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Ten Top Tips For Open Studio Success

What’s Open Studio?

Most artists are aware of what Open Studio events are but for those who are new to the game, here is a definition:

“A studio or workroom which is made accessible to anyone and everyone, where artistic or creative work can be viewed and bought.”

For a successful Open Studio event, you need to plan to get yourself the greatest result.  We have assumed that you know how to advertise using the ArtMarketDirect events page or on social media so without further ado:


 10 Top Tips for Open Studio Success:

1 Brand:

For some artists, hearing the word brand can be off-putting.  Don’t let something like a word get in the way of getting your work in front of a new audience.  You need to think about your style and all the things (including you) which supports that.  Bottom line it is you and your brand which is selling the piece.

(See: Sharing Success)

2 Tidy Up:

Its all very well flinging open your doors and letting the mob wander into your sacred space, but what is an acceptable working space for an artist looks messy and dirty to the average Jo.  So clear away all clutter and anything that might distract the eyes from your work.

3 Presentation:

Think about how a gallery would show your artwork.  Having everything you have ever not sold on display can be overwhelming and so think about making select pieces prominent.   You can even put one or two pieces on individual stands or for paintings, one or two left on an easel in the middle of the room might be an idea.

4 Affordable Price-point Options:

In most instances, folk who wander around Open Studios don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.  Small affordable art might be displayed in a portfolio stand or even in apple crates so prospective collectors can flick through them at their leisure.  Try and offer something for all budget from pocket-budgets of the kids (maybe a postcard) or print to the latest commission you have been working on.

5 Lighting:

Quite simply, put all your lights on and open your curtains to let as much natural light in as possible. It’s OK that you use spots and work late into the night, but all that effort needs to be shown off for your visitors to enjoy and appreciate.

6 Welcome

You need to to be available to meet and greet your visitors.  That is the point of Open Studio.  Most art sales in the world are based on a relationship.  Greet visitors like old friends you have not seen in a long time.  Make them know that you are happy to see them and pleased they came to see you and your work.

7 Food and Drink

Although this is an Open Studio, treat it like a private view.  Offer visitors a complimentary drink and some biscuits: shortbread or bourbons (not supermarket brand Rich Tea).  Think about decaf options, bottles of water, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks too.  If it’s very hot, some squash.  If it’s cold – a nice hot kettle for tea and coffee is in order.

8 Visitors Book

Remind everyone to sign into the visitor’s book and explain to each visitor that if they give their name and email, you are having a prize draw.  The winner of which will receive a piece from the affordable art crate (maybe a postcard or a small print).

9 Tour Then ‘Space’:

You need to invite visitors to look at your ‘latest work’, your ‘best work’, ‘something special being worked on’.   Give them a two-minute tour of where they can find different pieces for sale including the ‘affordable art’.

A piece of art never sells itself.  You will need to be ready to spend time talking about your work, your method and materials, and able to point out details a viewer might in their five minute visit have missed, but will appreciate once the piece is in their house.  In many cases, viewers might not have any understanding of the work which goes into a piece of work.  Without getting too technical and after ensuring some mystery remains, then say, ‘I’ll leave you to have a look, just call me if you have a question’.  Now give them space.  be present but invisible and wait for them to ask a question.

10 Keep Pets Out

Believe it or not, some people don’t like either cats or dogs, whilst some folks whilst they might not say they dislike animals, are ambivalent until they meet one up close and then they might declare their disdain.  Of the remaining people in the world, just under 50% will love cats but hate dogs, most of those as yet unaccounted for will love dogs but hate cats.

We know that you just love to have your cat laying on the workbench on top of that hairy old cardigan, but your visitors might not like it.  Likewise, with old “Bingo” the dog laying across the front step, some visitors will simply not want to step over a dog.  It’s easier to get the animals out of the studio altogether and ensure that visitors have an animal-free path from the gate to the art and back again.


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