Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dos and Don'ts for Invitations to a Private View

I've just sent a response to an invite to a Private View - sent this afternoon for a PV tonight!  This is what I said
Three problems with your invite:
  1. You're never going to get me to a private view for an artist I don't know on the strength of one image. 
  2. Your PV invite needs to have a website link included
  3. Plus the invite is far too late - some of us have diaries which get booked up!

I now get invited to a lot of private views in London and regularly get asked to feature exhibitions around the world on my blog - but what do I look for in a Private View invite?

10 ACTIONS for creating an effective invitation to a Private View
  1. DO make sure you send me the invite with enough notice that I can fit you into my diary.  Last minute invites may generate some positive responses but most people will stay away.
  2. DO provide some credentials as to why I should read your invite.  Do you know me? (ie remind me who you are). Am I on your mailing list? (ie include the unsubscribe link as required by law).  Who are you?
  3. DO include all the information I need in the email - you get one chance to interest me!
  4. DO lure me with a good image of the art.  You need to make sure it's a good quality digital image which is sized for the web (ie 72dpi); of a decent size (no tiny images please!) and is incorporated into the invite rather than sent as an attachment
  5. DO include a link to where I can see more images  by this artist on the gallery website  and/or find out more about them.  I'd love a link to a good selection of images included in the exhibition.
  6. DO make sure you provide ALL the basic details for the PV - location, date and times and how best to get there -  in a way which is quick and easy to find and read. 
  7. DO keep text short and to the point.  Aim to tell me in no more than 100 words what's special about this artist.  Use the same principlesas you would use for the opening paragraph of a press release.
  8. DO include a link to a press release (in advance) if you expect me to write about the exhibition.  
  9. DO offer me the opportunity of interviewing the artist.  PVs aren't always the best places to talk to an artist and besides I tend to think they should be talking to buyers rather than journalists and bloggers.  The big galleries do PVs for those writing about art at a different time to those for everybody else - and it's much appreciated!
  10. DO create a dialogue with me in advance of sending me an invite.  That one is only, in my exerience, used by the very experienced and the very professional!
    Who do I think sets a good standard for PV invitations?  

    Well I'm always very impressed every time one of the Jonathan Cooper Park Walk Gallery PV invites arrives in my inbox.  They set a very high standard.  Here are some of the extras this gallery provides:
    • The email arrives fully formatted and identical to the webpage newsletter.
    • Includes link to: "Forward to a friend"
    • Includes link to:  "Click here to view exhibition"
    • Includes link to:  "Download press release"
    • About the Gallery section - telling me what else they are doing in a brief summary
    • The invite includes the logos of the Society of London Art Dealers and the British Antique Dealers association in its header
    They also have an excellent website.  It's well designed and provides just enough and not too much information.
       Private View invitation to exhibition by Harriet Bane

      5 THINGS TO AVOID when sending out invites to a Private View
      1. DO NOT send me an attachment and expect me to open it. That's after you've read up on basic security and viruses on the Internet!
      2. DO NOT send me an invite on the same day as the PV! (You can however send me a reminder if you've written to me before and I've said I'll come)
      3. DO NOT make me read important details in small print - because I won't.
      4. DO NOT send me the same invite you send to everybody else if I don't know you.  Those are the ones I delete first.  If you can't be bothered to link it to my interests then why should I be bothered to read your email?  I have to say this one is borne out of very many invites which land in my inbox on a regular basis which aren't about the sort of art I like or gets covered on this blog sent.  They always completely lack a preamble or attempt to link it to my interests - because there isn't one.
      5. DO NOT leave out the essential details I need to have to get to the venue at the right time on the right day!
        What are your tips for an effective Private View invitation?

        Do leave a comment below with your tips for creating an effective Private View invitation
        What do you think about my tips?  Leave a comment.
        Do share this post with anybody who you think might find the tips useful



        1. Hi Katherine, good post, certainly raised a smile or two of recognition. Personally I avoid the air kissing affairs. I usually go a few days later when the wine drinking hangers on are not there, but at some other private view catching up on whats happened in their life since the last private view. Why They nearly always choose to stand right in front of the art work seems to be some natural gift.

        2. Katherine if you go to Jonathan Cooper do stop by at Cricket to look at my works, one is in the window !

        3. I've been looking at your work on the invite to the BP Portrait Exhibition Ilaria! :)

        4. I got the invite with the two dustbin man, was there another one with my painting ???

        5. Hi Katherine, as an emerging artist organising my first solo exhibition (self-promoted), this is really useful advice thank you! I’m now going to read the rest of your website too! Can I ask, for an exhibition on 10-11th March, is late January about right to post out/email private view invitations would you say? Many thanks indeed, Daisy

        6. The main thing is to have a strategy around communication generally
          * press releases to local papers (read my press release guide!) https://www.artbusinessinfo.com/how-to-write-a-press-release-for-an-artist.html
          * social media - build slowly and do not irritate
          * invitations to key people early - and follow up with a phone call
          * invites to everybody else about a month beforehand

          The problem with six weeks is that people can get the invite and forget about it.


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