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Author Topic: Selling prospects at City Hall and similar venues  (Read 2646 times)
Justan
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« on: October 20, 2011, 12:05:51 AM »
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I have some opportunities to have some of my work shown at a couple of City Hall and similar venues. Am wanting to know if others have done this and if it is a good way to sell prints?

TIA!
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alainbriot
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 11:49:56 AM »
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Any venue where the public is invited has the potential of being propitious for sales. However, it is important to keep in mind these pointers:

1 - Has there been art shows organized there previously?
2 - Is this a public show where you actively sell your work (such as a street show or similar) or is it an exhibit where you hang your work and 'hope for the best?"
3 - The venue is only 1 of several elements in defining your eventual success or failure.
4 - In the light of the previous remark, how much experience do you have with marketing and salesmanship?
5 - Do you have a 'VIP' list of collectors you can invite personally to the show?
6 - Is your work and pricing structure appropriate for this venue?
7 - Will the organizer advertise the show or is this up to you?
8 - Will the organizer want a cut of your sales, and if yes is their cut agreable to you or excessive?

Alain
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Justan
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 01:21:46 PM »
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Hi Alain,

Thanks for the detailed inquiry!

I've done research at exhibiting in 3 different cities. They are similar in their offerings. The opportunity is to exhibit work on the walls of some City designated public spaces, such as City Hall. They have on-going, well lighted exhibits and replace the exhibits approximately monthly. They are not attended exhibits, not even an opening night event, as I understand it. IIRC the City takes no percentage from any sales of this type (except, of course for sales tax). My prices are very competitive.

I've been a fairly successful business owner for well over 20 years and have learned a bit about sales and marketing in that time. Some of the nuances of photography sales are a bit murky due to the particulars of the art market place and the economic constraints in which most now live.

I figure it’s probably exposure, maybe good, but my key concern is about who may notice. On the one hand, there are a lot of people who come and go through City Hall, including notably attorneys and their clients, and anyone with business with the City. Regulars would know about the on going art exhibits. But it’s the kind of place where many have other concerns and are not receptive to art, following the concept known as “Pearls before breakfast.”

In addition, a museum director hinted I would have a better opportunity to get works shown there if I did a show at City Hall first. So it might be a stepping-stone kind of opportunity.

The bad news is that the City takes no responsibility for goods left at the site. Someone could walk off with one or all of my 6’ long spectacular framed panos and no one would try to stop them.

So while I might I accept the risk, I’d like to hear from someone who has tried this kind of venue.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 01:23:23 PM by Justan » Logged

alainbriot
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 01:26:45 PM »
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Justan,

You mention exposure as motivation.  Here are some of my thoughts on this subject:

Exposure does not pay the bills. Money does.  In my experience a 'display show' (a show where you hang your work and 'hope for the best') in a public building will not bring financially rewarding results.  I did some of these, before I knew any better, and the results were disappointing.  I came back with knowledge (not to do it again) but not money.  

A direct sale (a show in which you are present and that takes place on a specific date) might, provided the pointers I posted previously are adhered to, in particular inviting VIPs and using sound marketing and salesmanship skills.  

One question: are you looking for fame or fortune?  Personally, I realized early on that getting both when starting a business wasn't possible.  I had to make a choice.  I chose fortune because I couldn't afford to become famous.  I had bills to pay and fame wasn't accepted as form of payment. Creating art is expensive and time consuming, and working for compliments ('beautiful work') isn't enough for me.

Alain
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 01:44:55 PM by alainbriot » Logged

Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Justan
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 02:20:04 PM »
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> In my experience a 'display show' (a show where you hang your work and 'hope for the best') in a public building will not bring financially rewarding results.  I did some of these, when I did not know any better, and the results were disappointing. 

This is exactly what I was looking for. First hand experience. THANK YOU!

Take me a step further, if you are willing. Have you shown works in museums? Is this a good selling venue?

> A direct sale (a show in which you are present and that takes place on a specific date) might, provided the pointers I posted previously are adhered to, in particular inviting VIPs and using sound marketing and salesmanship skills. 

