It Pays To Be Present


Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

Barbara Burns

On the third Friday of the month, from June through September, the town of Bath, Maine hosts an Art Walk.  The town of Bath is a tourist destination, as is the whole state of Maine. The Bath Art Walk is a very popular event and brings lots of folks into town for music, entertainment and shopping.

Markings Gallery, where my work is represented is a semi-cooperative, high end, art/craft gallery in Bath. As a member of the gallery I always make a point of being there for the Art Walks and other public occasions. I enjoy talking with folks who come in and I’m often asked what work I have in the gallery.  This past month I was there, as usual, talking with an aquaintence of mine from town. She asked about my work so I showed her some pieces and within minutes she had chosen something to purchase saying “I would not have noticed the piece if you hadn’t shown me.” It pays to be present.

This was my second season with the gallery and the first time I had sold a piece during an Art Walk because I was there.  If you have work in a gallery that has art walks, openings or any kind of occasion where the public is invited, I suggest you go and be willing to talk with people. If you are shy and find it difficult to talk with strangers, just say “Hello, welcome to the gallery.” That lets folks know you are with the gallery. They may ask you questions and you are in a conversation. Encourage the gallery to have name tags for the artists so people know who you are. Many people are more likely to buy the work of an artist they have met. They like to have a personal interaction with the artist and then they have a story to tell when people admire the work in their collection, and we do hope they have a collection. Your presense also shows the gallery you are serious about your relationship with them and that you don’t take them for granted. The days of galleries doing all the work are in the past. We as artists need to be more pro-active when it comes to selling our work. As tapestry artists we still need to educate our audience. let them know the value of our work and how it stands against other mediums, fine art in particular. If people see that we are serious about our work, they will be more willing to see us in that light as well.