One question that I seem to get repeatedly as an artist, and not from viewers but from other artists, is “how do you get your work published?” On my website, you will find a Press section in which I post articles in newspapers, magazines, and sometimes online articles about my work. (Take a look at www.amyguidry.com/press.html) If I had to estimate, I would say that 70% of those originated because I notified writers and editors about my exhibits or announcements. (For the record, Art Calendar’s Louise Buyo contacted me- I just got lucky on that one!) Of course these days, press is viral, so if one blog or paper publishes you, another will then post something. I’ve had that happen a lot as well, which I did not directly influence. Anyway, I want to give you some helpful information to boost your own publicity.
First, assuming you already know what you want to promote, make a list of your local media. If it’s an out-of-state show, you should also do some research and find their media contacts as well. Get some double-duty out of your efforts. Once you have your media contacts- names of actual people, not just the name of the newspaper, etc., you can start writing your press release. I’m no writer, (yes, ironic since I have a blog…), but I always write a press release when I have a show or a big award or something I think the general public may find interesting. In your press release, which I like to limit to a one-page letter for expediency, you should give the usual- who, where, when, how, and why. You don’t want to write a bland description covering all these bases. I know- but isn’t that the writer’s job- to spruce things up? Yes, but there is a lot of news out there in the world, and especially for newspapers, it has to be covered quickly on a daily basis and they don’t have enough writers to possibly cover everything. This means you need to get their attention with something that sounds too great to not write about and make it easy for the writer to get all their information in the least amount of time possible.
So, here’s how to do it: You need a pitch. You can’t just write, “I am having an exhibition this Saturday at the Big Time Art Museum.” Start brainstorming. What reasons do you have for the public to find this interesting? Think in terms of impressing not just your writer or editor, but the public as well since that’s who you’re ultimately trying to impress. Think of what would matter most to the public. What is the most significant factor behind your news? How will it affect the public? Think of this as telling a story, not just stating facts.
Once you have your letter written, you can then add to your press release by including images. Either photographs, or a CD, or a brochure- just something with images pertaining to your news. A CD may be best since the writer can automatically use images from it, but if you can also offer to email high-resolution images. Oh, and be sure to send all of this to your media prospects well in advance of your event. I have found that it can take up to 3 months to get coverage, so the sooner the better. Depending on the publication, they may be booked for awhile and not able to fit your story in on short notice. Regardless, give at least a month’s notice to ensure at least some coverage.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back right away… or at all even. Sometimes it takes a few tries, especially if you are unfamiliar to the media. Be persistent (and patient!). Questions? Feel free to ask. Comments? Let me know. www.AmyGuidry.com
Awhile back I wrote about a potential scam, which then got me into some hot water. I do feel, however, that it is important to discuss this issue since scams seem to run rampant among the art community. (Do emails from Nigeria ring a bell?) To be clear, I am not talking about art competitions that don’t lead to overnight success. I’m talking about competitions that are dead-ends with someone looking to run off with your money. These are the real scams. Often these are run by people with shady financial backgrounds (bankrupt, etc.), but this is not always easy to find on the internet. So here are some common traits I’ve come across:
First, the organization that’s running the competition is probably one you’ve never heard of before. If you do a search for their name on the internet, you may come up with nothing. If other artists have had success with said competition, they post it on the internet via blogs, press articles, resumes, etc. There will be a trail.
If the organization contacts you directly via email, and again, you’ve never heard of them, then where did they get your contact information? This is not to say that every email you get from a stranger is a scam, but usually the email should at least be directly written to you. If it is a mass emailing, then clearly they are just shooting arrows in hopes of hitting a target.
Who are the jurors? Often scams do not give names of jurors. They can certainly make up jurors as well, so that is why I highly recommend you do your research.
One of the more flagrant traits of an art competition scam is the deadline extension. I’ve seen many legit competitions extend a deadline (for example, the original deadline falls on a holiday) but usually the reason for the extension is stated in such a case. And, not to mention, this is usually done by a competition that is well-recognized in the first place. The ones to worry about are the ones that nobody’s ever heard of and they extend their deadline…again…and again…and again. Keep tabs on their websites and you’ll find this to be true.
