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forwarded good advice from a nameless clayarter

updated tue 12 aug 08


Kelly Savino on sun 10 aug 08

I'm forwarding this to the list with permission and much gratitude...

Hi Kelly,
Congratulations on finishing your MFA. Now.....

1) Do the fairs, but they are secondary, just to bring in money and
keep your hands in clay. You also want to continue building a
customer/collector base. Also apply to juried shows.

2) Start combing Percent for Art listings. Start with your state's art
association and advance from there; contact other artists doing this
work and find out what venues they check or receive information from for
Percent for Art announcements. Often you are not limited to your state
on these projects. This will bring in larger chunks of money and get
your art out INTO THE PUBLIC VENUE!!!! If you have to, propose and
donate a small project for a public place to get the first one done--to
be able to say "I can pull this off." There should be some
not-for-profit organizations that would accept a work of art
(installation art) as a donation if you have to do the first one that
way. I can certainly see you mixing your love of children's stories
and tales with clay expression and using the result as installation
pieces in public places where children are involved. New schools and
hospitals as well as new state social service buildings will have
allocation for Percent for Art projects. These are three places where
children are involved. I can see you doing a great 3-D type tile
project depicting some local folk lore or children's story.

For some reason from Clayart reading I think you are in Ohio--if so, key
"Ohio Percent for Art" into Google and a new world will open up for
you--if not in Ohio--key in similar for any state.

3) Start putting together a proper resume and portfolio and begin
contacting galleries. Be selective in what work you show them. Start
with your best work and the highest end galleries you can find in your
area, or that you feel comfortable with at a distance. If you are
rejected on that level, move a notch or two down. You'll be able to
move back up once you get a few years behind you and build your resume.
Ask for a show, or ask to be included in a group show. Theme shows are
best. Get into venues that participate in First Friday type art
events. Get a couple of these a year on your resume as time moves

4) Teach--even if it isn't at a university at first. One of the marks
of a great artist is the influence they have on those coming after them.
Charge accordingly and make some money. If you can get on a workshop
circuit, that will give you great exposure in many ways. You can also
make gallery contacts in areas where you teach. Be sure to contact
your local university clay department and let them know you'd love to
teach a workshop for them.

5) Write about clay and your experiences working with it, as well as
your trials and tribulations getting your feet on the ground after your
MFA. Write, write, write! You're good at it. Sell your articles and
stories--I think you already have some experience with this. Your
life's contribution may not be just clay--it may be the combination of
clay and writing.

6) Check with area art galleries, gift shops and craft galleries to see
what yearly wholesale or gift shows they attend. Ask if they order
directly from the artists at those shows. Then do some of those
shows!!! (You may not want too much wholesale work, as it can be
limiting. Alternatively, don't over book yourself wholesale-wise. You
want to leave time to go other directions if the opportunity presents.)
After a year or two of doing this, you'll have a wide-range of galleries
placing orders. You can then pick and choose, stop going to the shows,
and simply continue having the galleries you most like to work with
order directly from you.

7) On a local level, find out what resource funds and grants your local
university and museums use to purchase new work for their institutions
and collections. Find out who makes these decisions for each venue, and
how these decisions are made. These institutions have various funds and
grants that allow them to make acquisitions to their permanent
collections. I know in our state, there are several funds that give
money to multiple museums here to purchase, each year, pieces of art
produced (within the previous two years) by a living artist in our
state. Over the years this has allowed the work of many artists (of all
experience levels) to become part of the permanent collections in the
various museums here. I'm sure Ohio has such programs. Some of these
programs are internal funds, and some are grants by private
not-for-profit foundations. You'll need to see a list of some of the
previous acquisitions--some may be on display in your art galleries and
museums--so you know the level of work required. This type of
acquisition is a real boost for your resume. But to be acquired, you
have to be showing in the venues that will be noticed by those in charge
of the acquisitions--hence do your homework and network.

Feel free to share this information or post to others on Clayart to get
their opinions and experiences, but please leave my name off.

(I wrote you some time ago about galleries and collecting; I'd
love to see you succeed in your endeavors. You bring a lot of energy to
the table.)


Lee Love on mon 11 aug 08

On 8/11/08, Kelly Savino wrote:
> I'm forwarding this to the list with permission and much gratitude...

That's basically what I said, but using more words.... :^(

Lee Love in Minneapolis

"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." --Rumi

Lee Love on mon 11 aug 08

Another thing I thought of: Look at the resumes of Profs you respect.

Lee Love in Minneapolis

"Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground." --Rumi