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Art of the Call Podcast: Springbox Gallery in Portland Oregon with Erin Leonard
Here's another Art of the Call video podcast where we ask directors, artists and curators to talk about the call for entry process.

Putting out a call

For group shows we have a guest curator determine the theme - that person will come to us and pitch an idea, if it sounds good they will put out the call to different networks

In our market a lot of it is word of mouth and networking

For example our annual toy show, it's the artists' interpretation of toys as fine art - it can be anything from photography to sculpture

Usually something pretty loose


Usually pretty open ended, about a paragraph of what our vision of what it is

We have a guest curator with a vision of what they want to see, they don't necessarily state that on paper - they usually want it to be a little bit open so they see who is attracted to that type of call and what comes in.

Emerging vs professional artists

Our focus is primarily emerging artists - we have some well known regional artists but that's just from word of mouth - we also have some well known international artists but to be frank, they've come to us - we haven't put out that kind of call

The calls are usually for emerging artists and group shows

Entry fees

No entry fees, we just see it as part of the overhead, we earn our commission - there's a reason why what the commissions are, so we don't have a price for that, it's part of our job

Hanging the shows

We have the artists - if we have a guest curator then our expectation is that they're going to do the hanging

Sometimes they have artists bring in their work and do that

We always ask that it's up to the artists for delivery and returns - that is their responsibility and the cost of insurance

It's different from show to show, it's in the call what's expected.

Image quality

That's pretty loose, when we're going to use them for our web site or the show then that's where we say you need to have it look like this

It has been my experience I think artists really struggle getting decent images of their work - we don't know what we're looking at - for us it's quite telling what kind of image comes in what we can expect - when you are going to be in the show - it's kind of a test

It's not a test of the quality of the art - for example we have an artist who's taking images with his cell phone, but he sells a lot of art so we'll put up with that

If it's a cold call and you're sending in bad images we probably aren't going to pay attention to the art too much, we just don't have time

Getting the word out

We are just waking up to that, we started Facebook a couple years ago - also linkedIn, we have Constant Contact with the emails

Sending out local press releases, we really don;t have a lot of success with in our local hometown

We just woke up to the fact of the importance of art blogs out there - we're going to work with somebody to help promote our artists - to send out videos and a press release to different bloggers out there

With our last show, from a social networking perspective - we had wild success just from being mentioned in a couple of blogs and websites.
Through their blog they usually have a Facebook page and there'll be a link of some type

We can tell in our backend where we're getting these referrals

You can reach a prospective collector in France from Portland Oregon
6 years ago from the web site I never thought that people would buy online like they do - if they're familiar with the artist or gallery, we get a lot of visitors here - we sell more of our artwork to people that are visiting the city from LA/California because we're seen as a very affordable market - we are - so once they've come and know the quality of the artwork there's a trust there - I've been shocked what we've sold just over a photograph on the internet.


Here on Portland we're known for throwing a good party

We had to stop doing that recently just with the way the economy has been - the cost can be anywhere from $700-$1000 - just this last show started to sell beer and wine but it;s only $2 to $3 for a beer

For us it's a celebration - it's a lot of work, a lot of times it's a years worth of work

Our openings are more about celebrating

We used to not have a preview or sell work before the opening - we have changed that so once we put the work out or on the web site it is for sale.

We want the atmosphere for the opening so the artist is comfortable talking about their work, it's fun for them and they're participating

People for the most part like a story about the artist or the artwork - they like to know something about the process

Sometimes we'll have a 2nd opening which will be really relaxed - like a happy hour

We've had things on Sunday afternoons, if artists want to talk about their work - have a salon we're open to that

All those things help get the story and the work out.


People like to have sales

A gallery has to make money to pay for the overhead and everything else so of course we equate in sales
if it's getting talked about

If years later a client or somebody who has visited Portland comes back and talks about a particular show They talk about a particular piece of artwork as a friend and are sorry it's not there anymore - with all these terrible years that we've had, we're hoping that with good will, with people remembering that

Get someone interested in being a collector

posted on Feb 07, 2013 • permanent link

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