Hey artists: the tour is just days away. Are you excited? Long-time tour goer, Diane Hunt, wants you not to downplay the importance of this event: “My moment with these talented people of great innovation and creativity, they make me feel like I’m being lifted up to their world, just talking to them, hearing their creative process. Watching them do their thing, it lifts me up into that world, and then I get to bring some of it home and I always remember being inspired or moved by what I saw.”

Here are a few practical tips to make Open Studios a success:

  • Be welcoming to the guests. As Diane says, they are stepping into your world, many times into your private home, so they will naturally be just a little anxious. Be sure they know how glad you are to see  them. Acknowledge them immediately, and if in conversation with other guests, invite them to join you.
  • Don’t go it alone. Because you need to be attentive to all your guests, make sure that you’re able to give them your full attention by enlisting other people to help – relatives, friends, your intern for sure. They can help by handling your sales, your zip code list, any hands-on activity you have planned, etc.
  • Build your mailing list. Board member and participating artist Maude May has a great way of getting people to sign her mailing list. “When people arrived at my studio last year, they had the opportunity to create their own small encaustic artwork,” she says. “Many people wanted to pay me. I told them the blocks were free and I’d very much appreciate if they’d sign my mailing list. I had more than 200 signatures that weekend.”
  • Think small – dream big. You might have some big sales, and that would be great. But don’t count on it. What’s more likely is sales of small works. I’m not an artist myself, but I, like Diane, have been going on the tour for many years. I always have gift-giving in mind during the tour. Things I can get for under $50. Big sales can happen later, as you develop a relationship with patrons. And what better way to start a relationship with a potential patron then to meet them in your studio? Collectors like Diane tend to gravitate to the same artists and collect from many of the same artists.
  • Don’t forget to post, post, post on social media. Dig out that Instagram sheet we gave you last week and start using it. Encourage visitors to post while they’re in your studio. If you don’t have a copy, you can find it here.
  • Log your visitors. Please print out and get everyone who comes to your studio to note their zip code on this zip code sheet. It helps PDXOS by letting us know where our visitors are coming from, so we can apply for grants and offer more services in upcoming years, and it helps you by keeping track of how many people are visiting your studio during the tour.


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