Artists Ask Questions About Art Marketing

Artists of all levels have similar questions. These are answers I wrote for an interview in author Barney Davey’s Blog.How is it different for artists these days from a decade ago?The quantum change has been the impact of technology. It’s a double-edged sword. On the plus side, you can reach more people without leaving your studio. On the other hand, there is more competition and more complexity. Artists need to be able to navigate cyberspace as easily as the bricks and mortar world.Technology has changed the way people find art. Now there are thousands of web sites to browse and comparison-shop without leaving home.Technology has changed the way artists, art professionals and galleries promote. A web presence and involvement in social media are no longer optional.Technology has changed the way artists offer art. It’s now easy to create digital versions of originals on various substrates, in various sizes, on demand without resorting to upfront expense for production or dealing with storage.Technology has changed the way we communicate. We live in a nano second world where speed can supplant quality.I remind artists that technology is a tool to spread the word, not a replacement for communication person-to-person.What things have not changed, i.e., need for an artist’s statement, a résumé, and so forth?The more things change, the more they remain the same. The human element is still the core of making, appreciating and marketing fine art. Even art mediated by technology starts with an idea in the artist’s mind.Artists still need a solid body of signature work as the core of their business. They are still in charge of their brand and the audience is still in charge of sales. Exposure is still fundamental to success so the work is seen by the right audience. Consistent marketing is still the key to a sustainable art business. Relationships and trust are still the bedrock of sales.Are artists having success using social media?First, you have to define success. If you measure success by numbers, connect with anyone and everyone. The great promise of social media is relationship building. If you want to build relationships, you have to be more selective. Decide what you have to offer and what you want to know. Limit yourself to people who want the same things. It’s Pareto’s Law: 80% of the possibilities come from direct contact with about 20% of the people. Success for me and artists I work with has come from actually having extended conversations with people online and talking by telephone or meeting them in person. I know – it’s shocking.How can artists maintain balance between creative, business and personal activities?There are three categories here. Artists often think only about two at a time, which turns life into a teeter-totter. I define balance as a dynamic equilibrium of all the things that matter in your life. It’s dynamic because life is always in flux. There is no such thing as finding the perfect still point if you want to fully live your life. You know things are in balance when your stress level goes down and you get the results you want, most of the time, in all areas that are important to you.There are no hard and fast guidelines for creating this delicate balance. Like balancing a mobile sculpture, it is a matter of experimenting with different configurations until you find the one that works. Many of the artists I work with have health issues, are caregivers for elders or children or have jobs other than making art.For some artists, it works better to have certain days for production that are “sacred” – no matter what. If this fits with the rest of your life, that’s great! But not every life is so orderly – and on principle, many artists resist a schedule that is too rigid. In the end, it doesn’t matter what method you use to get it all done. Just make sure that balancing is one of your goals.Has the internet forever changed the artist-gallery dynamic?Galleries were never the whole art market but artists can now easily represent themselves if they are willing to do all the work. Online galleries come in various flavors and artists need to do their due diligence to make sure that they know who they are dealing with. There are many reputable galleries with an online presence, but there are always a few that artists need to look out for. My money is still on the gallerists who limit the number of artists they show and have direct contact with each artist.What is the future for visual artists? Will the digital age overtake traditional forms of marketing art? Have new marketing paradigms changed how artists get their work to market?Art has survived since the cave days and I don’t think demand for it will disappear in my lifetime. Creativity is hardwired into all of us. We live in a visual and graphic world, so there is always a future for image-makers.
The drive to create is timeless.
The need to see and interact is human nature.
There are more ways than ever to create and communicate.The challenge remains making the best work and the best choices of marketing. New channels and speed have changed how artists market and how fast we need to respond, but the buying process is still in the same.What is the most common misperception artists have about a formal mentoring or coaching program, and how do you overcome them?The most common misperception is that there is a quick fix for every art business. Books, programs and recordings are a great source of information – but you have to apply them for things to change. It takes personal reflection and/or discussion to turn that information into knowledge. Knowledge without application goes nowhere. You have to apply knowledge to see what works for you and what doesn’t. That experience – along with successes and failures becomes wisdom you can take to the bank.”Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.” Winston Churchill.Bottom line:Find the spark that makes you and your work something only you can do. Make lots and lots of art. Make lots of connections. Build a handful of great relationships and nurture them. Art marketing is not as mysterious as it seems – it is simply a series of conversations designed to build abridge between you, your art, and your audience.

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Games For the Nintendo Wii – Take the Power!

The Nintendo Wii is unique and is offering console game players a new era. It is small, powerful, easy to use and is getting people to exercise by getting them to get out of their seats to move and physically interact with the games.Being involved with the gameSo far, current games make great use of new proven unique motion-sensitive controllers. One of the first games for Nintendo Wii was Wii Sports. This simple sports games can allow any one of any age, to pick up the controllers and play. Grandpa’s and Grandma’s can now be part of the young children’s computer powered world.In Wii Sports, the controllers are used like a tennis racket, a golf club, a bowling ball launcher, and even boxing gloves. This game is fantastic fun for all ages and has got people off the couch and moving.This is great for young children, getting them active.Nintendo Wii has also proved to be a hit with popular first-person shooting games. Because the controller can be pointed directly at the screen and used as a gun, and is almost as real as you can get. You no longer have to think which button controls what; you simply point and shoot.Also the driving games for Nintendo Wii have been a hit. The Wii controller can be used as a steering wheel to control your car, making it a powerful way to stay on the road in the games.Other games for Nintendo Wii require you to turn the controller horizontally to use in a fashion similar to the older, classic game controllers. Even this action is well suited to the Wii remote and feels very natural.Some games use special input devices, to allow more interactivity. Some music-based games, use devices that are specific to that game like a guitar, microphone, or drum set made especially for Wii games can be used to interact with your game in a never before seen way.There is no doubt, many new games will be developed for Nintendo Wii. The have broken new ground, with outside the box thinking. The new ideas and great controllers and interaction will be winner for kids and for parents who want to get the kids active. Well done!

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Living Cheap Guide to a Free Or Low Cost Health Care Option

There may be a facility that can provide you free or very low cost heath care. That facility could be right in your home town. It is available because of a law that was passed by the US Congress back in 1946. Even though it is an older law, because of it there are still facilities out there that you might be able to take advantage of.In 1946, Congress passed a law that gave hospitals, nursing homes and other health facilities grants and loans for construction and modernization. In return, they agreed to provide a reasonable volume of services to persons unable to pay and to make their services available to all persons residing in the local area. The program stopped providing funds in 1997, but about 200 health care facilities nationwide are still obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care.The program is called the Hill-Burton Free or reduced-cost Care program. Under the program you could be eligible for free health care or low cost health care. The first step is to find out if there is a facility near you that you can go to.There are currently 218 Facilities as of (12/18/2008) that are required to take care of eligible persons. There are facilities all over the country but there are no facilities in these states: Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island, Utah and Wyoming. There should be facilities located in every other state.You can locate a facility through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. You can access a list online at the HRSA website. Look for hillburton.There are certain eligibility requirements that need to be met in order to get free or low cost health care services from these facilities. It has to do with your income and how your income or lack of income compares with the federal poverty income level.You are eligible to apply for Hill-Burton free care if your income is at or below the current HHS Poverty Guidelines. You may be eligible for Hill-Burton reduced-cost care if your income is as much as two times (triple for nursing home care) the HHS Poverty Guidelines. Here is how to find out if you are eligible.Go to the facility’s admissions or business office and ask for a copy of the Hill-Burton Individual Notice. The Individual Notice will tell you what income level makes you eligible for free or reduced-cost care, what services might be covered, and exactly where in the facility to apply.Go to the office listed in the Individual Notice and say you want to apply for Hill-Burton free or reduced-cost care. You may need to fill out a form.
Gather any other required documents (such as a pay stub to prove income eligibility) and take or send them to the obligated facility.
If you are asked to apply for Medicaid, Medicare, or some other financial assistance program, you must do so.When you apply for Hill-Burton care, the obligated facility must provide you with a written statement that tells you what free or reduced-cost care services you will get or why you have been denied.You may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if you believe you have been unfairly denied Hill-Burton free or reduced-cost care. Your complaint must be in writing and can be a letter that simply states the facts and dates concerning the complaint. You may call your local legal aid services for help in filing a complaint. Send complaints to:Director, Division of Facilities Compliance and Recovery
5600 Fishers Lane
Room 10-105
Rockville, MD 20857

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Are Commercial Banks Bankrupting Small Businesses?

Small Business Owner Alert! Your commercial bank could be putting you out of business unless you are prepared for the worst case scenario; your note is due and payable now! What are you going to do if this happen to you?Ulysses Sanchez, senior vice president of Real Estate Commercial Group, said “it’s clear that commercial lenders may have been holding off on foreclosing and might be working with business owners with a commercial loan modification but lately we are seeing business owners who are current with their commercial mortgage loan, and some even have lots of equity still in today’s real estate market are having their mortgage notes called due”. Why?Federal banking regulators may be encouraging loan extensions and a forget policy for notes that are ballooning but if you have personal credit issues for any reason, it could be reason enough for the bank to call your mortgage loan due and payable upon demand. Some commercial banks recently are calling their notes due and payable even though you may be current and cash flowing.A scenario of a commercial bank calling the note due and payable is a Jane Doe of Illinois, who has inherited and owned her three commercial building for over 70 years. Jane Doe had some medial issues but for some reason her medical insurance failed to pay her medical bills and her personal credit score was adversely affected. Now her bank is calling her mortgage due and payable. Why, if she is never been late, why, if she has so much equity even in today’s real estate climate, why if she is cash flowing great and rely on here investments for part of her income? The answer: The bank can call the note for “any adverse change” in her financial profile even if she has never been late.How about John Doe in Virginia who owns an office condo and as part of his loan program he provides quarterly financials to his bank. John Doe’s recent quarterly report is showing decline in his sales which is connected to our current US economy. John Doe is current with his mortgage and never been late and in fact, the loan payment was automatically drawn from his account on a monthly basis. Now his commercial bank is calling his note due and payable because his financials are showing decline in sales. Why? The bank call accelerate the note if “there is any adverse financial change” to his business.Arizona has about $1.3 trillion dollars in foreclosure right now and this is does not account for SBA 7a loans. “Banks could be getting pressure from regulators to get bad loans off their books” Mr. Sanchez reports but in the reality if a loan is current and performing why are commercial banks creating problems? With a tight commercial lending market it will be difficult for the John Doe’s and Jane Doe’s in America to get a new loan. Some will close their business, unemployment will continue to increase, and with a few getting some will be able to get an interim loan which could be delaying the inevitable.”Small business owners need to get prepared with a plan B, an exit strategy “says Ulysses of Real Estate Commercial Group, who specializes in SBA loans, commercial loans and commercial loan modifications. If Arizona has $1.3 trillion in foreclosure, that could be good for investors who are waiting to start buying but for the small business owner, the backbone of America, it could turn a recession into a depression unless we work together to create the solutions that work.

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What’s The “411″ On New And Used Small-Business Phone Systems?

Choosing the right new and used small-business phone system for is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your business. The telephone is one of the easiest means of communication with your customers, partners, vendors and employees. You reach out to them; they reach out to you via the telephone. A phone system allows your business to connect to a public phone network instead of having each phone connect separately. Dealing with incorrectly routed calls, sudden interruptions, disconnections, or a plethora of bewildering automated options will only cost you time and money, cause frustration and hinder your relationship with your clients.Although small-business phone systems don’t have all the bells and whistles that larger systems have, it is still important to consider the many factors that go into choosing the right system for your business. New and used small-business phone systems are widely available which means you are sure to find something that suits your budget but choosing the best telecommunications provider means choosing a dealer that can recognize the communication needs of your workforce, support your new or used phone system by keeping it up and running the whole time, and ensure your communications needs are compatible with the ever evolving 21st century technology.Most basic phone systems these days come with certain standard features:*Voicemail- Allows callers to leave messages for specific employees at your company.*Call Hold- Enables you to put your caller on hold while transferring lines, preparing for conferencing or gathering information.*Call Forwarding- Gives you the ability to transfer calls to other employees, a voice-mail box or auto attendant.*Conferencing- Lets you hold conference calls with several customers and consultants at one time.*Speed Dial- Allows callers to press a button associated with a particular number in order to reach that contact faster.*Redial- Will redial the last number called.*Auto Attendant- taking place of a human receptionist, it directs callers to the appropriate routing option.*Paging- Employees broadcast a message though the speaker of another phone.How many employees do you have? Business phone systems typically come in three basic configurations: Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, key system units (KSU), and KSU-less phones. How many stations (extensions) your business needs along with what features you require will determine what type of system you choose.Should I consider A VOIP system? VOIP stands for Voice Internet Protocol and is a internet phone system. Instead of using a traditional land line, your business’ Internet connection sends and receives telephone calls. VOPI requires a router that will translate the Internet’s signal into a usable signal that can be used for a standard telephone.What factors should I consider when looking at cost? Cost is obviously an issue, especially when it comes to owning a business. Considering these factors, aside from the phone system itself, will prepare you for making a decision based on your budget as well as preventing you from having any last minute surprises when it comes time to pay for your new or used phone system.*Telephones- Prices vary depending on what brand you choose as well as if you opt for a new or used system for your business. Buying in bulk will save you money and if you are flexible, you can find phones that are as little as less than $100 each.*Installation- Most business owners are not “do-it-yourselfers” which means you will need to pay a professional to install your phone system. Complex wiring and installation is not cheap but paying for expert installation can save you money in the long run by preventing any problems in your communication system.*Cabinet- Every phone system must have the appropriate cabinet to house it. Ranging anywhere from $1,000-$10,000, this is typically included in the cost of your phone system but still needs to be considered an expense.*Optional Features- Consider the need and cost for additional features such as: on-hold music and voicemail which are not typically part of a standard phone system.Choosing a phone system for your small-business is a big decision and one that you want to feel confident about. While shopping for systems and dealers, speak to other business owners to get their opinion. Ask to see a demo before you purchase to ensure it will meet your current and long-term needs. Think about future growth. You may want to upgrade at some point and time and may need extra wiring in the future. Lastly, shop around. Don’t settle on the first price you are given. Consider new and used phone small-business systems as part of your business’ budget and communication needs.

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