Lastly, if the prize money is outlandishly big, but their company looks cheap, then it’s probably a scam. Successful arts organizations that have money to dole out, also have money to hire a great marketing team. Their websites will be top-notch, their logo is well-designed, and there are no grammatical errors on their marketing materials. One of the best examples I discovered was a website with overlapping text and photos. You have 10 grand to give me but you don’t have the money to hire a decent web designer? Oh, and their photos should be of actual events and of their actual gallery, etc. If all they have is stock photography (or NO photography), then something is fishy.
I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to further my art career. Unfortunately, there are some losers out there who are looking to take advantage of that. I did a little research online concerning an opportunity I came across that sounded too good to be true. Apparently that’s because it is. ArtistGrants.org is promoting their Biennial Competition with a $10K first place award- yes, 10,000 dollars. Aside from the fantastic prize money, I had to wonder about this since I’d never even heard of them before. I’ve heard of many artist grants organizations, but never this one. So I kept an eye on their site… interestingly enough, I discovered that their entry fee kept changing (increasing, of course) over the past couple of months. And the deadline has been extended three times so far (at least since I’ve discovered this “competition”). And who the hell are the jurors?
Well, further investigation has dug up some more interesting tidbits… According to Art Opportunities Monthly, ArtistGrants.org tried to get their Biennial listed in their classifieds. Turns out AOM discovered their domain had been registered for a matter of days before they were listing their competition. AOM also states that the address provided to them for the listing “was a private home which had been bought for well over the asking price just a short time ago (arousing a newspaper’s suspicions that a kickback and finagling with mortgage money was involved). And now, the house just appeared on the market as a HUD foreclosure, meaning that the extra money the buyers had borrowed will not be paid back.”
In addition, AOM also asked about their organization, judging, funding, etc. and never received a response. I found the same to be true for others’ attempts to contact ArtistGrants.org. So, after finding out all of this, I am steering clear of this “opportunity” and passing on this information to everyone in the blogosphere! Just goes to show that unless you are already familiar with an organization, you should always look into them before entering or sending them money. Many artist listings sites have a disclaimer that they are not responsible if it turns out a listing is a scam and that they do not do background checks, so to speak. So be sure to do your homework!
And I just can’t hide it. If there’s an award for dorky blog titles, I’m sure to receive it shortly. Anyway, as you may have already surmised, I have some good news. No, great news. I’ve been dying to find out the results of a competition I entered recently and as per usual with these things, the results were not announced on time. (I’m no math whiz, but I’d have to say this happens about 97% of the time.) So I was just taking care of emails and got my announcement! My work has been accepted into the 2009 Art Melt to be held at the Brunner Gallery in the Shaw Center for the Arts! Yea! So here’s the really exciting part… normally they only have one juror, but this year they had three. One of which happened to be the curator of Prospect 1, the Art Biennial held in New Orleans recently. Here’s the listing of jurors from the Art Melt site:
Dan Cameron is the visual arts director at the New Orleans Center for Contemporary Art. Cameron served as the director and curator for Prospect.1, the largest biennial of international contemporary art in the United States, recently held in New Orleans. Cameron has previously served as artistic director of the eighth Istanbul Biennial and curated the 2006 Taipei Biennial.
Ann Connelly is a Baton Rouge-based gallery owner with more than 18 years of experience as an art dealer. Her gallery, Ann Connelly Fine Art, represents a wide variety of local and national contemporary artists who have achieved recognition in national collections and publications.
Brian Young is the curator at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Md. With more than a decade of curatorial experience in both traditional and contemporary art, Young has a history of success at Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.
The painting that was chosen is “Metamorphosis” from my New Realm series. It happens to be one of my favorite pieces, so I’m especially happy it was selected. (If you’re new to my work, that’s a photo of it on the left.) The opening reception will take place July 10th from 6:30-10 pm at the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge, LA. You can find out more details at www.artmelt.org.