This was similar to the approach I took when I was starting with my company. I have a lot of examples. In summary, it worked very well.

Lets talk a bit about Gallery sales.  Do you find them a good venue for sales?  Or do you stay with the 1 to 1 kind of venues?

Thanks for your time. I really appreciate an opportunity to discuss a little about marketing & sales.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 02:58:44 PM »
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Justan,

Museums are not in the business of selling art.  They are in the business of showing art.  For my purposes, as an income-generating artist, they are useless. They're great for making you famous though, however as I mentioned fame is not my purpose.

Galleries are not on my list either.  I like to make 100% of the sale, not 50% or less.  Plus, I'm not OK with providing free inventory to businesses.  In my book, if a store (a gallery is a store) wants to sell my work, they need to buy it first. 

In short, I sell my work myself.  You can see how I do this on my website. 

How did I get started?  With art shows.  Art shows are the best place to get experience and generate immediate sales. 

Alain
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Justan
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 03:20:14 PM »
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Thank you for this thoughtful and experience-rich feedback! I’ll definitely keep it in mind.
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alainbriot
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 03:23:35 PM »
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No problem.  One question:what kind of business did you have ?  YOu mentioned it several times and I'd like to know where you are coming from.  Thanks. 

Alain
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Alain Briot
Author of Mastering Landscape Photography, Mastering Composition, Creativity and Personal Style., Marketing Fine Art Photography and How Photographs are Sold.
http://www.beautiful-landscape.com
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 03:32:46 PM »
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Quote
Have you shown works in museums? Is this a good selling venue?

i have always found personally that museum exhibits (though not for sales) always lead to sales, sometimes including sales for the museum permanent collection itself. Beyond that museum shows give you allot of credibility and credibility can allow you to charge more for your work. For me museum shows have always been a win/win situation.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 03:34:23 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
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LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
Justan
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 05:13:26 PM »
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No problem.  One question:what kind of business did you have ?  YOu mentioned it several times and I'd like to know where you are coming from.  Thanks. 

Alain

I have run (and stull do) a network and computer consulting company for over 20 years. We serve the needs of some for profit and non-profit enterprises. In the past I did shows to promote the use of network tools at local business conventions. It was 1 to 1 sales and worked very well.

From what I've learned, I need to have some “street creed” (something for the resume) to get into many galleries and artists cooperatives. In turn gallery experience is required to get in to the bigger art shows, of which there are too few locally. That seems the core vetting process.

I'm considering setting up at one or more local “Home Show” venues as those are fairly high volume 3-5 day events where people look for impulse purchases. That kind of thing would be 1 to 1 sales.

So I guess the real challenge in this is to find where local/regional art shows and similar festivals take place and to do enough display work to satisfy the would be jurors and gallery owners.

Do many use the model of getting their work into a larger number of galleries around a region?
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Justan
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 05:22:54 PM »
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i have always found personally that museum exhibits (though not for sales) always lead to sales, sometimes including sales for the museum permanent collection itself. Beyond that museum shows give you allot of credibility and credibility can allow you to charge more for your work. For me museum shows have always been a win/win situation.

Thanks!

In this particular circumstance that would amount to a vote in favor of showing at venues such as City Hall as one is said to lead to the other. Plus i just found out that one of the Cities actively promotes the exhibits to local art community.
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joneil
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« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2011, 10:10:59 AM »
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    If you are displaying at city hall, choose photographs that, as the old song goes, accentuate the positive.   Leave the front page of your local newspaper for all the bad news, it's too easy to see and find anymore.   What people don't see and hear anymore is the good things in life.  Very few people ever contact city hall, any city hall, to just say think or tell them what a wonderful job they are doing.  Regardless if they deserve this or not, this is NOT the point, my point is for almost everybody who works at city hall, and even the people who come there for business, it' like working in the trenches of a WW1 battlefield.

    I speak partly from experience here.  No, I do not have a display at city hall, but I have just come out with a 2012 wall calendar with images of our local city,  and the reception has been far beyond my expectations in terms of positive response, including city hall. 

good luck

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Justan
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2011, 10:43:10 AM »
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Congrats and thanks for the tips!
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