Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

How to Sell Your Art for Beginning Artists

Shemar MooreI have had several young artists just starting out ask me how to sell their art.  These are talented artists, and their work appeals to a varied audience.  They can’t understand why their art isn’t selling.  I gave them a summary of how I began selling my art.  The steps I outline below serve as guideposts to helping them figure out how to jump-start their art sales.

Hone Your Skills

For years I painted solely to hone my skills long before I started selling my art.  I am primarily self-taught.  My formal training has come in the form of watching videos online by artists who shared their tips and techniques for painting using various mediums, varied subject matter, and techniques.  I spent years trying to determine my artistic style, trying different techniques until I settled in on the ones the worked best for me.  Spending those years honing my skills has been invaluable in making my art skills stronger .

Develop Your Niche

Oprah WinfreyThere are so many artists out there.  There is so much art to choose from, especially if you are an art collector.  So as an artist, how do you make your art stand out from the crowd? Find a niche market that isn’t overly saturated.  If you love animals, consider painting horses, cats, or some other kind of pet.  If you live on the beach, painting boats or coastal scenes might be to your liking.  If you paint people well, consider portrait painting.  That is what I did.  For years, I shied away from portraits for a long time because I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to paint them well enough that people would be willing to pay for them.  I watched tons of videos on how to paint eyes, faces, and hair, and I used the techniques given in the videos to improve my skills.  Over time, I got better at making the portraits look like the person.  Then I focused on developing my unique style when painting portraits so that there was a consistency in my paintings.  When people began buying my portraits, I realized I had found my niche.

Determine Your Target Market

Knowing your target audience is important for any artist because if you don’t know who you are painting for, you will never get your sales off the ground.  I decided to focus on painting portraits, so I needed to figure out who would most likely purchase a portrait painting.  I did a little research to see who tends to buy for the household–women primarily.  To reach these women, I needed to know their demographics–age, economic status, education, buying habits, etc.  Once I narrowed my focus, I developed strategies to seek out these women, locally and online.

Produce Great Art

Jada PinkettWhen we sit down and put a brush to canvas, we intend for the work to be our best work.  Sometimes things don’t always work out that way.  That is why we practice. Practice makes perfect, right?   When showing your artwork online, at an art show, or in a gallery, you always want it to be your best work.  When you approach a prospective buyer, you definitely want to show your best work.  This will increase your chances of having the prospective buyer become a customer of your art.

Set Up a Website and a Blog

A website and a blog are necessary for reaching your audience.  They serve as a sales portal that is available to visitors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.   Your website and your blog should be a calling card for your customer or potential buyer.  The website should contain images of your best work.  It will allow the visitor to your website to see what you do.  This is where your best artwork should be posted.  Your website and your blog should also be easy to navigate.  You want your visitors to stay a while and see what you have to offer.  Before the visitors leave, you want to have a way of connecting with them so that they will return to see what new artwork you have available.  Create a newsletter or offer a freebie in return for subscribing to your website or blog.  You will be able to capture their email addresses so that you have a way of corresponding with them after they have left your website or blog.

Make a Business Plan

If you want to make money from your art, you need to understand that your art is a business.  Therefore, you need to have a business plan.  The business plan helps you identify the goals for your art business.  You need to establish short-term and long-term goals for your art business.  What do you want to achieve in one year?  Three years?  Five years?   You may want to participate in a certain number of art shows for the first year to bring awareness to your artwork, or you may want to approach art galleries to sell your art.  You may even want to sell your art online to reduce overhead costs.   The business plan allows you to set goals and objectives for your art business and to develop strategies that will help you meet those goals.

Register Your Business

Once you are ready to go into business, you will need to make sure you’re in compliance with all local, state and federal registration regulations.  You will need to register your business name and determine where you plan to house your business.  For many artists, including myself, I began by working out of my home.  If you operate your business out of your home, find out if there are any zoning restrictions for your state, city, and/or county.  Contact your city’s or county’s zoning department if you plan to have a home-based business.  They’ll be able to tell you whether or not your residence is zoned for a home-based business.  You may be required to have a business license for your city and/or county.  Check with your city to find out what is required for your area.  Also you may need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN), if you have at least one employee.  If you plan to operate as a sole proprietorship and have no employees, you can use your social security number instead of the EIN.

