Tag Archives: “press release”

Art and Press: Show Me Some Love

“The Wild West” by Amy Guidry as featured in Professional Artist magazine’s article “Communicating Social Messages through Art, Partnership and Publicity” by Renee Phillips

A recent discussion online brought up the lack of enough media coverage of visual art.  It is true that the number of features written about art have gone down over the past several years and it doesn’t help that some publications suffered from the economic downturn.  Some suggested that art may be too “complicated” for people to understand (bah!) while others thought bias may be given to other art forms such as music or literature.  There may be some truth to this, but I think the real reasons are much bigger.  To start, art is a luxury item and is marketed as such.  There are some smaller works that are more affordable for a wide range of budgets, but for the most part, art is a luxury item which means it is expensive due to scarcity, quality, technique, and materials, thus the price reflects this.  Part of the appeal of luxury items is that they are exclusive.  This shrinks the number of people that not only own such items, but also those that may feel comfortable enough to ask for the price.  Now, I don’t believe that art has to be completely out of reach and there are ways that it can be an easier purchase without sacrificing the artist’s own time and expense but that is another topic.  For the moment, let’s just stick with high-end luxury items.

Adding to this exclusivity are many galleries that like to orchestrate exactly which hands their works go in.  There are many blue-chip galleries which only want to see their artists in the “right” collection, thus adding to the gallery’s status.  And I have to admit that there are those galleries with the infamous “gallerina” giving the cold shoulder to visitors.  Most galleries don’t operate this way but unfortunately this is the common perception.  The “white box” psychology has taken over and makes many people uncomfortable with the art world.

To top it all off, I find that many artists and even galleries do not send out press releases to the media or when they do, it’s the same drivel that many writers receive over and over again.  It’s a boring presentation of facts- who, what, where, when, and if you include an artist statement, why.  Sure, it’s a big deal to the artist and to the gallery that they’re having a show, but why should it be a big deal to the public?  The public wants a story.  I’m an artist and even I find press releases about shows to be a snore.  I want to know the artist’s life story- why they created this work and I don’t mean some nonsensical philosophy using every vocabulary word you had to learn for the SAT’s.  What brought you to this point in your life?  What did you overcome to make this work?  What in your travels inspired this series?  It doesn’t have to be dramatic like a soap opera- although that sort of thing always interests the media- but it should be informative enough that a writer can weave this into a great story.

Even if you are lucky enough to get the elusive great review in an art magazine, these publications are for a specific niche and are not read by the general public.  If you want your art to be seen in mainstream media, as was expressed in this conversation, then you’re going to have to broaden your reach, be proactive, send press releases (good ones!!), and ask for interviews.  Be your own PR team.  Let the public get to know you as a person.



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Helpful Hint- Boosting Your Publicity

May issue of Art Calendar Magazine- my profile is featured on pg. 44
May issue of Art Calendar Magazine- my profile is featured on pg. 44

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