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Monday, November 15, 2010

Open Studio Tour recap

The tours went pretty well this least as far as visitors go. Lisa Mishler and I stayed really busy both days, which meant we had a pretty steady stream of people! Sunday was the best day, at the most people we had at once was 10. Most showed up later in the day Sunday, for various reasons: farmer's market, church, worked late the night before, slept in, and we were sometimes the last stop because of our location.

Here is the breakdown: about 27 people Saturday, 40 people Sunday.
The good: 
All art sales occurred on Sunday. Most people that came to see us were referred by the other artist's studios on the "Pinky Pig card or got a Pinky Pig card at one of the locations we left them at. Some people did know about the Open Studio Tour from year's past and usually tried to hit two different areas of town each year. So our extra marketing seemed to pay off for the most part. However, two artists (Actually three, my neighbor Ed Muren was on the tour, so people went back and forth between our studios all day) at one studio helped a lot since both of our mailing lists were used to invite people. Having two artists helped immensely to keep people interested in the art, the great food (People loved the hummus and potato salad) and to handle sales. Both of use talked up the other artists on the Pinky Pig card as well as my neighbor's work, and he sent people to see us, so it was a great system.
There was high praise for the 5 signs I put out on my street leading people to the studio. The weather was gorgeous, everyone was really nice, and we met some wonderful people.

The bugs in the system:
Art sales only happened on Sunday, and no one came Saturday and then came back Sunday to buy. We had unique visitors both days, so maybe Sunday could just be the day that the buyers came. The Zocalo magazine had the tour directory this year inside the November issue, so there was no "art calendar" as we have had in the past. A few people asked where the calendars were! I also had a few people call to ask for directions since they couldn't figure out the Zocalo directory at all. There were a couple of complaints that the magazine wasn't available in their area but several people didn't even know about the directory, so they picked up a copy from us.
Too much food! I always make too much but it was great to have some nice snacks for people. We had wine as well, but usually people won't drink because they have to drive. Popular items: veggies & crackers with homemade hummus, potato salad, GF "Oreo-style" cookies, lemonade. One woman was elated that everything was gluten-free!
I had mentioned that I was going to do a solargram demo and it was on some e-mails sent to mailing lists. However, we were so busy it would've been tough to do. Luckily no one asked about the demo since I had forgotten about it anyway.
Only one person asked about the Tucson Art Trail van, which was canceled due to lack of ticket sales. I think the van service is brilliant but we just didn't have time to really market it. We found out about it way too late. There was no mention of it on our Pinky Pig card. Mentioning the van  service in the e-mails and on Facebook was good, but not good enough!

Overall the experience was OK; my art sales were low compared to the amount of people that came to visit. I'm not sure if I will do this next year, but I'll just have to wait and see. I think another Pinky Pig (Or similar) card is definitely going to be in the works, with more restaurant friends listed. Maybe even more artists! We will need a bigger postcard!
More about the tour soon as I hear feedback from the Pinky Pigs artists later this week!

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