There are a few goals you want to achieve with an art exhibit or an art show. One is to show your art to the public, to share your ideas and to possibility make a positive change in the world with your art.
Another goal would be to sell your artworks to collectors.
And the third would be to gain new collectors and fans.
The trick is to make them glad that they came to your exhibit. I’m surprised at how many artists and even gallerists and curators don’t know how to do this.
You know the feeling; you are excited to go to the solo show of an artist that you’ve been a fan of for years. You are finally going to purchase a piece of their art, and you are so glad to get to meet them in person. You arrive to the gallery, only to be disappointed by the lack of friendliness and interest that the artist has in you. You leave, empty handed.
If you don’t make the attendees feel welcome and glad that they came, then not only did you lose a sale that night, but you’ve lost a sale from that person forever. It’s the little things that make the difference.
Here is a list of six things you can do to make sure that every person that comes to your exhibit will leave feeling a little closer to you and your art:
1. Greet every person at the door and tell them “I’m glad you’re here!” Shake their hand. (If you can’t greet every person, make sure that your people are helping you.)
2. Ask everyone what their name is and where they are from. Engage and act as though you are interested in them.
3. Direct every new arrival to the first piece they should have a look at or where they should begin.
4. The art world is a small one. It will be good manners to connect your guests with other guests “Oh, Tom, I want you to meet Phil. He’s been an admirer of your art for some time.”
5. Offer to give a tour of your new paintings – walk the guest or small groups of people from one painting to another, answering their questions as you go.
6. When someone’s leaving, thank them for coming, and mean it.
Just these small actions will make the difference between your event being memorable or not.
What if you’re shy or not a people person? Many artists have trouble being outgoing. That’s okay – just as you learned to paint, you can learn to be friendly and act interested in people. It doesn’t take a lot to say hello to everyone that walks into your exhibit. And it’s just as easy to thank them when they are leaving.
Make the effort, and the rewards will come back to you tenfold.