Spring 2018 Communication Intern
If you ask 100 different people, “What is the key to success?” you’ll likely receive 100 different answers: passion, hard work, happiness, courage, and so much more. However, one skill linked directly to success is one that is often overlooked -- communication.
Matt Cameron, American musician and one of Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest drummers of all time said it best, “No matter how much success you’re having, you can’t continue working together if you can’t communicate.”
Communicating is much more complex than saying what you want to say. It involves listening, learning, and building relationships.
The success of an artist is no exception. The most successful artists are those who have learned the value of communication and know how to use it effectively. Want some ideas for ways you can communicate with your audience in 2018? Take a look at these:
1. Build a website.
Your website is your foundation. Upload pictures, an event calendar, blogs, your portfolio, and anything else you want your readers to know. This is helpful because it creates a single space where you can communicate any and all messages with your viewers. Websites are also easily shared. You have the potential to reach anyone -- gallery directors, future buyers, art appreciators, maybe even the mayor!
2. Start blogging.
Connect with your audience by sharing your stories. Where do you find inspiration? How do you overcome a season of uncreativity? What does your work mean to you? How do you want to use your talents to impact your community?
Your work will mean much more to your audience if they know you. Stories resonate with viewers and then they’re more likely to keep up with your work. According to Hubspot, companies that blog attract 55% more viewers to their website.
3. Send newsletters.
Update your followers with current information. Send simple newsletters via email. This communication method is free with internet access and can reach your entire contact list. Include new pieces in progress, exhibit dates, and a link to your website and blog.
SAAC restarted a newsletter this past August that we use to highlight key events and our blog post, as one small way to connect with the public through art topics and information. Consider using a newsletter to keep your name fresh with your audience and be remembered.
4. Create a social media account.
Maybe you don’t have an audience yet. You may have trouble gaining attention from a younger crowd. Social media is a great remedy. BrandWatch calculated that there are 800 million active users on Instagram, 330 million on Twitter, and over 2 billion on Facebook. And according to SocialMediaToday, the average person spends almost two hours a day on social media.
So, create an account dedicated to your artwork. Signing up is free, and posting is simple. If millions of users are checking social media daily, they will likely find your account before finding your website or blog. Plus, it creates an opportunity to better understand your audience with two-way communication. You can see what your viewers like, what they post, and what they comment on your work. Lastly, social media accounts can be updated frequently -- as often as inspiration strikes!
5. Ask for feedback.
Like any task, there is always room for improvement in the arts. Asking for feedback can be a great communication tool because it creates an opportunity to listen and build relationships. Being vulnerable with our work, our peers, and ourselves stretches our mind and challenges us to improve.
And remember: feedback is never a reason to give up. It may not always be the type of information you want, but you can use it to push yourself ahead.
Networking is vital for communication. Don’t just create a website, but subscribe to websites & newsletters. Read other art blogs and newsletters. Search for art social media accounts. Networking with other people builds your community. When you connect with like-minded individuals, you mutually encourage and inspire one another. When you connect with individuals who are different from you, you expose yourself to new experiences and ideas.
Communicate, and make the art community stronger, together.
John W. Bateman
Affordable art doesn’t mean buying that French poster with the black cat. It doesn’t mean watching old releases on Amazon or Netflix. It also doesn’t mean skipping your utility bills for six months to buy something the size of a coaster or shelling out $150 for a single ticket to a Broadway show.
Original art is affordable and right in your backyard.
Perhaps you like that print that your bff has in the kitchen. There’s nothing wrong with buying what you love to make your space… yours. But if you buy that print because you think original art is simply out of reach... then hold off. Wait before you drop $300 on that framed poster you saw while thumbing the furniture catalogue at the dentist office. The nitrous oxide may convince you it’s a steal, but you have alternatives.
Find something original, new, and local. Check out the Cotton District Arts Festival (or any of the other festivals here in North Mississippi) and pick up some fantastic work at a price point that might surprise you. Consider the added benefit: buy from an art student and fund a college education. Being an art patron doesn’t require a trust fund at a Swiss bank, just a little courage to step away from the catalogue and meet a local artist.
Maybe film is your favorite art form. Look at the published line ups from any one of the state’s several film festivals. Many of the festivals offer summaries and ratings to help you decide what’s great for the kids (or the nephews and nieces), what’s great for date night, or what’s simply worth a late night film binge. By now, films in last year’s regional festivals have often made their way to iTunes, Netflix, GooglePlay and other streaming platforms. You may find an amazing documentary or Mississippi-made horror flick for far less than the bushel of popcorn at the theatre you’ll end up spilling anyway. Want something free? Check out Classic Movie Night at Starkville Public Library.
If music is your jam, don’t overlook the Starkville-MSU Symphony. Did you know that their concerts are free? Now you do. Be sure to check their schedule here.
Art isn’t out of reach. You might just find that Mississippi-made magic you’ve been seeking.
Have an idea for a topic? Want to pitch a post? Send us an email!