10 Winning Ideas to Create Successful Events

12 Renee Phillips book coverBy Renee Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach

Throughout my career I have enjoyed hosting many events, from arranging small art parties in my apartment to staging large multi-media galas attended by celebrities, government officials, representatives from embassies, and members of the art and entertainment press. Some of these events were even televised and broadcast on radio.

As much fun as I had producing them, I enjoy sharing the tips and tricks that made them successful. With imagination you can create memorable events on a small budget. For this article I selected a few ideas from “How to Create Successful Art Events”, one of the documents in my “Artist Success Package”.

1. Pay Attention to the Details

Begin the process by preparing a comprehensive “to do” list with deadlines. Develop a detailed budget. Create your invitations with flair and provide detailed information including directions to the venue. Make sure the venue is clean, has superb lighting, good acoustics and safe traffic flow. Provide ample seating for guests who may be disabled.

2. Use Imaginative Themes to Ignite Interest

When setting the date for your event, don’t ignore the importance of selecting the right theme that is appropriate for that particular time of year. Consider traditional as well as non-traditional celebrations, for example: January is the month of new beginnings and resolutions. But, did you know that January 31st is “Inspire Your Heart with Art Day”?

3. Create the “Wow” Factor

Select superior art and display it with the utmost care. Create a “Red Carpet” atmosphere that will arouse excitement about what’s inside. A few suggestions: Literally roll out a red carpet, display large movie style exhibition posters on easels, have several wannabe “paparazzi” taking photos of guests… you get the idea!

4. Attain Sponsorship

Stretch your budget by approaching the public relations departments of small businesses or large corporations and request “out of pocket” expenses. To reciprocate, give them name recognition on your invitations, promotional materials and at the event. Many food and beverage distributors and even local restaurants are willing to donate their goods in exchange for product visibility.

5. Recruit Volunteers

I recommend you hire the best professionals you can afford. But, you can also reach out to your friends, relatives, college interns, and retirees to help with the organizational details, promotion and art sales. Offer them a commission and pay for their travel expenses. Show your appreciation by inviting them to a pre-event private showing or dinner. Acknowledge them publicly in print and in your verbal announcement at the event.

6. Give Every Guest A Take Away Gift
Every guest should leave with something tangible to remember you. A colorful and informative printed brochure or catalogue is a nice gesture when handed out by a friendly welcoming committee. However, don’t stop there: Add special items to their gift bags such as small, signed prints of your art or magnets, calendars, t-shirts or tote bags with your art or logo reproduced on them.

7. “Piggyback” Major Organizations’ Events or Major Celebrations
Use the art of “piggybacking” and ride on the coat tails of major events held around the same time as yours. My best events were orchestrated as team efforts. Choose organizations that share your values and mission. Offer to collaborate with them and help them promote their event. Catch the wave of publicity that their programs will generate. When you join forces with like-minded folks and organizations you’ll both reap many benefits.

8. Don’t Blend into the Background

Most artists shy away from the lights of cameras and attention of public displays. But, as the exhibiting artist, the star of the event, or the special host, this is not the time to be a wall flower. Wear a genuine smile and an outfit that will attract people to you like a magnet. One smart artist I know wears a purple dress to match her signature purple paintings.

9. Offer A Free Raffle to Grow Your Mailing List

It may be difficult to get everyone to sign your guest book so encourage them to insert their business cards or clearly write their name and contact information on a raffle card. Entice them by giving away valuable prizes that are worth their while.

10. Use Free and Low Cost Advertising and Promotion

Announce your event in online forums and social media sites including setting up an events page on www.facebook.com. Utilize Free event listings in newspapers. Post fliers in the vicinity of the event. Use online press release services http://service.prweb.com. Broadcast yourself on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/. Announce your event on Meet Up http://www.meetup.com

Renee Phillips is an author, art marketing advisor and Curator-Director of Manhattan Arts International. Visit her blogs: The Artrepreneur Coach and The Healing Power of Art. Learn more about her art marketing services at http://www.manhattanarts.com/ReneePhillips/consult.htm.

