Monday, March 13, 2006

PostSecret Sweeps the Bloggies

Frank Warren's amazing PostSecret project has won every single category that it was nominated for in the 2006 Bloggies!

It won:

Best American Weblog
Best Topical Weblog
Best Community Weblog
Best New Weblog

and most important: Weblog of the Year!

Frank Warren will be doing a book signing at the Fraser Gallery on Saturday April 29, 2006 from 7pm - 9pm in conjunction with the 2006 Bethesda Literary Festival.

The PostSecret Book, "PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives," is now available from Amazon.

Order the book here or bring your own and Frank will sign it.

Congratulations to Frank Warren!

Bootcamp for Artists

The next seminar will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2006 in partnership with The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and will be held at the Round House Theatre Education Center located at 925 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD from 10:30AM - 6PM. This seminar is open only to Montgomery County residents.

Please visit this website or e-mail us or call 301/718-9651 if you would like more details. Register using this form (limited to 50 attendees).

The seven hour seminar, which has been taken by over 2,000 artists and arts professionals from all over the Mid Atlantic is designed to deliver information, data and proven tactics to allow artists to develop and sustain a career in the fine arts. The seminar normally costs $80 (includes lunch), but this version is done in partnership with The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and only costs $50 for county residents.

Sometimes called "Boot Camp for Artists" by the attendees, people as far as Arizona, California, New York and South Carolina have attended, including many, many university level art professionals.

In its seven hour format, the seminar covers a wide range of structured issues including:

1. Materials - Buying materials;strategies for lowering your costs, where and how to get it, etc.

2. Presentation – How to properly present your artwork including Conservation issues, Archival Matting and Framing, Longevity of materials, a discussion on Limited editions, signing and numbering, Prints vs. Reproduction, discussion on Iris Prints (Pros and Cons).

3. Creating a resume - Strategy for building your art resume, including how to write one, what should be in it, presentation, etc.

4. Juried Shows – An Insider's view and strategy to get in the competitions.

5. How to take slides and photographs of your artwork

6. Selling your art – A variety of avenues to actually selling your artwork, including fine arts festivals, corporate acquisitions, galleries, public arts, etc.

7. Creating a Body of Works

8. How to write a news release

9. Publicity – How to get in newspapers, magazines, etc. Plus handouts on email and addresses of newspaper critics, writers, etc.

10. Galleries – Discussion on area galleries including Vanity Galleries, Co-Operatives, Commercial Galleries, Non-profit Art spaces, etc.

11. How to approach a gallery – Realities of the business, Contracts, Gallery/Artist Relationship, Agents.

12. Outdoor Art Festivals – Discussion and advice on how to sell outwork at fine arts festivals, which to do, which to avoid, etc.

13. Resources - Display systems and tents, best juried shows and ones to avoid.

14. Accepting Credit cards – How to set up your art business.

15. Grants – Discussion on how to get grants in DC, Regional and National, including handouts on who and where and when.

16. Alternative Marketing - Cable TV, Local media

17. Internet – How to build your website at no cost, how to establish a wide and diverse Internet presence.

The seminar has been a spectacular success, and the feedback from artists can be read online at here and we continue to receive tremendous positive feedback on the practical success that this seminar has meant for those who have taken it.

Hurry, as the 50 spaces usually book very quickly, and we already have several eople signed up.

Register using this form.

The Power of the Web: Art Bloggers

Update: I was a little unclear in one of my points, so I've clarified and revised it a bit.

There has been an online ruckus for a while now because some some bloggers who write about art are understandibly miffed because they are not getting press passes and press invites to some upper crust media events (mostly in NY and at some art fairs).

While this is not a problem here in DC (we all get press invites to nearly everything that goes on in the visual arts scene around here, and so do most other bloggers who write about art, as I see them all at the media events), it is an amazing lack of understanding from anyone in the arts establishment to deny, or most likely, ignore the important presence of some art writers from the Blogsphere.

Granted, at least one of the most vocal complainers is more of a petty, mean-spirited muckracker with a huge inferiority complex who delights in exposing the dirty laundry and woes and flaws and generally the negative side of the art museum scene, and is also somewhat of a regurgitating art writer superbly trained at Google University.

And I'll admit that he's is pretty good at what he has learned to do over the last couple of years in dissecting and exposing the insides of museum's less than kosher dealings and problems. And I'll even add that the cultural tapestry that makes up the visual arts arena, needs a muckracker or two.

Thus, if I was a museum PR person I would be tempted not to invite this Jack Anderson of the artblogsphere either (it would be like a Republican official asking Michael Moore to videotape their wedding, or Halliburton asking for Air America to come do an interview).

But he is still an online arts presence and merits a press pass.

And a sizeable number of the other cyberpeople out there who write about the visual arts, do exactly that: write about art shows, do regular reviews, commentary, etc. And a significant number of them, do add intelligent, and fresh critical, and constructive conversation, and regular reviews to the contemporary arts dialogue.

So it is stupifyingly backwards-thinking to ignore the fact that them/us bring to the artmosphere a refreshing new breath of words -- and here's the main reason why it is stupid to ignore art bloggers as press entity: publicity.

Putting my art dealer hat on: PUBLICITY!

It's all in the numbers, and the new demographics that these cyber writers are now reaching.

Let's take DCist for example.

I don't know how many hits DCist gets a day, as they hide their counter, but I am certain that it is in the thousands. Certainly more than all other visual arts online blogs combined. I repeat: more than ALL of us art writers, art critics, art observers and art muckrackers combined.

This potential fact presents the interesting possibility that Heather Goss and Adrian Parsons may be now the two most widely read art online local writers/critics in the Greater DC area, and (depending how DCist ranks with all the other ists) in cyberspace!

Simple numbers: Goss and Parsons.

Not Campello nor Kirkland or Silverthorne or the rare Capps review or Jack Anderson, or anyone else on the blogroll who may write every once in a while about a DC art art show (although combined we probably all add up to 2-3 thousand hits a day).

And because not everyone who picks up a Washington Post reads Gopnik or Dawson or O'Sullivan, and not everyone who picks up the City Paper reads Cudlin or Jacobson, that immediately seems to put both Goss and Parsons as one of the top seven most-read art writers in the capital city of the United States of America, and I would venture to say that they are (by the virtue of whom they write for) the most widely read Washington-based online art writers on the planet (and they're unpaid!).

And I would submit that (because of the format and demographics of a site like DCist), a large percentage of people who visit the DCist website, read or at least glance at any and all new posts; that's the nature of Blog "reading."

And thus... is it so far of a stretch to realize that DCist's art writers are reaching more people on a daily, immediate basis, than Dawson or Gopnik, et al. do on a twice-a-month basis?

Do they carry the same "umpf"? Not yet.

But "umpf" is often only good for the artist's resume and for the critical standing of a gallery or museum show's attendance numbers, and (in DC anyway) to a lesser extent, for art sales.

And if a museum director or PR person "knew" that a DCist review would get them an extra 200 visitors, or a gallerist knew that the same review would get them an extra 25 visitors and an additional potential sale... would they invite those bloggers to a press preview and/or give them "press passes"?

In DC it's already done, so it's not an issue here.

Somehow, in the center of the art universe, in that little island near Brooklyn, it seems to be an issue.

Wake up.