An artist has solved a huge dilemma around our quirky art studio hours…
(4 minute read)
In last week’s column about recognizing our “team”, I shared how we can connect and benefit from our contacts who have skills we lack—and need!
This week, I’m delighted to share a new website that resolves one of my greatest problems as a professional artist: It provides our audience and people who don’t know us yet with the means to visit our studio.
A long-time reader reached out to me a couple weeks ago. Bill Snider is an artist who’s created StudioDoorz, a website featuring a listing of participating artists’ studios across the country, and around the world. His project was featured in the 12/03/2020 issue of Boulder, CO’s newspaper, Daily Camera.
It’s pretty small right now, with just under a couple hundred participants right now. But it’s a major accomplishment, with the potential for huge growth.
Because one of my biggest pet peeves with Yelp, Google Business listings, Google Maps, and most of the open studio events I’ve been in, is that their listings don’t accommodate “open by appointment” for our business hours.
That may not seem like a big deal, but it is. (When I was in a more public studio, I used, “Open by chance or by appointment”, but in my current situation, I have to know you’re coming in order to even let you into the building.)
And yet artist studios deserve this option.
We’re a small business, with just as much of a presence as a burger joint or a swanky restaurant.
But very few of us keep “regular business hours”.
I’ve asked orgs that publish catalogs for their open studio events to add something, a brief comment or a symbol, that lets people know if an artist can offer an appointment for a studio visit. (Maybe next year? I hope!)
Bill and I are on the same page with this. When people visit our studio, it can be the most powerful way for new visitors to experience, and connect with, our art.
They not only get to see so much of our artwork, they get to meet us. They get to see who we are. We get to have deep conversations about the why and the how of our work. They get to see our sacred creative space.
My work rarely sells at a one-off event. It’s different, it’s not cheap, and it can take people awhile to understand what they’re looking at. Literally! At my very first small art show in Keene NH, visitors who were intrigued would stare deeply at my work. After a bit, I would ask, “What do you think?” They always answered, “It’s beautiful, I’ve never seen anything like it, and I don’t know what I’m looking at.”
From the very beginning, that taught me something important:
Yes, there are plenty of people who couldn’t care less about my work. But there are also plenty of people who do, and even some who love it enough to buy it.
But it takes time. And as a friend told me last year, “Art events aren’t about making money TODAY.”
Galleries help, of course, and social media marketing is an increasingly good way to get our work out into the world.
But a studio visit is the icing on the cake. It creates the most personal, intimate way to engage a potential collector (or passionate admirer) with our work.
Bill has created a website that works like Yelp/Google for artists. Visitors who are traveling, tourists, etc. can use the site to find artists in a specific area or city, or even country.
They can read the artists’ statement/bio/resume. They can view the work.
And they can contact the artist through the website to make a studio appointment, either ahead of time or in the moment.
Now, this isn’t like using Facebook, where anyone and everyone can see our posts. It’s not like an open studio event, which can attract dozens, or even hundreds of visitors, but only take place once or twice a year. It’s not like “First Friday” or whatever, when all galleries and studios in a city are open, (which can quickly wear down the novelty of such events.)
Instead, if someone is traveling to “wine country” in Sonoma County, and they are also interested in art, they can search for that area on StudioDoorz, explore the artists that are compelling to them, and arrange for a studio visit.
I’m so excited about this new website, I joined in a heartbeat. The cost is a mere $5/month, or $50 for a year’s subscription.
It’s not a website host, like FASO. It’s not for buying artwork, though we can upload around two dozen images of our studio and our work.
It’s simply a way for someone to explore the area, find the artists there, reach our website, if they want to learn more, and to discover us in a way that would otherwise be almost impossible to do.
Remember that delightful quote from the animated movie Hercules, when Hades (the villain) visits the three Fates (who can see the future)? “Indoor plumbing. It’s gonna be BIG!!”
StudioDoorz.com. It’s gonna be BIG!
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