Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tomorrow - Opening Reception in Hendersonville, NC


The Arts Council of Henderson County
Hendersonville, North Carolina
River District Artists
May 1 - June 20
Opening Reception:
Friday, May 1
5:30 - 8:00

From their website:

A New York Times writer recently described Asheville as “The Paris of the South”. If Asheville is the Paris of the South, then the River Arts District is its “Left Bank”. The Arts Council has created yet another partnership and invited the River District Artists to bring their art and fine crafts to Hendersonville for a month-long premier exhibit.

I'm honored to be one of the artists represented in this outstanding group show. If your in the area, come check it out. The opening reception is tomorrow night!

Cheers,
Meagan
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Studio Spring Break

I had a "first" on Saturday. And not a good one. For the first time in my life, I did not want to go to the studio! And this was not just a small feeling. I hate to admit it, but it was more like dread.
Big red flag!

As soon as I realized I was feeling that way, I knew I had to change something. I've been in the studio working like a mad woman for the past 6 weeks; 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day in the studio + early mornings and late nights fitting in the business side of work.

I will not complain. Because I still love what I do! I love being busy. I love making art. I am very happy with the work I have been making, and do believe the pressure of having a full exhibition schedule (click here for details) has pushed me to new creative directions. (Who doesn't work better under deadlines?)

But I was overdue for a break- feeling exhausted and drained of any creative energy. So, my husband and I spent most of the weekend gardening. Planted a few vegetables and cleared out another section of yard for a grapefruit tree, lime tree and some more veggies.

It made all the difference in the world! I was able to get into the studio yesterday morning, refreshed and even more productive.

Do you ever get like this? What do you do to bring yourself back into balance? How do you keep yourself from feeling overworked in the first place? I'd love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

Feeling refreshed,
Meagan

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ceramic Sculpture - In Progress

Here are a few Work-in-Progress pics...
Drawing images/ideas to scale.

From the scale drawings, tracing paper patterns are made and used to cut out the clay slabs for construction. I make these large sculptures much the same way that I make the Minis.

Scale drawing for ceramic sculpture. Some of these are finished and images are posted here.

Untitled- In Progress, Highwater's Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 21" x 1"

Untitled - In Progress, Highwater's Lymen Red Earthenware Clay, 32" x 22" x 1"

Thanks for stopping in. Back to the studio for me!
Cheers!
Meagan
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Tonight - Dunedin Fine Art Center


Tonight:
Gallery Talk - 6:00
Opening Reception - 7:00-9:00
From their website:
Join us as curator Mindy Solomon and Arrowmont artists Meagan Chaney and Nigel Rudolph offer insight into the world of contemporary crafts... In craft-ed!, Solomon has put together crafts that push the traditional boundaries. She notes that " The works selected for this exhibition are contemporary in their expression and in some cases pose more questions than answers. In a technologically advanced society where so many utilitarian objects can be mass produced, the handmade object can transcend intended use, offering an intellectual platform to convey personal narratives." Question & Answer with Charles Parkhill and Kim Michelle Coakley to follow.
If you're in the area, stop by tonight - Nigel and I will be talking about the Arrowmont Artist Residency program and sharing our experiences as residents.
See you there!
Meagan
Above work by 2007-08 Arrowmont Resident Magda Gluszek.
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Ceramic Sculptures

Hi there! Sorry I've been away for awhile. My computer was in the shop recovering from a serious virus. Thankfully, I didn't lose any files, and things seem to be up and running smoothly!

Here are a few quick pictures of what I've been working on in the studio the past month for my June exhibit at the Appleton.
Honey Breeze, earthenware clay and steel; 30" x 25" x 1"


Generations, Earthenware clay, cast glass, 34' x 35" x 2"


Unfolded, Earthenware clay, 29" x 29" x 3"

Fresh Delivery, Earthenware clay, 24" x 20" x 1"

French Lily, Earthenware clay, 18" x 11" x 1"
That's it! Got to get back to the studio! Thanks for reading and checking out my new work.
Best,
Meagan
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Promoting your Art - Part 2 of 2: Writing a Press Release

Writing a Press Release – A Short Story

In the last post I shared a few of my favorite promotional tips and how a series of recent marketing efforts led to my Upcoming Exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art.

Today, I’m going to continue with that story, talk about writing a Press Release, and list a few resources for technical information.

Here goes…

I knew that the opening of my exhibit at the Ocala Civic Theater was only 2 weeks away, and that it was really considered “too late” to send a Press Release. I could have used this as a legitimate excuse to say “oh well, I’ll write one next time”, “Next time, I’ll be more on top of my promotion and marketing,” “Next time, next time…”

Oh, how many times have I told myself this already!?! For years I’ve been collecting sample press releases, notes on the proper format, websites, etc. But, until a few weeks ago I had never actually written one. Why? Because I'd Rather Be in the Studio!*

But, this time I decided to write one. I figured at the very least it would be good practice. You know, get me over the hump of having never been through the motions of writing one. And maybe, just maybe I’d get a listing in one of the local publication’s Calendar of Events. That’s it. No more. No less.

