Last week’s column about the call for grant-seeking proposals put forth by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner got me thinking about calls for art. A question I am asked more often than any other is, “Where can I sell my art?” That one question led me starting my art market 15 years ago.
Even with today’s Internet search capabilities, finding where to go can be a daunting task in a city that can have multiple weather forecasts. Here are my tips on where to get started in the heart of Houston:
There is nothing more encouraging for an artist than hearing praise from strangers – except when that stranger trades money for your art! Having the opportunity to interact with other artists and the public can be more than just a rewarding experience; it can elevate the artist to the next level.
“Talking shop” has many possibilities such as advancing technique and learning about opportunities. Getting started is all it takes to find your niche.
What are you going to find out there when looking for places to show and sell art? Everything from corporations, nonprofits, museums, artist studios, representative galleries and restaurants looking for art to hang. Fortunately, there are artist nonprofits that list calls for entries and have their own offerings of classes, workshops and business education. An area where most creatives struggle is the business aspect of the art world.
Get on the mailing lists for Fresh Arts, Glasstire and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The websites are going to have a more extensive listing than what may be emailed, so don’t wait.
Fresh Arts is one of my favorites and my pick for the best local resource for calls for entries. The organization’s short mission statement sums it up well: “We champion local artists and creative entrepreneurs to succeed in the business of art.”
Fresh Arts has a weekly events newsletter called “Art on Tap,” which is primarily user-generated and an artist resource newsletter that is an excellent source of opportunities that has a call for entries, workshops, grants, job opportunities, residencies and more sent out every month. Visit fresharts.org
According to its website, Glasstire is the oldest online-only art magazine in the country and the only publication in Texas that is producing serious art criticism on a daily basis. Linked in its weekly newsletter is the “Top Five,” a video commentary by Christina Rees and Brandon Zech covering Glasstire’s top five art events in Texas. Visit glasstire.com.
The Texas Commission on the Arts has an extensive website that may surprise you as it did me. Here an artist can find opportunities all over the country. Visit arts.texas.gov.
No commentary about artist opportunities would be complete without mentioning the Visual Arts Alliance (VAA). Again, this arts education organization says it best in its mission statement: “VAA produces professionally juried art exhibitions providing opportunities for members and non-members to have their work professionally judged and viewed by the general public. VAA also organizes educational programs including studio, gallery and museum tours in addition to presentations of art-related resources. Recreational programs provide creative and supportive events beneficial to artists.”
This is a great group to join to meet other artists on a professional level. Visit visualartsalliance.org.
A word of caution: There are many legitimate places to enter and show your art and there are few that are questionable. I am not a fan of any event that expects you to sell tickets for an art event. Almost all art receptions and group exhibits are free to attend. Buying the art is where the money is made, not from door fees.
Now a real call for art. Area artists are invited to apply to Archway Gallery’s 11th Annual Juried Competition, benefiting New Hope Housing. Entries may be delivered on July 1 or July 2 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. at Archway Gallery to be judged by Penny Cerling.
Artists may enter one or two works for the entry fee of $30. Prizes include generous cash awards. The first-prize winner will also receive guest artist hanging privileges for a month at Archway Gallery. Interested artists can get entry information and forms on the gallery’s website, ArchwayGallery.com.
Cohen is an artist and founder of First Saturday Arts Market and the Market at Sawyer Yards. Find him at ArtValet.com.