opportunity to take part in an open studios event or art tour in their communities. These events can be lucrative and exciting --and provide many new contacts to help spread the word about your work. They also entail a lot of preparation and time taken away from normal studio life ---and several intensive days of meeting the public and handling all the details of selling work directly during the event. Today we take an inside look at this experience and consider the pros and cons of participating in an open studio or art tour in your own community.
Although many times these events are very positive experiences, there are legitimate reasons you may hesitate. You may view your studio as a private sanctuary and not open to the public for any reason. Or you may not be comfortable selling your own work, or you may simply not anticipate an appreciative audience of your type of work in your area, and dread having to explain what you do. The physical accessibility of your studio and the preparation and time commitment involved during opening hours are also considerations. You may also want to be sure that there are other artists on the tour who you regard as peers, who have a similar approach in terms of pricing and professionalism.
On the other hand, in evaluating whether to join a studio tour or open studios event, there are some positive signs that may persuade you to say yes. It is very helpful if there is a density of artists in your area, and if the event is locally well known and well established. As for your own work, it is good to have work at various price points so that people who are not prepared to buy larger work can find a piece that works for them. It is also good if you can line up some help for the event, maybe someone to participate in the set up or direct traffic, or just be on call if you need something during the event.
Your attitude during the event is important. While it's fine to have expectations to keep you motivated, realize that you will have many people who are simply checking out your work or enjoying seeing your studio and are not there to purchase. That is fine, and you never know what might unfold later as the result of people having had a good experience. It's important to greet everyone, answer questions, and show a friendly attitude.
A studio tour can be a very successful event, provide connections, and help in your involvement with the art community where you live. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to join just because you feel it is expected by other people—there is too much of your time and energy at stake. Deciding whether to participate means considering the pros and cons for your situation, but once you decide to join, a wholehearted attitude will bring the best rewards.
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Rebecca and her partner Jerry McLaughlin are excited to be launching year two of Cold Wax Academy's membership program, which began in October of 2020. In the coming year, live online learning sessions will feature an entirely new set of topics---beginning with a deep dive into technique and the steps involved in developing a painting. Other topics for year 2 include professional development, abstraction and realism, principles of design, and expanded uses for cold wax medium.
As always, members have access to recordings of all previous sessions including everything from the first year, so it's easy to j