What Is Public Relations For Art?
Public relations for art is focused around platforms for artists which allow them to reach the public. This is a separate concept from marketing art.
How a self representing artist builds public relations is critical to their success. Local foundations can allow a broader outreach to communities beyond your borders.
Within the broader spectrum of learning how to make money in art, public relations should be considered a core tenet within your philosophy.
What Makes Public Relations For Art Effective?
When discussing this topic a problem immediately arises. It is very easy for this to turn into a game of giving something to get something back.
Allow me to be clear. If you take part in public relations for your artwork with the mindset of getting something back, it will fail. Also never use creatives for competition with other artists.
People recognize what is plastic or fake rather easily. You must be sincere in any marketing efforts.
Going into any situation the first question often on peoples minds is… what do you get out of it?
It is impossible to build relationships through this method without being genuine. Being genuine requires that you care about what it is that you are doing.
In truth, it is best to think about this concept from a standpoint of relationship building. It is a process that requires personal investment.
It is the most genuine individual that allows for public relations to be effective.
How To Begin Public Relations In Art
This process needs to be broken down across several lines of thought. I will deal with some of the most common questions and methods that come to mind.
I do wish to deal with one question up front that many face. In searching how to begin public relations in art, the independent artist may consider hiring someone for this work.
Let’s explore this idea first.
Should You Hire A Public Relations Representative For Art?
Most artists will not be able to afford hiring someone for public relations. Art is a tough business and most are too poor to even consider this path.
Nevertheless there are those out there who perform this function if you need it. The question is, should you hire a representative for this function?
It is my personal opinion and view that I say no to hiring someone for this. I have many reasons why. Some of these reasons are business related, others are quite personal.
From an art business perspective public relations is often a sink hole for money and time. In other words it is difficult to measure benefit to the cost up front.
Why hire someone if their work is not measurable? This is a long term investment that should be handled with care.
Additionally problems arise from how well this public relations representative will understand you, your art, and how much time will actually be dedicated to you for the cost?
On the personal side of this complication comes the most important aspects. No one else will ever be able to care about your representation more than you.
That point goes back to being genuine and authentic. Your most authentic representation comes when people see you. There must be balance in this concept.
If you become a big enough name at some point in your career that you need a PR representative, then it can be considered. If you are reading this, that is most likely not the case at the present time.
Public Relations For Art Begins At Home
When an artist begins public relations it should be within your home town. So how do you accomplish this?
Discover where there are needs. Local schools, programs for underprivileged children, programs for art therapy, any outreach where you are helping others should be in focus.
Why is this the case? There is no better way to reach others than by helping others. In turn your name will become recognized within the community due to this.
Additionally you will gain experience and greater understanding of how your artwork can fit into the community. Remember this is about building relationships.
There are other vehicles you can pursue such as donating art and time to the local arts center. Getting involved within local event planning or promotion can aid you in finding relationships.
The same can be done with local businesses, yet this concept I will save for later as it is more advanced. Public relations within art tailored for business owners becomes complex and more material.
Work With Other Artists To Build Public Relations For Art
This concept may seem counter productive within our present time. Nevertheless this method was used for near a thousand years within art history.
Essentially it is playing off of the older ideas of guild systems. The problem is that art guilds today are nothing like the model you need to pursue.
If you can build relationships with other artists you gain an edge. Together you can accomplish more work and reach more people than you ever could alone.
With other artists you gain their expertise, knowledge, professional or friend associations, and an ally within promotion. You do not need to see other artists as competition within this format.
Ultimately, being with other artists as you continue your campaign gives you greater legitimacy. It also allows for what you do to be more authentic.
Work With A Known Charity Program To Build Public Relations In Art
It is best to perform this idea when you have other artists that you are working with. Working with a local charity to build public relations in art is the gateway to getting in with local businesses.
Find something that this charity needs. If you draw or paint, hand made cards can go a long way to helping some feel good.
What charities are good to approach? Children hospitals is just one example for outreach. There are many needs around you that unfortunately too many do not realize.
Once you have accomplished this, how do you bridge what you are doing with local business?
Bringing Local Businesses Into Helping Your Public Relations For Art
With your established relationships you can bridge the gap with local businesses and it be less focused on material benefit. This is among the best ways to sell art.
How is this done?
If you have a group of artists that are working for a charity, adding to this “package” you are creating should be easier. Asking locally owned businesses to donate for this package can be achieved.
What you are doing becomes a community effort for public relations wherein their business and your artwork is represented. This now becomes about brand and name association among those involved.
This is merely the first step in the process. It is as I said the gateway for where you wish to be.
