Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Location, location, lo-- hey, what about timing?

Might as well see if I can stir the pot in these early days.

Had a discussion with a friend last night about the timing of gallery openings, one-night events, etc.

Consensus: If a venue is not in the Crossroads, or within a five-minute drive of the Crossroads, its openings should not be on First Fridays.

Nobody in the Crossroads is paying me to write this, by the way. The simple truth is this: that's where the action and traffic are on First Fridays.

Now, say you're not in that area, and you open on a First Friday. Yes, your artist will get his or her friends there. Your gallery will get its followers there, and some of each set of supporters will go on to the Crossroads.

Here's the thing, though: The artist and venue will get pretty much exactly squat in casual foot traffic, because the gallery-hoppers -- the people whom you and your artist most need to meet -- are all in the Crossroads.

The artist misses a chance to connect with new people (who just might be in the mood to buy art, even in this economy). Same goes for the venue.

So ... think second. Think third. Heck, start up a Saturday circuit. Give your openings a chance to stand and shine on their own, outside the shadow of the Crossroads.

Look at Lawrence. It has an impressive and growing art walk (Yes, you should go.), and people get a chance to drive over from the city and see it because it's always on the last Friday of the month. That's smart scheduling.

There's nothing wrong with trying to make your area, wherever it might be in the city, an arts destination. The rising tide, as the saying goes, lifts all boats.

Trying to compete with the biggest scene on its big night, though, isn't the way to go about growing your own circuit.

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