How to Become Almost Famous in Your Town

The better known you are in your own community, the more people will recognize your name and your art and become customers. Here are eight ways to become a well-known artist in your community.

1. Network through organizations. Join organizations such as the chamber of commerce, business networking groups, church groups, hobby clubs and others. Tell everyone you meet you’re an artist. Liberally pass out your business cards. Volunteer to speak at meetings. Keep a mailing list from the business cards you receive to send show invitations or notices about your new work. This will keep reminding everyone you’re a local artist.

2. Volunteer at school art programs. Become a volunteer at schools by offering to help teach art classes, act as a supervisor for an art club or an adviser on school art projects. Send a letter home with each student introducing yourself to the parents, complimenting their child’s artistic talent and inviting them to your next scheduled show.

3. Donate art to nonprofit auctions. Find nonprofit associations that raise funds by having art auctions. Donate a piece of art and include a small, professional-looking card with your name, phone number and your artist’s statement to be placed near your work. Attend the auction, talk to people and pass out your business cards or an invitation to your next show.

4. Volunteer at your community theater. Volunteer at a community theater and help create the sets or design artwork for the program cover. Ask for a mention in the program or free ad space in the program. Or volunteer to write a brief article on how the sets were created and include your byline as “Mary Smith, artist.” Help promote the theater when you talk to people at other organization events you attend.

5. Have shows at your studio. Hold an art show at your studio to tie in with other community events—from “art walks” to homecoming or the local fair. If you work in your home, clear the furniture from your living room and create a gallery for a day. Promote the show with the tie-in event.

6. Show your work everywhere. Enter local shows. Find restaurants and other businesses that hang local artists’ work and participate in their programs, or help these businesses start one. Join with other artists and hold joint shows. Place a small, professional-looking card with your name, phone number and your artist’s statement near each piece of your work

7. Teach a community education art class. Examine the community education art classes that are offered and create one that offers something different and matches your talents. The school will promote your class, but you also need to promote it at all the organizations you belong to. Keep a mailing list of students and invite them to all your shows.

8. Develop a public relations program. Send a media release to your local newspaper, radio stations and television stations every time you do something newsworthy. If a reporter covers a play at the community theater and you designed the sets, ask to be interviewed. Create a media kit containing your photo, your art resume, photos of your art, and a letter stating your availability to be interviewed—on short notice—for any news stories or features involving art.

Enjoy meeting people and talking about your art. Keep at it. Sooner than you think, people will start remembering your name and seek you out.

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