Using Local Businesses For Public Relations In Art
After you have built relationships with several businesses it may be time to take the next step. Many artists do not have representation nor a gallery within which to display their work.
Paying for events can become costly, competitive, and often many are left with no profit at the end of the day.
The local businesses which have helped you with the charity programs could set a time to host an art exhibition for you and your artist allies. How does this work?
The business can benefit from increased foot traffic from the event. The artists benefit by gaining a local audience that they otherwise would not have.
If you can get the local charity to also be involved in the event then they too benefit by donations, or portions of sales going to donations.
Here you have multiple influences of promotion and invested parties which will want the promotion to become a success.
Success In Public Relations For Art Requires Help From Others
No one ever succeeds alone. I am sorry but that is the truth. This is also a major reason why I personally am hesitant at hiring anyone for performing this function.
A lot more is involved than a mere business arrangement. It is not for the lazy or those who lack organization. In fact you will discover a lot about yourself and leadership skills that you before never knew.
Being effective in public relations requires people. More importantly it requires those who genuinely care about the why behind what they are doing more than what they get out of it.
Initially there is very little to nothing to gain from these relationships. It is only after time and a lot of work that you discover these relationships are invaluable to your cause.
The success you achieve down the road will come from these avenues which you create now.
What Is The Wrong Way For Building Public Relations In Art?
Too often artists treat social media as their savior. The problem is the artist becomes a one string guitar with only one note that they can play.
An art website is great, so is an online gallery. I promote heavily that all artists should have these for too many do not. Use art prints to sell at near cost to further branding spreading your name.
Nevertheless these again are only tools not a public relations platform.
A blog likewise is not a platform for PR. This is great for information and sharing but not for presenting your work.
Where social media can excel is in authentic interaction with the public. This in turn can help artists gain art commissions and some prospective clients. Nevertheless there are limits to the platform.
Understanding The Difference Between Marketing And Public Relations For Art
Social media causes more problems than solutions, especially for artists. I personally question the very need of it for marketing as I hate the platforms.
These are marketing tools which can be used to some degree of effectiveness within their individual capacity. Never were they intended to be your public relations platform for art.
So then what is your best platform for public relations? Go look into the mirror. You are the platform.
As artists we have an unusual problem for any market space. We really solve no ones problems. We do not fashion or make widgets to serve a function.
Artistic expression is largely focused on beauty and emotion. Thus the artist must have a way to tap into this. In terms of a business model it becomes hard to sell on paper.
Nevertheless, what people see and experience is what will sell them on the ideas you may have. This ultimately requires you, not a tool.
The tools help you in marketing. Tools also help you look professional. In the end it is your creativity and interaction with others that will help you reach the next step of the process.
How Your Public Relations In Art Reaches Across Borders
For those who are new at business or public relations for art, it may be hard to imagine how your name and reputation spreads. Once you begin to find success in your PR, believe me your name will spread.
Seeing this play out is much like getting a referral from simply doing good business. Yet I wish to give you a warning.
At some point there will be those who come to exploit or use what you have built rather than be a part of who you are. Again, this goes back to being able to see what is genuine and what is not.
Continuing forward in this path will take you to new cities, meeting new people, and helping new charities. Only you can decide how far it is that you wish to go.
Where Did I Formulate My Ideas On Public Relations For Art?
My wife has spent more than 20 years in marketing and public relations for major corporations at an executive level. One of those corporations is a major media outlet.
I personally have owned a successful business for a large portion of my lifetime.
My venture into art came later in life although I have always been an artist. Deciding to take it further from passion and into a business was a choice in wanting to do what I love.
The formula you have read above is not the typical format that has been used by the art community. Nevertheless too few question why so many art galleries fail, and why so many arts centers are struggling.
The outline I have created here on public relations for artists is based upon the experiences from our lifetimes, and the lifetimes of other professionals with similar backgrounds.
In no way does it promise success. Yet it is a proven blueprint that does succeed. The real measure of success is you.
It is impossible to fake authenticity. It also requires that one does not quit. An artists development requires that failure happens. You must press forward.
The reality is that the broader art community is harsh. Too often everyone is pulling others down while trying to climb to the top.
Only real leadership through understanding and compassion can pull together what one needs to succeed.
Final Thoughts On Public Relations
What few artists realize is that they begin their public relations work from day one that they decide to market their art. It is from that point forward they build.
Small choices early on can make great impact down the road. It is important that decisions made in how things are done are well thought out.
Making hasty decisions early may cause lost time and later starting over to do things the right way.
If you wish to know more about how to market art online I do have data and strategies you can research. How you use what I offer is up to you.