Devise a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is the detailed blueprint on how you will achieve the goals for your art business.  You begin by developing a set of strategies that will be used to execute your marketing plan.  The strategies specify which steps to take, how those steps will be implemented, and how long it will take to accomplish the steps in the marketing plan.  An example of a marketing strategy would be hosting a drawing or a giveaway  on your website or blog.  You would need to determine the rules of entry for the drawing or giveaway.  You also would need to decide on the prize for the winner or winners.  How you will promote the drawing would also need to be determined.  By addressing all of these strategies, you will ensure a successful marketing campaign.

Promote Your Art Locally

Most artists begin to reach their target audience locally.  The easiest way to get your art noticed is to share it with your family and friends.  They are great for feedback and oftentimes are your first customers.  Utilize this resource because they are great for getting your artwork noticed through word of mouth.  When they tell a friend about your artwork and that person tells a friend about your artwork, the word gets around, and you may get referrals from their communications.  The workplace is also a great place to reach your target audience.  You have direct access to your coworkers, and you are able to get their contact information for future communications about your artwork.  Also check out other avenues for getting your artwork in front of potential customers.  Consider hosting an art show at your studio, at a local restaurant, or at some other business that would be willing to host a show for you.  Enter some local art contests or participate in festivals and fairs in your community. Contact local galleries that may be interested in the type of artwork you produce.  There is a lot of opportunities available locally.  You just have to search them out to get your artwork seen.

Create an Online Presence

Mardi Gras Mask #1In this day and age, you must have a online social presence.  It can be difficult putting yourself and your artwork out there if you are not sure how it will be received. But if you are confident in your artwork, don’t be afraid to share it online.  Choose the social sharing site that works for you–Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram.  There are others out there, but choose the few that you can use successfully on a regular basis.  They can be time-consuming, especially when you need to be painting your art, so set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to share your work on social media sites.  That way the rest of the time can be spent doing what you love, painting.

Communicate with Potential Customers

Communicating with people who could become your customers is paramount to making your art business a success.  Who are your potential customers?  Begin with your family, your friends, and your co-workers.  Think about the people you see on a daily or weekly basis–the people in the grocery store, at the laundromat, at the doctor’s office, or even at your favorite restaurant.  Your potential customers are all around you and are just waiting for you to share your artwork with them.   They are also online, so make sure to communicate with them through your social networks.  Take advantage of what is right in front of you and use your potential customers to get the word out about your work.  Make sure you have a way to communicate with them.  Get their email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses so that you can let them know when you have new artwork available.

Build a Mailing List

An email list is probably the most important piece of your marketing plan because it is a direct way to reach your potential customer.  When someone gives you their email address, it is a huge sign that they trust you and want to interact with you.  They get a ton of junk mail as it is, so when they give you their email address, that is a sign that they want to hear from you.  Treat that email like gold!  People won’t check your website or your Facebook or Twitter posts every day, but they will check their emails many times a day.  It is so easy for people to miss your Facebook status update or your Twitter post, but they rarely overlook a new email in their inbox.  It is up to you to make sure you are are not taking the email for granted  Send your customers quality content that they want to receive.  Use the email to inform them of new artwork you have available, upcoming art shows, specials or discounts on artwork, or other quality content that you feel they would want to know about.