 

 

12 ArtStrike

Teaching Life Skills and Art Curation: Eliot Lable

Eliot Lable, Artist

"People in Gear" - A Collaboration with Eliot LableEliot Lable, who explores the tough subjects of violence, evil and intolerance in his art, has for the past seven years run NURTUREart‘s Education Outreach program in Brooklyn high schools that teaches underserved students in the New York area how to curate art and also how to work cooperatively with others. NURTUREart’s education program gives students the opportunity to meet and learn from professional artists and curators who expose them to contemporary art and teach them skills that can lead to future careers.

The program runs throughout the school year and culminates in an exhibition at the NURTUREart Gallery. It teaches students art handling, installation, press and marketing and preparing for an opening reception. Students are given the opportunity to visit studios of area artists, go to art galleries and art institutions, and to learn to write about and critique art.

Lable started the program in 2005 with then art teacher Sarah Hervert, who is now a middle school assistant principal. Their goal was to involve the many artists who have studios in their area, and it has grown to include multiple schools. In 2010, NURTUREart added an education coordinator to help expand the program and to develop new partnerships. The organization is a non-profit that’s received support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, NYCulture, WNYC, The Greenwall Foundation, The Leibovitz Foundation, and The New York State Council on the Arts.

According to Lable, “the best part of program is that it reinforces what students learn and teaches them how to work with each other through curating a show. It gives them a purpose and also improves their writing, editing and other skills”.

In talking about his own work as an artist and educator, Lable says, “As a complex person, there is an artist side of me and an art educator side. The art work that I create in my studio is typically connected to a subject that I find personally captivating. The challenge then is to convert this idea into a visual entity that truly represents the initial captivation. I feel that another part of me wants to share with students the immense joy of making art work.  Also a part of me believes that the process of making art can be a stepping stone for learning”.

Eliot Lable’s work, which explores the subjects of violence, evil, torture, death, intolerance, fear and aging, has been exhibited in many solo and group shows, including in Finland and Costa Rica.  He’s received numerous grants, including a Fulbright Fellowship to Finland; and two Council for Basic Education Grants, which were sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and Time Warner. His work is in the collections of the Museo de Arte Costarricense in Costa Rica, and in Helsinki, Finland, the City Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as in private and corporate collections.  A permanent sculpture, commissioned by Public Art for Public Schools (PAPS), can be seen at the entrance of the School of Cooperative Education in New York City.

Anyone interested in learning more about NURTUREart or Eliot Lable’s work is invited to contact him at info@eliotlable.com or 718.706.8622.

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Japanese influenced painting: Bertille Baudiniere

Bertille de Baudinière, Painter

Bertille de Baudinière has distinguished herself and her work during her creative career with an aesthetic practice on three continents – specifically in Japan, USA and Europe – through its diverse nature and the integration of social issues in her art.

She discovered Japanese art, especially sumi-e and abstraction during her studies in the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris 1979-1982 . She was looking for a way to get out of Western culture. “I wanted to go as far away as possible. The Far East fascinated me in its approach to the abstract, it’s totally different spirit, its analysis of space and its taste for simplicity. I enrolled in Japanese language and literature courses and in 1986 obtained a research grant from the Japanese government studying the influence of occidental techniques used by Japanese artists.” She discovered space and simplicity (“two specific Japanese ideas”) and it became her golden rule until now.

The series that followed, Green Earth, 1989-1990, owes its title to a Nihonga pigment of the same name. Symbolic of the link that unites man and nature, Green Earth celebrates the cosmic dimension of Japanese Buddhism; the essential idea that man and the smallest blade of grass are both part of a whole.

The artist did not return to Europe right away. “The weight of the past is too heavy there; to create you must turn your back on the past.” She decided to expand her research to the United States. The earth of the Plains and of the native Americans inspired the second series of twenty paintings entitled Red Earth, 1991, with vast, deep, monochromed spaces irradiated with light.

In Paris 1993-2006 her return to France also marked her return to casein. Enriched by her experiences, she pursued her work on various series of paintings, convinced of the need to explore, test and clarify: Ecrans-Lumière, 1995-1998, Painting by numbers in 1999 (In response to the digital invasion, she covered her paintings with the numerals 0 and 1, retaining from the binary language the idea of combinations that tend towards the infinite), Planètes, 1999-2000, Voilages, 2001, Light-screen, 2001, Chênes-lièges, 2002-2003, Painting by letters, 2004, Blue Earth, 2005-2007.

