Some free ways to promote your art show
This article will offer advice on how to promote an online art exhibition. A lot of the tips are equally relevant to bricks and mortar shows. I’ll cover different ways to promote your online art exhibition, tips for creating a buzz beforehand and why evergreen content is vital for your marketing. An exhibition is an opportunity to strengthen your practice, your connections and your focus. The most important thing is to celebrate this success and enjoy promoting your hard work!
Launch time and date build up
You’re jubilant that you have a show coming up and are literally counting the days to launch. Feeling Excited? Share it with the world! Plan out a 6 week strategy to build a buzz around the launch date.
See post here for a six week strategy
Your mailing list is the backbone to any promotion. Create a campaign leading up to the show (maybe a month or so before) with some teaser content then reveal more about the works as you get closer to the launch date. Make a big deal out of this show. Part of the magic of online exhibitions is that they are as accessible to your collectors abroad as well as your near neighbours. It’s a perfect opportunity to include the subscribers who cannot attend the physical shows.
Approaching the organisers
Always have pre-prepared content on hand to send in to the organisers for promotional purposes. If the organisers don’t request this, put the offer out there. A professional style studio photo plus behind the scenes photos or video makes it easier for them to promote you via their social media and website. Ask in advance if there’s anything you can prepare that they would be happy to share, for example a blog article about the works.
Bravery is rewarded and the more you put yourself out there as a professional artist the greater the rewards.
Check if there are virtual events planned to compliment the show. If not, volunteer to do an Instagram takeover, live talk or artist interview.
You can see my interview with artist Oliver Lovley here.
Sponsors / Brand Collab
Depending on the nature of the online exhibition there may be an opportunity for sponsorship. An example of this would be if the show is entirely produced in one medium, for example acrylic paint. Approaching a paint sponsor with a clear strategy for reaching and engaging with paint-buyers could lead to a great collaboration.
Connect with other artists in the show
Check who else it is in the show. The longer you’ve been a working artist the more chance you’ll start to recognise names on the exhibiters lists. If you have a connection to another artist involved already talk to them about a joint social media campaign. If you don’t know the other artists here’s a chance to build connections. Art is an openhearted world and every show is a chance to connect with radiant creatives. In my own experience of reaching out to collaborate with other artists the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Some who couldn’t collaborate at the time I’ve worked with years later. Share the love, if it’s a group show explore the pieces that truly delight you and talk about them. When you genuinely engage with another artist’s work the connection is more effortless and you can support one another.
Here’s an example of a collaboration I did with artist Zophiel Webb, after connecting on Instagram, it was entirely online (we have never met or spoken on the phone) and it was an absolute joy to do.
E flyers and email lists
To re-iterate my earlier statement, your email list is the backbone of every publicity campaign you run. We’ve all recently felt the dangers of social media platforms changing their algorithms. Your mailing list is your way to communicate directly with people who want to hear from you.
People love to hear the secrets behind artwork. It’s fascinating. Hearing the untold story creates a sense of reward for your loyal supporters. It’s a great (free) way to share your artistic vision and promote your online art exhibition to your supporters.
E-Flyers as part of a launch campaign can work well. In an E-Flyer you can include all the details a physical flyer would have, exhibition title, dates running and artists listed. You can also include a few images and save in PDF format.
It’s remarkable who you can connect with online. Many artist accounts with large followings are still run by the artist so don’t be nervous about reaching out to comment on their posts. If you love one of the pieces they have in the show share with them why it captured your imagination. You can tag other artists and (with permission) feature their works in promotional content for the show.
One of the hard things about online art exhibitions is that there are no glossy installation shots. To combat this, take some great photos of the work in your studio. Use this alongside a clear screen grab to promote the show. You could even experiment with different backgrounds, like taking the work outside to photograph (be prepared for passer by comments!).
Pluck up the courage to share the story behind the artwork in the exhibition. Invite new people into your artist process. A small, highly engaged following on social media has more power than a large disengaged one.
Live virtual events
Most often the organisers will have some virtual launch event planned. If not, it’s amazing how easy it is to access online communities. You could do a simple Instagram or Facebook live. Or you could go for a spectacular Zoom live where each artist speaks in front of their works and shares something with the group. Brownie points for dressing up as if it’s a Private View.
There are so many uses for video content! Social Media is wonderful for short videos to grab viewer attention. Longer videos work well for evergreen content. An incredible plus of video is that long after the online exhibition ends people can still find the YouTube or Vimeo links and learn more about your work.
You can Vlog about what you’ve created too. Videos on your website are really useful when applying for future opportunities.
Blog about it
Similar to video content, blog articles have an evergreen quality. Once the online exhibition ends the blog content will remain accessible. Here’s a great chance to share more in depth process stories.
Have faith that people are tuning in. We all get disheartened stat checking and wondering if anyone other than our mother (Hi Mum!) is reading what we write. Remember that the right person is still only one person. The more you show your achievements the more likely that you’ll be invited to opportunities in the future.
Value Added Content
Digital exhibitions offer a unique chance to share special content alongside the artwork. You could sell NFTs alongside physical work, like this amazing digital creation from artist Jason Seife, ‘The New Flying Carpet’. Perhaps you’ll create process videos for subscribers, or maybe offer prints on demand of your art.
If you’re selling works online think about what you can offer alongside the artwork, can the buyer gain instant access to a high resolution download before the work is shipped? Do you want to share a personalised video with them thanking them for their purchase? Check with the organisers about what’s possible and be audacious with your ideas.
If you reach out to other artists who are involved you can empower the whole artist community. They will be happy to be promoted and you will have access to their contacts via the co-working process.
We’ve covered some ways to promote your online art exhibition, ways to connect to other artists you’re working with and building a mix of evergreen and transient content. I’d love to hear about your online exhibitions and how you promote them in the comments below or you can catch me on Instagram.
Artist — JASON SEIFE (jason-seife.com)
The New Flying Carpet | Nifty Gateway (Jason Seife NFT work)
DRAWING TOGETHER ONLINE – Society of Graphic Fine Art (sgfa.org.uk)
Charlie Kirkham talks to Oliver Lovley
Artist Print Room – not a print on demand service but offer small batches and excellent quality – https://www.theartistsprintroom.co.uk/
Zophiel Webb https://zophielwebb.com/about/
CHARLIE KIRKHAM NEWSLETTER
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