Follow Up with Your Customer

After you have made contact with a customer–it could be a first encounter, it could be an inquiry from the customer, or it could be a sale–follow up with him or her.  If it is the first time meeting the customer, make sure to let him or her know about your artwork.  Provide a sample of your artwork on a business card or postcard.  These are items potential customers will not be so quick to throw away.  You want them to think about you whenever they decide they want to purchase a piece of artwork.  If it is an inquiry from a customer about your artwork, you want to be able to tell them everything they need to know to make an informed purchase of your artwork–price, size, availability, shipping rates, etc.  Make sure you provide everything the potential customer needs to make the sale.  If, by chance, you do make a sale, then congrats to you!  This is a cherished customer.  Why?  Because if a customer buys from you, that tells you they like your work.  They may also be willing to buy from you again if the buying experience was a good one.  So follow up with this cherished customer.  Offer a freebie or a discount on their next purchase of some of  your artwork.  Building this relationship with your customers is paramount to helping your art business grow.  Nurture these relationships.  If you have a handful of dedicated customers who repeatedly buy your artwork, you are well on your way to getting your business off the ground.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Mama's BeadsReview the steps listed in this blog post each and every day.  Then repeat, repeat, repeat.  Decide what works for you and what doesn’t.  If you find techniques that help your business take off, then continue to improve on them.  If you find something doesn’t work, discard it and try something new.  It is all about trial and error in many cases.  There is no one right way to run your art business.  Do what works for you and enjoy the ride!

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I am an artist and author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.

Visit my art website: http://katrinaparkerwilliams.weebly.com/

Read my blog: https://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/

Like my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/KPWmsArtStudio

View my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

 

Art Story #3–August Is Artist Appreciation Month

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In honor of Artist Appreciation Month, Patience Brewster is coordinating a project with fellow artists, I being one of them, that celebrates other artists who inspire us.  Patience Brewster is an artist who creates unique, hand-painted and handmade ornaments and gifts.  She designs all of the items in her collection, and she is best known for her handmade Christmas ornaments.  Visit her website to see more of her holiday collections.  Also follow her blog for updates and the latest news at Patience Brewster.

Several artists that have inspired me are Norman Rockwell, Soon Y. Warren, Marsha Chandler, and Rentia Coetzee.  There are many more, but these artists have helped me to develop my artistic style that is still always evolving.

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Norman Rockwell was an artist and illustrator who used photography to bring his painting ideas to life.  He would often use props and models and photograph them, sometimes creating complete compositions, or he would use elements from different photographs to create his unique compositions for his paintings. I love the realism and technical precision of his cover illustrations he created for the Saturday Evening Post magazine.

Inspired by Rockwell, I like to take photographs of subjects I like to paint, particularly for my portrait paintings, which enable me to create realistic renderings of the subjects.

 

Whitney Houston Painting

Whitney Houston Painting

 

Soon Y. Warren and Marsha Chandler are two watercolor artists who do exquisite artwork.  The vibrant colors and intricate details of Warren’s crystal bowl paintings are breathtaking.

Baby's Breath Sprinkle-872835039

Chandler also does beautiful paintings; the vivid hues of her watercolor paintings seem to jump off the canvas.

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Although these two artists use watercolor as their medium of choice, I use water mixable oil paints, thinned with linseed oil, to create watercolor effects in my paintings.  I am drawn to art that uses bold, vibrant colors and that reflect the beauty in simple things; for example, the faceted bead from a necklace, the rustic texture of a boot, or the reflective surface of glass bottles.

Mama's Beads

 

On a more personal level, the artist who has inspired me, most recently, is a friend I met through Facebook.  Her name is Rentia Coetzee, an artist from South Africa.  I was in awe of one of her paintings of a little boy that just spoke to my heart.  I kept looking at the painting several times and made a decision to purchase it.

 

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She created another painting of another little boy, and I had a similar reaction—I just had to have that one too.  I have never felt that enamored by a painting before, a feeling that resonated with my spirit.  It was so strong that if I did not buy the painting at that time, I knew I would regret it.

 

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Since then, we have built a friendship spanning thousands of miles. Her portraits evoke emotions in me that have never been tapped before.  Also she has encouraged me in my art endeavors and has offered helpful advice on techniques she has used in her paintings that have really motivated me to get my creative juices flowing.  I appreciate her so much.