In 2008, she decided to come back to the United States and live in New York with her family. Bertille de Baudinière found a studio in an artist community in Long Island City.  Since 2008 she has painted the series New York light and a huge American flag, Skype, a series of portraits about the internet, Colorimetry using wood sticks and color filters,  Harlem and some views of the city from above and, finally, Green Earth 2012.  She experiments with new techniques and uses different mediums in order to explore recurring themes in the work. This keeps it new and exciting, which is evident in her current Green Earth paintings.

The work is colorful, vibrant and powerful. Baudinière uses acrylic and casein, color filters, natural pigments, wood, piano strings, and a variety of found objects in her paintings, mixed-media works and assemblages.

My eye is always attracted by new and different materials, both natural and recycled. Sometimes I use these materials in my paintings, such as the natural sponges in my recent Green Earth series. At other times the material becomes a medium itself, such as the discarded wood lattice with which I made the Colorimetry series. With the help of these various materials I try to create constructions in which matter is transformed into light.

Bertille de Baudinière was born in Saint Malo, France. She received her diploma from Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts de Paris in 1982. In 1986, she was granted a research scholarship by the Japanese government and was enrolled as a Master scholar at the National University of Music and Arts in Tokyo. She received her MFA in 1990.

Baudinière has exhibited nationally and internationally including Islip Art Museum, US, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, US, Hainan National Museum, China, Tomura Gallery, Japan, Fondation des Etats-Unis, France, Zurdorfer Wehrturm Museum, Germany, Galerie Arte Noah, Germany and Dalian, China.

She has been granted residencies, given lectures, curated special exhibits and designed sets throughout the world and has created several videos.

Baudinière’s work is in the collection of Museum of Landau, Germany, Fondation Danielle Mitterand, Le GNG, l’Energie pour demain,  Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Queensborough Community College, and Fondation des Etats-Unis. Her work has been shown in Le Monde Diplomatique, Beaux arts magazine, Art Press, Editions Unesco, Nice-Matin, Omaha World Herald, and Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger.

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Documenting Protest: Granny Peace Brigade Art

Regina Silvers, Visual Artist and Art Organizer

I draw, paint, and have been exhibiting my work since the ‘70s. Right now I’m engrossed in the most exciting art project of my career: The Granny Peace Brigade series.

In 2005 a friend of mine was arrested, along with a small group of older women– all members of various Peace groups like Code Pink and the Gray Panthers— for demonstrating at the Army Recruitment station in Times Square. They were cuffed, jailed, and eventually tried and acquitted.  Out of this experience they formed The Granny Peace Brigade. I’ve been a supporter and ardent admirer since then.

I drew them during their trial and later began to photograph them while I marched and demonstrated with them. After a while, I began using these photos as source material for new work.

Much of my previous work of the past 20-odd years had focused on nature-based motifs. Working from sketches made while hiking upstate NY, I created large close-ups of the rocks, weeds, waterfalls, and woodlands, drawing attention to their “ordinary” beauty and vitality.  At the same time – initially because I am devoted to drawing the figure – I created the ”Placard” series: paintings and drawings derived from images of protesters I found in newspapers. This however was a different matter.

As an older woman, and an activist since the days I marched with the Women Strike for Peace against the Vietnam War, this project is more personal and vital.  It gives me an opportunity to merge my aesthetic, political and social concerns, through personally meaningful, timely, subject matter. It’s been challenging and exhilarating.

It’s been said that “…the eye witnesses, the hand records.” As an artist I am following a long roster of artists who “bear witness” (think Goya, Kathe Kollwitz, Picasso, Ben Shahn, Leon Golub). While I’m not intent on painting a political polemic, I do want to pay homage to these feisty peace activists, and transmit their message that “Democracy is not a Spectator Sport”.

As I participate in documenting this piece of our history, I  show, close-up, what it’s like to be in the midst of the energetic Grannies, visually expressing the view that older women are concerned, and can have an active voice in our society.

