How to Host a 4-Figure Open Studio

September 13, 2016

If you’re like many artists, the thought of throwing an open studio and not bringing in enough of a crowd sounds terrifying.  But factor in having to speak about your art and have your house open to strangers, and yikes!  Thats like zombie apocalypse terrifying! 


But maybe you’ve got stacks and stacks of art taking up too much space in your studio and not chipping in on the rent.  Maybe you’re facing some unexpected expenses and you need some fast cash.  Or maybe you just need an excuse to complete some unfinished pieces and clean up your studio.  


My open studio. 


Does this sound familiar?  You’re not alone.  The fear of having an open studio is very real, even for me.  Last weekend was my fourth year participating in the Sacramento Open Studio Tour.  I worked all week getting things organized and spiffy until finally it was time to put out the signs and open up for business.  And then what happened?  Crickets chirped.  10 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes in to the tour weekend and no one showed.  All I was doing was sitting on my couch and looking at Facebook on my phone.  


I could feel my optimism starting to fade.  Then my ego’s negative self talk started up.  Who do you think you are?  No body cares about your art, it’s not even that good.  Maybe your prices are too high.  This is going to be a failure.  And each time I’d remember to stop and remind myself that that’s just my fear talking.  Have a little faith, girl!  You can do this!  And then finally a visitor showed up, then a big group, then finally a sale and the confidence boost that came along with it.  


Over all it was a big success and I made a great profit.  Since it’s all fresh in my mind, I thought I would share the exact same steps that I took to get everything ready, pull in a crowd, and make four figures in profits.  So without further a do...


1. Join an organized studio tour or organize your own.  Joining an organized tour will flat out get you more traffic than doing a open studio on your own.  The folks who tour open studios are a great demographic of typically very safe, friendly, and respectful of people.  Plus you’ll be listed on the tour’s guide.  In Sacramento we have a printed guide and a website that has a map of the area and a list of the artists with a small image of their work, and their location and web