There are many more artists that have provided inspiration for my paintings, too numerous to mention here.  Suffice to say, I draw inspiration from any piece artwork that has a strong composition and rich colors and that can evoke an emotion in me.

Thank you, Patience Brewster, for coordinating this project to share our inspiration for our artwork with our readers.

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Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

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I am an artist and author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.

Visit my art website: http://katrinaparkerwilliams.weebly.com/

Read my blog: https://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/

Read my art blog: http://katrinaparkerwilliams.blogspot.com/

View my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

Art Story #2–Approaching an Art Gallery

Art Stories

I will be posting a series of art stories to my blog that chronicles my journey as an artist and writer.

If you would like to receive these stories in your email in-box, send me your full name and email address to stepartdesigns at hot mail dot com.

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Art Story #2–Approaching an Art Gallery

As an artist, approaching an art gallery is probably one of the most frightening tasks in an artist’s career.  You ask yourself questions such as…

  • Am I ready for gallery representation?
  • Am I even good enough to sell my art through a gallery?
  • What can I offer a art galleries to make them want to consider my work?

Mama's Beads  These questions and more flooded my head each time I summoned up the guts to approach an art gallery.  When I finally did contact an art gallery that interested me, I did my homework beforehand.  Homework?  Yes. I did some research on the gallery I was interested in representing my art.

New Elements Gallery in Wilmington, North Carolina, is an art gallery that was established in 1985.  The gallery represents over 60 artists–both regionally and nationally recognized–and tends to focus on regional and locals artists, which was one point that intrigued me.  The gallery is located in Wilmington; coincidentally, it is one of my favorite cities to visit.  If I could move now, I would move to Wilmington, NC, as I am in love with visiting the beach.  Maybe one day, I can make that move to the beach.

Originally, New Elements Gallery was located on North Front Street in Wilmington, but in 2011, they moved to 201 Princess Street.  The building is one of the oldest in Wilmington, which used to be a county jail that dates back to 1795.

New Elements Gallery has been owned by Merrimon Kennedy since 1988. She has recently stepped down as gallery owner, and Miriam and Lance Oehrlein have taken over the gallery.  For seven years, Miriam Oehrlein has been exhibiting her own jewelry at New Elements.  The new owners state, “We hope to continue the grand reputation of the gallery by retaining our incredible artists, curating our clients’ collections, and providing the great service for which New Elements Gallery is known” (Star News Online).

The Gallery has leased art to the television and film industry for sets.  This is another reason I wanted to check out this gallery.  Listed below are some television programs to which gallery art has been leased.

  • Dawson’s Creek
  • One Tree Hill, Revolution
  • Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
  • Road to Rodanthe
  • Safe Haven

In conjunction with Fourth Fridays each month, New Elements offers exhibitions, featuring a different selection of their artists’ work, from paintings to sculpture to jewelry.  Some artists represented at New Elements are listed below.

New Elements is featuring three exhibitions this year.

From the research I have gathered, I am very interested in learning more about New Elements Gallery.  The artists represented are some of the best artists exhibiting work in North Carolina and, particularly, in Wilmington.  With new owners, it seems as if the legacy of New Elements Gallery will continue to live on.

Stay tuned for my next installment of art stories.

 

 Have you visited an art gallery, an art show, or an art festival?  Post your responses in the comment section below.

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Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

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I am an artist and author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.

Visit My Art Website: http://katrinaparkerwilliams.weebly.com/

Read my Blog: https://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/

View my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

Art Story #1– My Mother’s Day Card

Art Stories

I will be posting a series of art stories to my blog that chronicles my journey as an artist and writer.

If you would like to receive these stories in your email in-box, send me your full name and email address to stepartdesigns at hot mail dot com.

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Art Story #1– My Mother’s Day Card

White Iris

White Iris

“White Iris”  Oil on Watercolor Paper  9 x 12

Available at Daily Paintworks

A lot of my art and writings have been inspired by conversations with my mother.  She has been my biggest fan and my greatest inspiration.  She has encouraged me to pursue writing and painting as hobbies.  My mother has always been creative, and I know I have inherited my creative abilities from her.

