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The Benefits of Exhibitions

One of the hardest things for me to do (which is true of other artists) is to price my work, especially for commissions. I tried developing a formula: for example, square inch x dollar amount. Or (hourly wage x hours spent) + cost of materials

This isn't me. I'm too lazy to keep track of hours, or to note how much I used in paint, or paper.

In the spring, I began to receive requests for commissioned artwork through the shop where I sell my greeting cards and prints. Suddenly, it was important to find a consistent base for pricing. It came to me that maybe I should check the local pricing of other artists. (well, duh?) I browsed around and found a website that is a gallery AND a working studio in Fredericksburg, Virginia. LibertyTown Arts Workshop has an extensive site. There are over 60 in-house artists, in a variety of mediums: oil, acrylics, decoupage, you name it. Add to this, pottery, glass blowing, weaving, and more. It was a pleasure to browse anonymously to see the work AND the shop pricing. I found a watercolor artist whose technique is similar to mine. My pricing seemed to be low in comparison.

While browsing, I noticed an upcoming exhibition, "Feast for the Eyes." LibertyTown has monthly exhibitions, usually with themes. They lay out a prospectus for the artist, and you submit your work based on the subject matter or theme. The monthly shows are frequently "juried" so that an artist's entry may, or may not make the cut. Two of my works were accepted and wha'dya know? I was awarded First Place, to my delight and surprise. I write about this in a previous blog post: A Whim Turns a Win.

Now, I have the confidence of being in line with local artists, and I have been able to give potential clients a base price, plus add a bit if the requested building is complicated, which would require more time.

My relationship with Heather Boutique in downtown Fredericksburg is, without question, the place where I have established name recognition, as my artwork is displayed prominently in Heather's shop. For that, I am so grateful.

The Fredericksburg Collection has grown from an impromptu photograph of Caroline Street to a full-fledged portfolio of iconic Fredericksburg buildings. I am also on the lookout for historic homes in the area, and business establishments that have found a place on the cobblestone streets in this city.

The swipe of pen & ink (which I love) and, watercolor (which I love), and threw in some crayons (yes, crayons), and the loose, but recognizable views seemed to touch the visitors and residents who wanted these prints.

The unexpected and traumatic event of a pandemic certainly affected my friend, Heather, and her husband in their attempt to keep their small business afloat. For this, I am happy to be one of the artisans in the shop who work so hard and show their wares. Heather works very hard at keeping her artisans prominent in the shop, which is to our benefit...and helps bring in new clients.

This has led me to cull my 300+ artworks, both large and small. I joined another exhibition at LibertyTown Arts Workshop (Facebook page) this month. The theme is "Tell Me a Secret," and my entry is shown here:

I am proud to be among the amazing artists inspired by this intriguing theme. Take a look at the full group of artists' work here: Tell Me Your Secret, a National Juried Exhibition

What's in the future? Who would know? I am scheduled to be a solo artist in February at another gallery in town. It's fun to stretch your wings...and fly.

The pricing? Not so very important. The benefits of exhibiting in a local show? Priceless.

I would hesitate ever to say that the primary function of an exhibition is sales. An exhibition can do what you intend and also things you never intended.

So what are the benefits of showing your artwork in an exhibition?

  • You get an opportunity to meet your target customers

  • You can collect a lot of customer data

  • You can network with your peers in the industry

  • Your prospects see your presence

  • Customers get to see your products on display

The primary aim of an exhibition or gallery is to deliver the story behind its creation, inspiring budding artists to discover/develop new attributes. More people ask about your work, and what prompted you to paint this work.

Do you have questions about "What is It You Seek?"

Ask in the comments.

Thank you for visiting my blog.


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