To make a piece of art that conveys the energy, immediacy, and spirit of the narrative, I work quickly, making many large pieces for each motif, varying the composition, the approach, and the materials. The works range from 20 x 30” to 36 x 72”, in pastel, charcoal, acrylic, and/or oil paint. Some become finished “products”, others remain studies. I feel privileged to be able to hone my approach to making art while visually expressing something of such importance to me, and hopefully supporting the efforts of these heroic women.

I will be exhibiting this work in a one-person exhibition at Saint Peter’s Church (Citicorp) NYC in May, 2013.


Regina Silvers has been involved with fine art for her whole adult life- as a visual artist and an art organizer. Originally trained as a NYC art teacher, her varied career includes jewelry designer, gallery director, curator, art consultant, museum publicity/advertising manager, and always, practicing artist.

She was a founder and President of TOAST, the TriBeCa Open Artist Studio Tour (2000 to 2010), and co-founder and Director of the Gallery at Hastings on Hudson (1976-84).

Silvers has maintained a studio in TriBeCa for more than 20 years and, until recently, a studio in Woodstock, NY. Her work appears in corporate and private collections throughout the United States, and she has participated in more than 40 exhibitions nationally.

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Artists in Support of the Armed Forces

Karen Loew, Chair of Coast Guard Art Program, Visual Artist specializing in soft realism

Karen Loew and the artists who participate in the Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) and the art programs of other branches of the country’s armed forces immortalize in paintings the bravery of men and women serving in the U.S. military.

The artists are, according to Loew, “visual historians, morale boosters and fan club”. Artists work as volunteers, and they donate time and talent to create works of art depicting the varied missions of the military. “The paintings depict experiences of danger, the suspense of the unknown, the anxious moments of search and rescue, the relief of a successful mission, and the emotions of a return home,” says Loew. Each work of art is a gift from the artist to the Collection.

“Emails I have received thank us for capturing their memories and experiences, and for portraying the Coast Guard in a very positive and remarkable way. I chair the COGAP Committee at the Salmagundi Club, which is an artistic and cultural center that’s been here for over 140 years and is also the proud sponsor of COGAP. When I joined COGAP in 1999, I did not have expectations of what would become of the art I would donate to the Collection. Rather, I was just thrilled to be accepted and have my art included. Since then, I have observed that the art of the Collection does have an amazing public life, educating the public about the missions and history of our Coast Guard through displays at museums, libraries and patriotic events. Art is also displayed in government offices and at Coast Guard locations around the country.

All the branches of the United States armed services have art programs:

The United States Coast Guard Art Program was co-founded in 1981 by combat artist George Gray and John Ward of Coast Guard Community Relations. COGAP welcomes requests for public displays of artwork and inquiries from artists to join the program.

Management of the United States Air Force Art Program and Collection is the responsibility of the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of the Administrative Assistant. The Air Force Art Program Office handles day-to-day administration of the program. The office is charged with responsibility for the Art Program.

The United States Marine Corps Art Collection, held in trust at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, document over 230 years of Marine Corps history. The mission of the Museum is to collect and preserve in perpetuity, artifacts that reflect and chronicle the history of the Corps. The more than 60,000 uniforms, weapons, vehicles, medals, flags, aircraft, works of art and other artifacts in the Museum’s collections trace the history of the Marine Corps from 1775 to the present.

The United States Navy Art Collection has over 15,000 paintings, prints, drawings, and sculpture. It contains depictions of naval ships, personnel, and action from all eras of U.S. naval history, but due to the operation of the Combat Art Program, the eras of World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Desert Shield/Storm are particularly well represented. The Branch manages the art collection, produces exhibits, loans artwork to museums and institutions, and provides research assistance on the art collection.

The United States Army Art Program or United States Army Combat Art Program is a program created by the United States Army to create artwork for museums and other programs sponsored by the US Army. The collection associated with the program is held by the United States Army Center of Military History, as part of their Museums collection.

