The Making of Arts Networking
Just as I was arriving, a TV crew and a journalist were entering the venue too. As the TV crew moved ahead, the journalist fell behind, and I was able to catch up with him. What happened next is a great illustration of why networking for artists is so essential!
As we got to talking, I introduced myself and the journalist asked about my work. Soon, he asked if he could see some of my exhibits and I gladly complied, explaining in detail some of the finer points of my best display pieces.
Well, as I said before, my mind was furthest away from realizing how networking were at play here; but even though I didn’t realise it at the time, that’s exactly what was happening, I had just interconnected with this journalist!
A few days following this unplanned encounter, I saw an article in the local newspaper. It was about the exhibition, complete with my images and highlighting the work that I had displayed! You can imagine how astonished I was at this unexpected publicity! Even though I hadn’t consciously set out to do any arts networking, I managed to pull off a networking coup!
I later thanked the journalist, and commended him on how well the article was written. He was appreciative of the fact that, even though it was a busy time for me, since I was one of the exhibitors, I had taken time to tell him about my work in great detail. We have been in close contact for many years. All in all I realised that networking for artists does not only pay off but brings people who have similar interests together as a community!
Almost every skill can be learned even the art of communication. It does not matter, if you are shy or a weak speaker, by starting out in small steps you will find that in time, networking gets easier.
I was terrified to speak in front of a larger group, until I pushed myself into the role of an art teacher, because I loved it too much and within days I felt not only comfortable but deeply enjoyed teaching. It is exciting to push through fear and expand who you are.
My initial experience of arts networking was unintentional, but the long-term benefits of communicating with others has brought many opportunities. My artist friend and I had a very professional “give and take” relationship, where I helped him on art-related stories he covers, and he occasionally reported events where I had participated. However, networking for artists shouldn’t be an unintentional thing.
If you are in the art business, you should make it a conscious part of your artist promotion and marketing strategy to network. Here’s why:
So how does one go about networking?
Well, networking opportunities are all around you – in the grocery store, the gym, at the community center, on the train or bus – all you have to do is reach out:
Arts networking doesn’t have to be very complex; but it does need to be a formal part of your marketing and promotional strategy.