The easiest way to get involved with sharing and selling your work? Begin right where you are.
Find local organizations, and join them – An art community helps keep individual artists involved, and not working in isolation. It can provide resources, opportunities, feedback and even mentorship. Consider these organizations as a way to expand your network.
Volunteer – Help out by curating and hanging shows, working at the co-op gallery, designing posters, teaching your skills, or assisting at a festival. There is a lot to be gained by getting to know the influencers in your local art community. As a volunteer, you can build friendships, get recommendations, and opportunities to further your own exposure and sales. This can lead to inclusion in local exhibitions, and can grow organically to other regional, and even national shows. All built from a desire to get involved.
Do local fairs and festivals – Many artists start out in a local venue because it’s close, easy to do, and likely less expensive than shows that require traveling. It gives you the chance to do some “retail research” and find out who responds to your work, and what is selling. Are you connecting well with your customers? There is nothing that can replace face-to-face conversation. Embrace the “shop local” movement and promote yourself as an artist who lives right in the community.
Cultivate local collectors – What if you found out that local people were your best collectors? You wouldn’t be the first to discover this. If your work has a hometown flavor, or if you fit a niche that is perfect for your area, take advantage of selling to the locals. Then, sell to them again.
Research local shops and galleries – Interested in consigning or wholesaling your work? Begin the process of prospecting and contacting shop owners in your local area. This DIY series will get you started. The benefit of working locally is that you are close enough to stop in to check on your merchandise or display, and make personal appearances or do trunk shows.
Participate in art walks and open studio events in your area – Local events like these bring people right into your studio, where they can get to know you and what you do. This is an excellent opportunity to build your mailing list, give demonstrations and become known.
Seek local press. Newspapers and magazines are always seeking material, and artists are fascinating to most people. It can often be fairly easy to connect with reporters for a local paper, or local bloggers, and get an article published about you. Branch out from there by using your press exposure to reach out to regional magazines.