Friday, January 27, 2012

Tips from Tamara Propst

Hello! This is Taylor here again, Associated Artists’ intern from Salem College.

On Tuesday evening, Tamara Propst did a wonderful AAWS Gallery talk about Marketing & Customer Service in the Post-Recession Recession. Along with her husband Ron, she is the owner of The Other Half, an Arts District gallery specializing in both fine craft and fine art. She is also the former longtime manager of the gift shop at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art.

Tamara had some wonderful tips about best practices when selling art. According to her, one of the most important factors is customer service. When someone comes into your studio, booth or gallery, you want to make them feel welcome. Even a simple, “Hi, how are you?” works. Another nice greeting is, “Let me know if you have any questions.” Tamara’s favorite opening line is, “There’s some candy on the counter if you need a spark of energy.” You can also ask where the visitor is from. This makes them feel more welcome and gives you some more information about your client base.

Another important factor is display. A strong display can make pieces that are not as dynamic look fabulous. You want to be sure you aren’t contrasting weaknesses, but coordinating strengths. Tamara sees windows as doorways to your space. In those windows you want to catch people’s attention. Putting the most bizarre pieces you have in the window display will certainly lure some people in. A frequent change in displays is an alternative way to do that. Just rotating pieces around can keep a space looking fresh.

A final tidbit that can really change the mood of the art space is music. Having music on softens the environment. You don’t want people to have to whisper. You want them to laugh, feel comfortable, and ask questions.

Tamara had some wonderful advice about marketing and customer service. Most importantly, her tips are easy to replicate and universal for almost any retail, booth or studio setting. The next time I walk into The Other Half, I’ll have some fresh eyes and a new perspective about their customer service and marketing techniques.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Juried Members: New Works - Putting Together the Show and the Reception

Hello everyone. This is another post from Taylor, Associated Artists' intern for the month.

Last week, Associated Artists set up its newest show, Juried Members: New Works.

Opening reception for Juried Members: New Works
Sitting at the check-in table, I was excited to see all the new pieces coming in. We had 78 entries. It’s a strong show with a variety of works. What makes it especially dynamic is that there is a large assortment of media and subject matter. Of course there are oils, acrylics and watercolors, but there’s also photography, ceramics, pastels and mixed media. Most of the Juried Members took advantage of being able to submit up to three works, which creates a unity for the show as a whole.

Although I’ve hung a couple of student shows at Salem College before, this was my first experience hanging a gallery show. Alongside Juried Member and volunteer Joyce Teta, I spent almost all day last Monday designing and hanging the works. The good news is that our efforts were well worth the end result—the show looks great! We’ve gotten some compliments on it already.

Last Thursday, Associated Artists hosted an opening reception for the show. A nice crowd showed up and mingled for a bit. The colors of the night were purple, green and gray, as it seems almost everyone was wearing at least one of those colors. There were delicious snacks and desserts to round off the evening.

All in all a great show; everyone should bring a friend and come check it out before it closes on February 17!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The First Gallery Hop of the Year

Hello all, my name is Taylor Hayes and I am interning with Associated Artists for the month of January. I’m a junior at Salem College studying Arts Management and Not-for-Profit Management. One of the first receptions I was able to attend here at AAWS was the first Gallery Hop of 2012 this past Friday. With the gallery being right here on Fourth Street, the foot traffic was steady and quite diverse. We had a lot going on in the gallery with a pastel demonstration by Bill Gramley and music by Nia Franklin. I’ve been to many Gallery Hops here in Winston and I was happy to experience my first with Associated Artists!

Bill Gramley doing a pastel demonstration.

            Bill Gramley did a great demonstration and showed me how to create a pear from start to finish with chalk pastels. He tends to work on dark paper and begins with the darkest colors, slowly bringing in the lights to create more drama in the scene. Once he finished he said, “Now it’s your turn!” I was a little nervous because I’ve never used chalk pastels before but I enjoyed the opportunity to test out a new medium. I enjoyed the texture of the pastels and the ability to smooth it out or leave it rough. I also enjoy the amount of pigment that comes from the chalks, making the piece very saturated. My pear turned out pretty good and I hope to experiment with pastels more in the near future. Bill and I had a very nice conversation about the Sidewalk Art Show in Roanoke, VA. Roanoke happens to be the place where he sold his first work of art as well as my hometown.

The pear I created using chalk pastels with tips from Bill Gramley!

Nia Franklin is a 19 year old musician from Winston-Salem currently attending East Carolina University for a degree in music. She plays the piano and sings her own music. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance and thought she adapted well to the Gallery Hop experience. The weather was nice so we kept the door open to welcome passers-by off the street—I think many people were drawn into the gallery solely from hearing Nia’s music from the street. I told Nia that I look forward to buying her CD in the future! I hope she performs at another Associated Artists event very soon.

Nia Franklin playing the piano for visitors.

All in all the first gallery hop was quite a success! I’m looking forward to many more events with Associated Artists.