Planning an Open Studio event

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Posted by Luann Udell on August 28, 2001 at 17:01:37:

In two months, I plan to host my first open studio event, over two weekends in October. I'd love to hear from others about things I should keep in mind.
I know there have been articles recently about open house-type events, with multiple artists sharing a show at one person's home. I've got Pam Corwin's article in hand. I'm wondering what things I should keep in mind with an open studio thing, with just me as one artist, and the event in my studio rather than my home. Are there special considerations I should be thinking about?

I've participated for several years on an open studio *tour*, where I was a guest artist in someone else's studio. There were a variety of artists' studios on a self-guided tour which was then advertised through various media and through mailings to each artist's mailing list.

This year, the group feels *my* studio is too far away (another five miles, but we won't go there...!) :^) I'm considering an open studio for myself the last two weekends of October, which will coincide with Parents' Day at our local college and a nationally-recognized Pumpkin Festival here in Keene, NH. A woman at the college art gallery has offered to put out any brochures or flyers I provide, and I think I can also enlist another official at the college to let me post some info about it.

I'm planning on using my mailing list for my state regional retail show--about 400 names. I'm not sure about advertising to the public, as my studio is in a residential neighborhood, and zoning doesn't allow me to have an official retail space. I'm going to check about what the regs are about opening my studio to the public for 2 weekends.

I plan to offer work for sale, including old work, old ventures (vintage jewelry), alternate work I'm not allowed to exhibit at the juried show (beaded necklaces, framed prints, etc.) and such. I'll enlist my daughter to run the cash box & credit card thing.

I'm curious about how much to advertise--stick to my mailing list or go public? Whether to offer refreshments, and if so, should they be in my house rather in my studio? Do I need to worry about security? I'm also curious what kind of incentives to offer customers--10% discount? A bigger discount if they bring a friend? Or a discount tied to amount of money spent? Or a special freebie with purchase? Should I offer giftwrapping and if so, could it be an incentive? How much extra help is advisable?

As you can guess, I'm hoping to get it exactly right the first time ;^) but realize that to be *really* successful, it's something I'll have to build over the years. Eventually, I'd like to enlist other artists to participate at *their* studios--pros? Cons?

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