Managing the Press
Every artist wants to receive more press, and why not? It is part of how you get your message out into the world! The first thing you have to know about the press is that they are looking for good stories, not just good art. If you are having a show at a gallery or at a fair or just about anywhere, you can send out a press release to let the press know. There are many resources online to help you write a press release, but it is fairly simple. You must write a text as though it were an article already written about your show, in the third person. So you might start out saying something like, “The exhibit of Barne’s work is an arresting show of portraits that evoke emotions and memories of missing children.” Begin your press release with a strong first line that will draw the reader in. Then continue the writing and explain why the show is a must-see. End it with the information needed to see the show, the date, time, and address of the opening, and the close date. A public relations person once told me that the press are just like you and me, and make decisions about going out based on what seems exciting to them— personally.
Put yourself in the position of the journalist who is reading your press release. You read a lot of press releases every day, why should you go to this show? Something has to stick out; something must be special about this event. One way to make it more appealing is to have more things happening there than just the show. Performers, lectures, food, etc. I get a lot of invitations to shows in which I do not know the artist or the work, and generally, I don’t go to them. However, not long ago, I got an announcement about an opening near me that also featured a poetry reading, jugglers, a band, and free ice cream! That sparked my interest! I grabbed my son and went right down there. I looked at the art, had some ice cream, and learned how to juggle! A journalist reacts the same way; they want to spend their time in the most interesting way possible, just like you and me. So when you are having your exhibit, consider adding something else to the mix to make people notice and want to come. Perhaps all the things I mentioned at the opening I went to, or something edgier, like burlesque dancer(s) or fire eaters or anything else that would make you raise your eyebrows and think, “Wow, that sounds interesting!” If you can get a celebrity there or a popular local band, that will also bring the press in. It doesn’t matter if your show is in a local coffee house or a gallery. But make it worth going to.
To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here. To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.