How to Find Collectors

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Prospective buyers of your work are all around you. They are your neighbors, relatives and friends. They are the blue collar workers and the people you read about in the social columns. They are people and businesses that will come to you and those you must reach. Strive to develop a coterie of supporters to help you spread the word that your work is available. Make it easy for art buyers to find you.

When your work is for sale for a few hundred or few thousand dollars, the field is wide open. For your purposes, you should define “collectors” as any individuals or companies that may be interested in your work and are willing to pay the price you ask.

You don’t have to win over a huge percentage of the population to be hugely successful. If you made your art known to just one-tenth of 1 percent of the population in the U.S., you’d have more than 280,000 prospective buyers.

How do you meet them in person? Here are some practices that have worked for myself and other artists I know.

• Join the best local art museum at the highest membership category you can afford. You’ll benefit from the opportunity to socialize at the museum’s private receptions and use of private dining room and other membership amenities.

• Sign the guest book mailing list of the best galleries and attend their openings.

• Join cultural institutions, garden clubs, community service organizations, or the Junior League.

• Interview collectors for your community or arts publication to acquire visibility.

• Open your studio to special clubs, charities and tour groups.

• Make appearances and give talks about your work in colleges, business organizations, health facilities, spas, retreats and country clubs.

• Get a job in a gallery or work for a successful artist.

• If you belong to an arts organization, invite collectors, curators and critics to jury your exhibitions.

• Look for leads in business reference and national and international biographical reference books, such as Who’s Who Directories, which can be found at the public library.

• Join collectors’ groups in social media and search for members in your area. One of my favorites is the Art Collector group on LinkedIn.

A resource to help you understand what motivates collectors is ARTnews’ annual issue devoted to “Top Collectors” and their collections. You should know who these collectors are and the nature of their collections. You may discover among them a few collectors that will buy emerging artists’ work. But, don’t limit the collectors to this select few.

You may be interested in reading “Collect Art and Follow Your Passion”, an article I wrote offering advice to art collectors.

Renée Phillips, The Artrepreneur Coach, is the author of several books and publications, which can be found on Manhattan Arts International (www.ManhattanArts.com). She organizes exhibitions related to the healing power of art. She offers advice to artists in private consultations and on her blog at http://reneephillips.blogspot.com. She invites you to follow her on Twitter @reneephillipsny, and join her on www.Facebook.com/ReneePhillipsArtCoach and www.linkedin.com/in/reneephillipsartcoach.