But Will They Visit a Virtual Art Show?

8869201287?profile=originalShould you bother creating/updating/promoting your art online? 

Look what I just found:

  • The Louvre in Paris says its web traffic has gone from 40,000 visitors a day to 400,000 a day since the museum closed to visitors due to the Coronavirus. The website offers videos and virtual reality experiences here

Okay, that's the Louvre ... but what about all the shows that are offering virtual art shows? Artists are also. Will they come? Will they buy?

Crossing our fingers here. 

This is some promo we've done to encourage virtual shopping for art: https://conta.cc/3c1mwm9

What do you think? What are you doing?


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  • I want to weigh in here as a website designer.  I think an on-line art fair has some merit, but it can't be run the same way as a real world show.  It can't present the art in the same depth.  On the other hand, it also doesn't have the same time constraints.  It won't cost anymore to run the show 24 hours a day than 8 or 10 hours a day.  It won't cost any more to run the show for a week or a month than for a weekend.

    What I would suggest is that every artist present 3 or 4 images that link back to their websites.  There should be a coupon code for the show that enables any purchaser to get  a discount from the artist when it is used.  The discount could be a price reduction, or it may be free shipping.  For those artists who do not have e-commerce, the on-line show can link to a page for their work available for purchase from the show website.  Those pages should be limited to 8 or 10 items.

    One significant benefit to the artists from this approach is that the show promoters should have larger lists than most artists. so this is a very easy way to get new people to their websites.

    It is absolutely true that sales are not going to match a real world event.  For one thing, the best photos are not going to be as informative as seeing the work in person, and there will be very little possibility of engagement with the shopper.  On the other hand the cost of participation will be much lower - no travel to hotels, no theft, no damage to the art in transit.  It gives an opportunity to build the artist's email lists.  Plus any sales are better than none at all.

  • I've been participating in some online shows, but so far no art sales from any of them. Not even a whole lot of comments or interaction from my entries into those shows. But they're small local FB events. One was very well organized and widely publicized, though. I think one of the problems with them is the amount of time it takes to scroll to wherever you happen to be in the lineup of posts. I don't even like doing it to find my own posts... so a better way to present all of the participants would be nice. The other thing I've been doing is stocking my own online shop. I'm still not done listing my originals or prints, but since I started adding them I have noticed more visits to the shop and website. I have sold a couple of sets of paints (I make them from local pigments) due to the increased exposure, but not from any of the virtual shows. If the traffic to my website continues to increase, I could imagine feeling hopeful about selling at least paints and prints that way. I did apply and receive the disaster loan/grant, but no idea yet how much was approved. I just don't feel very confident that online will ever be a good way for me to sell originals. I'm too much of an unknown as an artist.

  • I usually participate in the annual Los Alamos Arts & Crafts Fair held the first Saturday of May.  Of course, they had to cancel (and byw, refunded 100%).  But, today and tomorrow they are hosting, free to those artists who were accepted into the show and wanted to participate, an online art show:  https://losalamosartscouncil.org/may-2nd-and-3rd-virtual-craft-fair

    Don't know how successful it will be, but I certainly appreciate their doing this for us.  In terms of online marketing, I've reactivated my Etsy store.  Spending a lot of time on the computer, but at least its keeping me connected to my art.  I haven't felt much like creating since being Forced to stay home - what's the psychology of that!

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