For artists, Open Studios is an opportunity to show your work to a ton of people that may have never seen it. It's an kick in the pants to get your stuff together, to sell work, to be recognized, to take part in a wonderful community event, and to have some fun celebrating what you do.
For the visitors, Open Studios means being able to see what happens behind all the closed doors in giant factory buildings, talk to new people and… buy art!! Don't be afraid to buy things you love from artists. They want you to. And the plus side is, you won't have to troll on horrible websites looking for overpriced framed posters for your apartments.
Below are a few tips for both artists and visitors before you head over to Open Studios wherever you may be. Enjoy, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments!
What are you going to show? People will see anything you have out, so only show the work you want to talk about. On the other hand, keep other work easily accessible in case people ask for something they may have seen on your website.
Your work and your studio should look good. This is like an exhibition. Make sure your work is hung/displayed professionally, lit well, and labeled. Same with your studio: keep it cool, have chairs for people that want to hang out, and be approachable. Don't burn incense or serve stinky cheese. Feed people nice food and serve them wine. Make it a party.
Get ready to tell your story. Are you ready to answer 101 questions about yourself and your work? You will be asked and remember that every question is an opportunity. Practice with your loved ones or studio mates. By the end of the Open Studios you will feel much more confident talking about your work.
Printed Materials and take-aways. Business cards and postcards with your name, contact info and an image of your work. Copies of your artists statement, price list and CV. People will take these things, so let them and make them available. They may want to remember your work or share it.
Be professional. If someone wants to buy a piece, be ready to accept payment, give them a receipt and a Bill of Sale. You are a business person. Be ready to pack up the works for people to take with them.
Tell people about it. Your organizing host is most likely working its butt off to make this Open Studios happen. They also rely on you to sent out Facebook invites, newsletters to your mailing list and remind people to come. Also, hang up signs at your address so people know where to go when they get there.
Get sleep. There is nothing worse than being exhausted or hung over while thousands of people storm through your studio. Trust us.
Forge relationships. Talk to everyone! Exchange business cards, collect email addresses and have fun. Follow up when it's all over and thank these amazing visitors for stopping by.
Do your research. Open Studios can be overwhelming, and these days there are many online resources to plan your visit before hand. For instance, Gowanus Open Studios is working with Artsicle to provide an online map for visitors so you can plan your routes ahead of time. There will also be panels, openings and tours available for you to take part in as well.
Ask questions. If a piece interests you or you have simple questions about the work you are seeing, ask! Please ask. The conversations are the best part of it all, and there is no question too simple or complex.
Come prepared to buy something. Just one thing. Even if it's a less expensive piece or a small print from an artist you love. This is a win/win situation: you have something new for your home or to gift a loved one, and the artist sells something! If you want to buy more things, by all means, go ahead.
Forge relationships. This Open Studios is for you! Give the artists your business card, share their work with friends and on social media and be part of the community. It's a whole new world.