I don’t believe I would have started writing, let alone began painting, if it were not for my mother telling me one thing:  “You’ve got a story to tell.  If you don’t tell it your way, someone else will, and you may not like it.”

When she told me these words, I was only a teenager, asking her advice about a story idea to submit to Reader’s Digest magazine.  That was the first time I felt a desire to write.  I didn’t know what to write about, though.  I didn’t have a story to tell.  I hadn’t lived life enough to have a story to tell.  I was a young girl from a strict and devout Primitive Baptist upbringing.  My father was a preacher and a farmer, and my mother was a preacher’s wife.  Both of them, in my eyes, were the moral equivalent of Mary and Joseph from the Bible.  There were no dramatic childhood events that shaped my life.  So what story did I have to tell?

I pondered over this question for days.  Then I went to my mother to ask her what I could write about.  She was standing in the kitchen over a pot of chicken pastry–she made the best chicken pastry.  One day I will post her recipe here on my blog.  I can taste it now.  But I digress–My mother thought for a moment and then sat down at the kitchen table to recount her story of my older brother.  One I had never met.  My mother and father had nine heads of children.  Let me correct that.  They had ten. My mother carried a child for nine months, but gave birth to a still-born baby.  It would have been my parents’ fifth child.

I had never heard that we had another sibling until this day.  I was blown away by the revelation.  Why didn’t I know this information?  Wasn’t this something the whole family should have had knowledge of?

My mother informed me that the older children knew of this baby, but my parents felt the younger children wouldn’t understand what happened, so they were never told.  I was one of those younger children.  I was the third youngest of nine children.

My mother described how painful it was to have carried this baby for nine months and then to lose the child.  She had bonded with the child inside her, so when she lost him, she grieved for him as if he had been with her for some years.  This was the first time I can remember connecting with my mother as a friend.  A true friend.  She opened up and shared something so personal with me.  Her daughter.  Her teenaged daughter.  I couldn’t fathom any of the pain she had experienced, being so young myself, but I could empathize with her since it was my brother that I had lost.  Finding out that I had another sibling and losing him in the same conversation brought a sense of loss over me that was overpowering.  It hit me harder than I thought it would.  I grieved for days over the news.

When I was able to process the news in my young mind, I sat down at the kitchen table to try to tell my mother’s story in my words.  To try to understand her pain from her daughter’s point of view.  I showed her my first draft, and she couldn’t help but to cry, telling me that seeing the words to her pain on paper hurt more than she had remembered.

I submitted the story to Reader’s Digest, but it did not get published, however.  But it did spark my interest in writing.

Since that day my mom and I have grown closer and closer.  I used to judge my moral compass by how I saw my mother and father live their lives, and I believed I could never live up to the standards that a preacher and his wife set for their children.  No one could.  And when I realized just how much I was a failure in comparison, a guilt-ridden cloud covered my life.  Nothing I did was ever good enough in my eyes.  However, I was my worst condemner.  No one else saw me the way I saw myself.

I didn’t realize this until my mother told me how she saw me one day when I wanted to leave the church that I had joined, only because I believed that was where I was “supposed” to be because that was the church my father was pastor of for many years.  My mother was so proud of me when I joined that church.  I felt like I was living the life she had envisioned for me.  After several years at this church, I discovered that I wasn’t receiving what I needed to grow in my faith and decided to leave and find another church.  I was so torn and conflicted about leaving, feeling that I was somehow turning my back on my parents’ faith, turning my back on my walk with God, and turning my back on God Himself.  I agonized over the decision for weeks before I came clean to my mother.  I just knew she was not going to understand.  I believed she would feel my leaving would be a slap in her face after spending her life as a devout Primitive Baptist.

