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4 Reasons to Go to The Eastside Culture Crawl

The Crawl is coming, and there are so many reasons to go!

1. Support your fellow visual art creators. There are many ways to support The Crawl and its participating artists.
a. Go to buy your holiday presents. The Crawl is a primary source of career revenue for many creators. Plus, your attendance registers as a positive vote for self-directed marketing initiatives by artists.
b. Send an email about The Crawl to your friends who value hand-made originality. Nothing beats a testimonial by someone known as motivational advertising.
c. Take your friends. Getting a group together to go to The Crawl is a novel way to spend time with friends.

2. Network. The Crawl gives Metro Vancouver visual artists, designers and crafts persons an incredible opportunity — the mass of open studios and the accessibility of the artists create a valuable networking opportunity.

The Crawl can also help you identify ideal peers with whom you might undertake projects or consult on professional issues. I have made many connections through The Crawl. Each year I meet new artists with whom I sense kinship and who provide me with objective feedback about career issues. Make note of artists who give evidence of particular skills. I have noticed artists who are particularly good at photography, sign-making, specific products, etc. and made note of it so that I can pay them for a consultation.

3. Research. One thing I really enjoy assessing is how the various artists handle the displaying of their work and what techniques or practices they adopt to seduce visitors into their studio. There is a lot of competition at The Crawl. Certainly part of what determines who enters your space is the nature or quality of your work, but snacks, music and “sale” are popular enticement tools.

The Crawl is also an excellent source of pricing information. I have often seen and overheard artists doing observational pricing research but what to price is not the only thing to consider: also worthy of note is how artists price. Pricing should be visible and legible and sometimes pricing incentives (such as “two for one,” installation consultation, etc.) really work. You can meet a lot of buyers of original work at The Crawl, making it an ideal setting to do consumer research. I have learned a lot from our customers about what they are seeking, what makes them buy and how they choose their work. I have also learned a lot about their spending limits by asking questions.

4. Grow your Mailing List. Perhaps there is no more powerful a marketing tool for artists than your mailing list and The Crawl lets you see the various techniques artists use to get the contact information of their visitors. And when you see someone particularly active in the collection of contact information, they might be a valuable source of insight into direct sales marketing for you.

One final point: Don’t be intrusive. Don’t do research that interferes with the host artists.

For the many of us who work in relative isolation, The Crawl gives us an incredible chance to interact in a way that helps our peers and ourselves. Don’t miss it! 

Chris Tyrell Loranger is the author of Artist Survival Skills and Making It!, an arts writer and educator. His popular opinion pieces have appeared in our newsletter since its first issue in 1986. Visit his website, www.christyrell.ca or his art marketing blog http://visualartmerchandising.blogspot.ca, to learn more.

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