8 Tips for Attending Gallery Openings

Here are eight tips for getting the most out of the next gallery opening you attend. Read on!

1. Engage with the art. You may have come for some other reason: maybe to network, to flirt, to get out of the studio, or to get some free food, but there is also art to see! Be respectful of the art and give it a chance.

2. Watch your emotions. You may be wowed by the art and disheartened toward your own art. You may despise the art and hate the idea that this artist got a show and you didn’t, and so on. Openings produce emotions! Be ready for some powerful feelings.

3. Watch your drinking. You may feel those aforementioned emotions, or you may feel uncomfortable in social situations; you may feel an awkward mix of art appreciation and business networking, but being tipsy or worse would be more of a hindrance to your networking goal. Be careful!

4. Don’t hide out. Openings are social events but they are also business events. Try not to hide in a corner under the pretense that “you just like to watch.” Don’t let your anxiety, shyness or discomfort cost you a great networking opportunity.

5. Be your smartest self. Talk to people — and listen to what they say. The dentist you chat with might be your next collector. The journalist might end up doing a story on you. The artist may let slip some information about a useful group show. Listen smartly!

6. Know how to talk about your art specifically, not vaguely, in order to convince an art-lover to make the extra effort to find out more. Know how to invite people to your studio, to your website, to your art sales page. Saying, “visit my website” isn’t enough. Be able to say in two or three crisp sentences what you do and why it’s interesting: it’s almost like making someone an offer he can’t refuse

7. Say hello to the gallery owner and his or her minions. This isn’t a moment to sell yourself, but you can certainly have prepared a thing or two to say that whets their appetite.

8. Say hello to the artist! Whether or not you love his or her art, whether or not you’re feeling superior or inferior, no matter how you’re feeling, try to come from the heart and say something compassionate and affirmative. The artist may be having his or her own version of a hard night!

Get out to openings—and use them well!

Eric Maisel’s latest book for artists, Secrets of a Creativity Coach is available here on Amazon.

Visit Dr. Maisel at ericmaisel.com.

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