Art is woven into the fabric of Olive Public Relations. We have been proudly representing artists, galleries, festivals, art fairs, art non-profits, and museums for nearly 15 years as an agency and our founder since the beginning of her career for over 23 years. No matter how big or small the client, the excitement of opening a show for the public to enjoy is second to none. Art exhibitions are not only showcases of talent and creativity but also opportunities for artists to connect with the community and gain recognition in the art world. Beyond that, they are often reflections of social justice, storytelling, chronicling history, and more. Behind the scenes of every successful art show lies a well-executed public relations strategy. Today, we’ll pull back the curtain and explore the intricacies of launching a triumphant exhibition campaign and shed light on the value a boutique agency like Olive brings to the table.
For any successful campaign, there needs to be authentic interest. Our founder Jenn presses on the importance that we must authentically care about the projects we are working on. In other words, if they weren’t a client, we would likely attend in our personal lives. This isn’t a priority for most agencies, but it is at Olive.
Setting the Stage: Research and Planning
The foundation of a successful art show campaign lies in meticulous research and comprehensive planning with a lot of experience. What are the show’s objectives, target audiences, and key messages? We bring decades of experience in the local and national art scene to analyze trends, promotional opportunities, and relevant media outlets and influencers. Armed with this information, we formulate a tailored strategy to generate buzz and capture the attention of the art community. It absolutely helps us to have great experience and wonderful community connections where target audiences cross over.
So What? Crafting a Compelling Narrative
Art shows are not just about the artwork but also the story behind them. It’s our #1 priority to get down to the nitty gritty and really get to know the artist and body of work to create a captivating narrative that resonates with the audience. We uncover the inspiration, themes, and points of difference in their work, and then craft these key messages into compelling stories that will captivate the media and art enthusiasts alike. By highlighting the artist’s vision and the significance of their creations, we create a buzz-worthy narrative that sets the stage for a successful art show.
After all, the complete unveiling doesn’t happen until the opening, so we need to be able to express the experience attendees will have. We don’t always have the freedom to show the complete body of work. In fact, we rarely do and we most definitely don’t recommend releasing the full experience as we want media and influencers to also relish in the unveiling on opening night.
Relationships with the Media
The media and local tastemakers serve as a powerful ally in generating buzz and attracting attendees to an art show. Lucky for us, our connections and networks in the local arts scene and beyond run deep, and we’re able to tap into relationships with journalists, art critics, and influencers. From here, we pitch stories, offer exclusives, and interviews. By nurturing meaningful relationships and understanding the interests and preferences of journalists, we’re always able to secure top-tier media placement.
Social Media and Digital Platforms
In today’s digital age, social media and online platforms are indispensable tools for promoting art shows. It’s important to sync your PR and social media strategies to capitalize on opportunities for promotion and cross-promotion. Social media is a great tool to create dedicated event pages, share behind-the-scenes content, and run targeted advertising campaigns to reach art enthusiasts. There is always the option to collaborate with influencers to amplify the show’s visibility and engage with a wider audience.
Direct Outreach and Cross Promotional Partnerships
These days it can take more to get the same result, so we also support our clients with direct outreach to community influencers and partners who share a similar audience. “It takes a village” takes on new meaning these days. Aligning in mutually beneficial partnerships can serve many benefits to all the parties involved. The key to success is to ensure everyone wins. A great example of a wonderful opportunity is to find an organization with a similar audience who has an event at a different time of the year. You can exchange promotions. Perhaps you offer to promote their event to your audiences, and they do the same. This allows them to stay connected to their audience during an off season and you benefit from the engagement and then you can reciprocate. It’s an example of a marketing opportunity where everyone wins.
Another great example is identifying luxury multi-family communities or HOAs when developers or management companies are looking for creative ways to provide value and benefits to their residents. You can offer to provide a special VIP hour for their audience and in exchange, they send your information to their entire database. Again, their needs are serviced and so are yours.
There are so many ways to cross promote. Another example is a different art form. Perhaps you can create a partnership with the Symphony or Interior Design organization. The key is everyone must benefit from the opportunity, or it won’t be sustainable.
Give Yourself Enough Time
To properly promote an art opening, you always want to make sure you give yourself enough planning time. For long lead national media, you want to begin pitching at least six months out. For regional long leads, it can range from three to four months and all short-leads outreach should begin no later than one month. We can absolutely help you plan for this!
Do You Have an Art Show Coming Up?
Let us help you create a winning strategy that will support you in ensuring a successful turnout of true art patrons and collectors. Olive is here to connect artists with their audience, generate excitement, and maximize exposure for their work. As the art world continues to evolve, PR strategies remain essential in transforming creative visions into impactful experiences for both artists and art enthusiasts. Drop us a message if you have an upcoming show to promote – we would love to hear from you!