I think the artist co-op model Indy Hall uses is right for many artists today.
As I have watched the traditional ways artists have gotten to market become battered by forces beyond their control, (witness the cancelation of both the Artexpo Las Vegas and Decor Expo Atlanta 2009 shows as prime examples), I have repeatedly voiced an opinion artists need to do whatever they can to take as much control as possible over the distribution of their art.
Whether it is through sales onlne, direct to consumer sales at shows, owning a gallery, joining a co-op, or other creative means to generate their own sales doesn't matter. What matters is artists find ways that work for them to manifest their own destiny. I'm not advocating abandoning trade media or tradeshows, or brick and mortar galleries. These venues will always have an important role to play. But now, because so much has changed and so much is possible, it is the right time to take control and own the distribution wherever possible.
Good Ideas Are Catching
Have you ever noticed the coincidence of different people hitting on similar themes to solve problems without any interaction between them. It's happened here in the art patch recently. I've had a note to blog about Indy Hall for some time because I think the artist co-op model it uses is right for many artists today. Independents Hall is a co-working space and community in Philadelphia. It includes designers, developers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, small business owners, telecommuters, marketers, videographers, game developers. You will soon hear more about it in a future blog post here.
Yesterday, Tony Moffitt's blog post was titled Do Co-operative Galleries Run by Artists Work? It was not an examination, but more a question thrown out to the readers. It has 13 replies to date, which indicates a good level of interest in artist run co-ops.
Today, I was notified I'd been tagged in a note by a Facebook friend named Tom Davidson. He had posted in his Notes section on the site these thoughts, which I publish here with his permission, in a piece titled Art Co-op. He is offering suggestions for Florida-based artists to come together. Obviously, they can be implemented anywhere artists band together to help each other.
Art Co-op by Tom Davidson
I have been spending a lot of time wondering how I can create more and still promote and do business. My original career is marketing and business. I come from the large corporate world, before I walked away to become a starving artist, lol. Anyways I propose to all of my art online friends and associates to review and contact me if you are willing to work smarter not harder. Let me know at least what you think of my idea. I appreciate all artists who are concentrating on creating, there is room for us in this world and we do help make it a better place, that is a sign of a good industry!!
1.Artists write art reviews of other artists, submit to media
2.Galleries and artists work together to promote exhibits more effectively
3. Provide a networking resource for Daytona – Orlando Area artists, sharing info and pooling talents, resources and information to create a stronger art market. I was suggested we develop a mission statement based in values like integrity, loyalty, trust and mutual benefit.
4.Look to other cities for effective models
5.Artists at every level in their careers take on the responsibility to give back to the community as part of their marketing plan.
6.Artists take responsibility for controlling the flow/availability of work (taking into account the basic laws of supply and demand).
7.Galleries develop exclusive relationships with artists so they can effectively promote their careers, locally and nationally.
8.Galleries co-op advertising in National Publications
9.Invite art schools, agencies and other arts entities to play a larger role in educating fine artists and venues about proven marketing practices
10.Establish a forum to determine how each of us can play a role in a healthy art market.
11.Create an annual Central Florida Art Expo,put on by the artist group presenting top artists and galleries to regional art buyers.
12.Artists establish consistent retail prices.
13.Explore methods of developing emerging collectors. Reach out and encourage the younger "arty party" scene by promoting/educating them about collecting fine art – not just getting drunk in front of it and hoping they will buy.
14.Artists offer a wide (but consistent) price range of artwork at exhibitions (from reproductions to large scale works).
15.Artists leverage their influence by working together
16. Utilize Facebook to inform,communicate,educate
,and build a better bigger art industry in the state.
You can friend artist Tom Davidson on Facebook and make your own comments on his Notes page there. Or, contact him through his website: http://www.portraitspetsanpeople.com
I added this comment:
Tom, I'm in complete agreement with your thinking. Given the indiviualist nature of most artists, I have no delusions that your suggestions will be difficult to implement. But, I don't believe there are many better solutions either. You have my full support for your thoughts and suggestions as they closely mirror my own.