I will never forget her words:  “You can’t live the life I want for you any more than I could live the life my mother wanted for me.  You have to live your life for you and you only.”  My mother didn’t realize how much she saved my life that day when she told me those words.  I was on the verge of losing it because I had spent the majority of my life trying to please all the people that were important in my life.  When you try to do that, you get pulled in so many different directions, and you feel like your life is a rubber band, stretching and yielding to others’ demands.  Then when everything goes awry, you bounce all over the place trying to recover and find yourself.  I was tired of the roller coaster ride.  I had to live my life for me and me alone.  I eventually left that church.

That day, my mother gave me permission to be my true self.  I didn’t have to try to please everyone.  Even if I tried, I never could.  I learned to say “No” to things I didn’t want to do and not feel guilty about it.  That was my weakness in the past, and I burned myself out trying to be everything to everybody but to myself.  I started putting myself first and letting my decisions be guided by that act.

My husband told me I had changed drastically during this time. Actually, he said I was mean.  I know I was, but when you tell someone no and are adamant about it, it can come across as mean.  That is what my intentions were, and I was not going to change them.  I liked the person I was becoming, and others could either like me or not.  Those that didn’t like the new me, could step aside, and many did.  I was on the other side of forty, and the second half of my life was going to be lived on my terms.  I was able to do this because my mother gave me her blessing.

It is amazing how the ties to your childhood can have a stranglehold on you in adulthood.  The more you try to run away from those ties, the more entangled you can become.  It is only when you disentangle those ties that bind your true self that you are freed.

I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my mother.  She helped me to discover things about myself that took my lifetime to learn:  I am fiercely loyal.  I am even more fiercely protective of the ones I love.  I am slow to anger but brutal in my anger.  I know my insecurities and weaknesses and embrace them as they force me to learn more about myself.  I draw upon my Godly constitution for strength and determination.

I am the woman my mother helped to mold, and I am still discovering new facets of myself everyday.  If you can establish a friendship with your mother, please do so. Having a mother as a friend is a gift from God.  This is my mother’s day card to my mother.

Stay tuned for my next installment of art stories.

 

What are some of your Mother’s Day stories?  Post in the comment section below.  

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Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

Cherries 3 Small 1, Contemporary Fine Art, Acrylic Painting

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I am an artist and author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.

Visit My Art Website: http://katrinaparkerwilliams.weebly.com/

Read my Blog: https://katrinaparkerwilliams.wordpress.com/

View my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

Marilyn Monroe Painting Lips

This is a commissioned painting for a lady whose daughter wants a picture of Marilyn Monroe’s lips.

"Marilyn Lips" by Katrina Parker Williams

“Marilyn Lips” by Katrina Parker Williams

Prints are available.  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com.

Tiny Art Show Exhibition

Tiny Art Show Call for Entries

Yellow Volkswagen

Yellow Volkswagen

This exhibition is open to all artists, craftsman, community members, adult or child. Any media and subject matter is eligible. All pieces must not exceed 5”x5”x7” in any direction. Work must be available for the entire exhibit and must be for sale. (must be priced at $5 or $10)

No entry fee and all applicable and appropriate artwork is accepted!

Drop Off Dates & Times

January 29 – 31, 2015

10 a.m. – 9 p.m Thursday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4pm Saturday

Exhibition Dates: February 6 – 27, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, February 6, 2015

 

 

Art Exhibition–On the Wall Exhibition

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

On the Wall Exhibition: A National Juried Exhibition

ON THE WALL: National Juried Art Exhibition
Exhibition Dates: March 6-28, 2015ON THE WALL is a national juried competition recognizing excellence in craft and fine art.

Eligibility:
This exhibition is open to an artist in any media and subject matter. Any media and any subject matter is eligible, but must hang on a wall.  All work must have been completed in the past 3 years and not previously exhibited at PCAC. All pieces must fit through a standard size door. Work must be available for the entire exhibit. Video entries are accepted but special equipment must be provided. Work must be “ready to hang” or will not be eligible even if accepted.

Find out more at On the Wall Exhibition.
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