Karen Loew is Chair of the Coast Guard Art Program Committee of New York’s Salmagundi Club, and she serves on the club’s board of directors. In 2002, the Coast Guard sent her to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO) to document activities of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 305. She is frequently a speaker at COGAP events, most notably for the opening reception of the COGAP exhibition in Vlissingen, Holland in 2009. In 2011, she was given the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest recognition given to those who have made outstanding contributions in advancing the Coast Guard’s missions.

Loew’s art has been featured in the book American Women Artists in Wartime, 1776 – 2010 as well as The New York Times, and Professional Artist. Her paintings are held in private and public collections.

Championing Chinese Shadow Puppetry – Annie Rollins

Annie Rollins, Puppeteer and recent Fulbright Fellow in Chinese Shadow Puppetry

How did you get involved with Chinese Shadow Puppetry?

Chinese shadow puppetry is the sum of all my independent interests and, of course, so much more.  As a part-Asian puppet lover with a penchant for the historical, Chinese shadow puppetry has sustained my interest in all of those things and continues to inform my personal and professional life.

How does shadow puppetry differ from other performance arts in its approach?

It is similar to other folk art performance forms in that its main purpose is to transmit oral history to a largely illiterate class and to educate and community build through entertainment and a collective experience. It differs from other traditions insofar as its incredible artistry has really pushed boundaries both with the figures themselves and performance techniques.

What about this art form is important to the heritage of China and to yourself?

Chinese shadow puppetry is an amalgamation of Chinese culture in both content and aesthetics as seen from the masses. While most elite and upper class art forms are well documented and preserved, Chinese shadow puppetry is lesser known and understood but more informative as to the majority’s ideology and beliefs at any given time. In a broader context, this is Chinese shadow puppetry’s most important heritage.

I consider it a high art form in its own right, with regional differences in nearly every province that reflect a rich inheritance of idiosyncratic tradition and craft.  My particular focus is practice-led research in traditional shadow puppet making methods in the three main regional styles and that has remained largely uncovered in research both in China and internationally.  Because the methods and aesthetic significance was largely overlooked until recently, many of the remaining masters have passed already with no apprentices in place and many others threaten the same scenario.

How does this influence your artwork?

My research and creative work have a symbiotic relationship – both inform the other and not necessarily in any particular order. Through research I find questions that can only be explored through creation and vice versa. Currently, my work is almost wholly focused on both Chinese shadow puppetry and how that learning is processed through me as an artist with a very different background than the traditional learner. With permission from my masters, I’m creating my own pathway to modernizing the form that fits within my understanding of how best to honor the tradition.

How is shadow puppetry being preserved in China?

Other than commercial endeavors, little has been done to preserve the form in China. With the official induction into UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage project in 2011, there is much more attention and support currently being focused on traditional Chinese shadow puppetry, but the long-term results remain to be seen. Little, if any, funding is being given to two designated members of a nominated troupe (equal to a peasants’ monthly wages) and no funding or support for students or apprentices. And, while this greatly eases the stress for shadow puppet artists in the aging stages of their lives, it does little to answer the more imperative questions about lack of students to carry the tradition through to the next generation.

Some people have criticized China for their lack of effort to preserve this and many other dying traditions as their country races towards a progressive modern future, but I find that they are doing what all countries have done at one point or another – prioritizing.  Folk art forms are in this position worldwide.

Are there any schools or programs that specialize in Chinese Shadow Puppetry?

Sadly, there are no formal institutions that teach Chinese shadow puppetry, save a workshop here or there.  The masters who are still working are very open to students – even foreign ones – who show an interest. Because it is a folk art form it is unlikely that Chinese shadow play education would become formalized anytime soon.The hope is that the form will garner more support to continue teaching as they always have – through hands and hearts.

If anyone has interest and will be traveling to China shortly, feel free to contact me for connections. Additional puppetry information is at: http://annierollins.wordpress.com/links.

Annie Rollins is a puppeteer and recent Fulbright Fellow in Chinese Shadow Puppetry. She has a MFA in theater design from the University of Minnesota and has been studying traditional Chinese Shadow Puppetry in different regions of China for the past year. Annie considers herself an artist first, creating experimental puppet shows, design and teaching workshops when she isn’t studying puppetry in China. Recently, she was invited to speak at the Chinese Shadow Puppetry Symposium at the Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut.