Art Walks are all the rage now, and for good reason. You may have heard of them, and you may have even attended a few. Basically, an Art Walk is a way to display art in public while working with local businesses to bring viewers to see your art and do some hardcore networking while relaxing, drinking wine and being handed canapes. Being “extra” or “fancy” makes your art seem more valuable and the addition of wine makes people want to budget less and pay more, especially on a Friday after a long work week.
What can you expect at an Art Walk?
No two Art Walks are the same, but you can expect certain similarities across the board. Many take place on First Fridays (the first Friday of every month, typically during seasons when the weather is mild depending on the region’s climate). You can probably expect to see food trucks taking advantage of the surge in foot traffic, so if hors d'oeuvres don’t cut it for you make sure to bring a few small bills to grab a taco during your trek. You should also expect wine and maybe even beer and liquor—the alcohol offerings typically depend on the venue. Good news: the booze is usually complimentary since art galleries or small, local businesses don’t tend to buy liquor licenses so they can sell alcohol. If you like to buy your art while sipping a cocktail, Art Walks are definitely right up your alley.
Why should an artist participate in an Art Walk?
Art Walks are a great way for artists in lesser known locations like suburbs or smaller cities and towns showcase their work. The exposure can help an artist build awareness of their work. If their work is already well-known, it can help them maintain their local presence and “brand awareness.” Of course, a primary reason for participation is potential sales. By showing your work at a well-publicized event that will be attended by many people, chances are much higher that the return on your investment of time and effort in participating will be worth it. You’re also giving potential buyers a story. When you show your art in a different setting than the usual gallery, people get the chance to form a story in their heads about how they’ll tell friends and family they acquired their most recent work of art: “Oh, this lovely piece? Yes, when we attended the recent Art Walk, we just fell in love with the dark, yet quirky, nature of this artist’s work and we realized we HAD to have one of her pieces in our home. It was such an amazing evening.”
How does the viewer or potential customer benefit from an Art Walk?
Who doesn’t like to walk around a charming downtown setting and wander in and out of businesses looking at beautiful and interesting artwork, feeling like they’re hip and in touch with the artsy crowd, are we right? It allows one to feel in touch with the artist community and gives people a chance to connect the art they buy with a story, which is what typically makes it valuable for a viewer to buy and display in their personal space. In an Art Walk scenario, the buyer feels a connection, feels happy and proud of their attendance, and gets to loosen up a bit with good wine and interesting food as they let themselves live in the moment and experience the pleasure of all those things. And when a buyer feels like magic is happening, and they’re being treated to an event they can talk about on social media or anytime someone views what they buy in their home later, they are going to spend money. Everybody wins.