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A Guest Post by Eva Polak
Having a group or a solo exhibition is without a doubt one of the best experiences an artist can have. Not only can you show off your work, but you also have a unique opportunity to talk to people who have come to see your photography. Apart from developing a great body of work, you need to think about promoting your exhibition. By publicizing your work you will attract the attention of potential buyers, curators, fellow artists and members of the public. With careful planning you can turn this task into a fun and easy exercise.
A very important first step is to think of your goals and objectives and write them down. What are you trying to accomplish and how are you going to do it? Without a plan of action and with so many different options available to you it will be difficult to keep track of your task and make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Sometimes you have no control over the dates for your exhibition. But, if you can choose the dates, choose carefully! You’ll get a better turnout if you arrange to have your exhibition not to coincide with major art, music or sport events happening in your region. You obviously want people to come, so it would be easier if you didn’t have to compete not only for your audience but also for media coverage.
You should allow six to nine months to plan your exhibition. Use a spreadsheet or a year planner, note down which activities you will do and when you will do them.
Ultimately you want to tell people about your exhibition. But to maximize your promotion efforts you need to identify your audience. In other words you must have a sense of who’d be interested in your work. When you know your audience it’s so much easier to directly target them using the right channels. If you want to get noticed in a show, it really is up to you to get to know and invite people who could be important to your future like curators, journalist, and gallery owners.
Using press releases is a great way to get the word out to various publicity outlets. Sending a generic press release usually is not going to be enough for a journalist to write a story about you or your photography. But if you come up with interesting story or angle that will attract the target audience of the magazine or newspaper you are contacting, you increase your chances dramatically. There’s no guarantee it’ll get published… but you’ll never know until you try. Using social media Internet and social media is with out a doubt the biggest and cheapest marketing tool available to you. By using sites like Facebook, Twitter or Flickr you can easily select your target audience and measure your results. The most important aspect to remember is that these sites are a social platform first. Don’t expect people to respond to commercial messages. You need to build relationships and that takes time and commitment.
There are so many places on the Internet that you can use to advertise your exhibition for free. First should be your website, of course, then look for the websites of local newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations. Most of them have a section called “what’s on”. You can also use on online event calendars such as Upcoming.com, Craigslist, Yahoo, etc. Research your local art and photography organizations. They can not only advertise your exhibition but also give you advice and support.
Mailing List Building and maintaining your mailing list is crucial. People who signed up for your mailing list are your audience who are interested in hearing from you. What you need to do is to simply send them the invitation.
It’s easier than ever to produce high quality invitation using digital printing. It’s quite important to have it designed professionally. After all, you want to promote your work. When your invitation looks nice, it’s more likely that the people are going to keep it and remember about your exhibition.
Before printing ask a friend to double-check your spellings and dates. You can distribute your invitation in libraries, art centers, coffee shops, information centers, photography stores, etc. – wherever you think is appropriate and will generate interest.
Check out more of Eva Polak’s work at evapolak.com