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This article reprinted from John T. Unger's Art Heroes. The original article can be found online:
© 2010, John T Unger
Art Heroes Review
There's nothing quite so exciting as opening night at a show you've worked hard to create new art for… but at the same time, quite a few artists are nervous when it comes to talking about their work. Working the crowd at a gallery opening or art fair is equal parts stage show, social function, classroom and business meeting. Here are a few of the questions I've been asked about how to put your best foot forward at an art event.
- At a group show, how do you tell who is a buyer and who is another artist?
- If you invite friends to your opening, how do you balance time with
them and time with potential clients?
- At gallery openings, how do you break the ice? How do you just go up to someone and start talking about your art (especially if they didn't approach you first)?
- Should you have a prepared statement ready about the pieces you are showing, or just talk informally about your work? How do you avoid coming off as arrogant, pushy or self-centered?
- How do you find ways to engage people personally so that they take an interest in the ideas or methods used in your art?
- How long should you spend talking to people? Is it better to spend more time with a couple people who are really interested or should you spend shorter periods with more people?
- How should you dress for an opening? Is formal dress required, or are jeans okay?
- What if people tell you they don't like your art? Do you ask questions to find out why or do you just say thanks and exit gracefully?
- What's the best way to follow up with potential buyers you meet at an opening?
- Is drinking at an opening an okay way to take the edge off any anxiety you may feel?