After it was written and proof read by a couple others, I made a few phone calls. I’ve been told over and over again that writing a great press release can be a waste of time if you send it to the wrong person So, I called the main phone line for the publications and news agencies I was interested in, and simply asked to whom I should email a Press Release regarding and upcoming art exhibition. It was that simple. I had all the contact info within 15 minutes.

I also sent this same Press Release to a woman at the Appleton Museum I had met at several networking events. She called me the following day explaining that the Museum is starting a series of exhibits featuring Florida artists, and asked if I would be interested in participating.

Lesson Learned: Had I taken the easier way, happily working along in the studio instead of spending time promoting my work, I never would have received this call. Instead, I put time into my marketing and will have my first museum show this summer -
Urban Bloom: Ceramic Sculpture by Meagan Chaney
June 5 – July 5, 2009.

Tips:
  • Resources – look to other well written Press Releases and use them as samples. Create a folder for these samples and other helpful information of formatting, templates, etc. (see the list of links below)
  • Plan Ahead – Schedule in time for writing and sending your Press Release well in advance! (The earlier the better. But better late than never!)
  • Write – use the samples as guides and follow the format!
  • Phone Calls and Contacts – Find out exactly who to email the press release to.
  • Send it and Be Positive! – Even if they don’t publish your story or announcement this time, maybe your name will be more familiar next time it comes to their inbox.
Helpful Websites:

There are a ton of websites out there that can answer questions on content, formatting, and timelines. Here are a few of my favorites for technical information on writing a Press Release and other Art Marketing Strategies and Advice.

Art Biz Blog by Alyson Stanfield
(I also recommend Alyson’s weekly Art Marketing Action Podcast for excellent “tips and tricks for your art career”)

PR Web: Press Release Newswire

The Center for Participatory Change

These should get you started. I’d love to hear your stories of Press Release success and for other tips or websites you’ve found helpful.

Happy Writing!
Meagan

*I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion, by Alyson Stanfield
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Promoting your Art - Part 1 of 2

Self-promotion is not a bad word! I believe promoting your work is much different than used-car salesman "selling". I do not believe that all marketing is "selling out" or that it belittles the work. Effective promotion helps get your work seen by potential clients and collectors. And, often the reality of pursuing and maintaining a life-long career in art means that you will have to learn how to make your art profitable. $$$

First, you have to believe in your work and be your own biggest fan. No one knows your work better than you! If you're waiting for someone else to jump in and promote your work for you, you could be waiting a long time! Not that this doesn't happen, but until that glorious day, you better learn how to do it yourself!

So, I'm going to post a two part series highlighting a few of my favorite promotional tips, and explaining how these efforts led to my Upcoming Exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art.

  • Networking - Meet people, talk to them and remember their names! I am a member of a young professionals group here in Ocala, FL. I met a woman that works at the Appleton last year and have stayed in touch. I knew who to send a Press Release to, and maybe my name stood out a bit because we'd met on several occasions. (More on this in Part 2 of this post series.) Recommended reading: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. (I listened to the whole audio book in 1 day.)
    (Network goes for online social networking too. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. Though I admit that I still trying to get the hang of these!)
  • Search for alternative spaces to show your work. This could mean a couple things:

1 – Places that do not typically show art (restaurants, salons, coffee shops, banks, doctor's offices, etc.)

2- Places that typically show art, but art that is not typically your style. I have a show installed now at the Ocala Civic Theater, a venue that I would qualify as the 2nd type.


To illustrate a couple of points on promotion and alternative spaces, I’m going to tell the story of how this show came to be. The Theater has a large wall in their entrance lobby that is often used to display art - aka paintings. When I approached the Theater to ask about their exhibition policy, I was quickly informed that there was no room to exhibit sculpture in the lobby. I continued to pursue the opportunity; explaining a bit about my work and addressing some of their concerns. I was sent to speak with another person. Same response."Sculpture? We can’t show sculpture!" I was sent to speak with another person. Same response. You get the idea.


Understanding that my work is atypical from what they generally exhibit, I finally decided to do the following....

  • Create a PR packet or write an exhibition proposal. In addition to including my artist statement, resume, and bio, I printed a few images and explained how to install my work. I did not send a CD in this situation; adjust your packet to your target audience/jury. I thought printed images would grab their attention quicker than a CD or website address. My purpose was to demonstrate how sculpture would work within the parameters of the Theater lobby. I received a phone call 2 days later and had my choice of dates for the exhibition.


So, how did I go from this exhibit to receiving a phone call from a museum? Find out in Promoting your Art - Part 2... Writing a Press Release!


Happy Marketing!

Meagan

"Crescendo"
Earthenware clay - hand built with slabs, bisque fired to cone 06, crawl glazes fired to cone 04.
27" x 25" x 2"