As businesses in all industries can attest, informative and enjoyable written material aids in commerce and good public relations. Whether in print or online, written material educates and inspires customers. Large galleries, dealers, and auction houses hire staff members specifically to write such material, but smaller businesses needn’t miss out. Hiring a freelance art historian to do your writing allows you and your staff to focus on running your gallery, buying works, meeting with clients, and curating exhibitions. Writing needs vary from business to business, but in the art, antiques, and collectibles world, they often include some of the following:
- Biographies of artists: Who are the artists whose work you feature in your gallery? What are their backgrounds, philosophies, achievements, working methods, and historical influences? Introducing your clients to your artists is equally important for historical and contemporary galleries. Getting to know an artist can make potential collectors more willing to invest time, money, and wall space on them.
- Descriptions of offerings: As more and more of the art, antiques, and collectibles business moves online, clear and informative descriptions of the objects in your inventory become more necessary than ever before. Even if your gallery makes most of its sales in person, potential buyers are certainly previewing your offerings through your website, so providing enough information to make them pick up the phone or come visit is critical. As a trained art historian, I specialize in translating the visual into the verbal, which is exactly what a good object description requires.
- Articles about relevant styles, movements, and historical contexts: Teach potential collectors as much as you can about the works in your inventory. What style were they made in, and how did that that style come into being? Which earlier artists influenced it, and what impact did the movement have on artists and famous works that were to follow? Where might they go to see similar works in museum collections nearby? Let buyers known exactly where a piece fits into the history of world art and why it would make an important addition to any collection.
- Email or print newsletters: Let all interested parties know about your upcoming shows, special events, featured artists, and new acquisitions with an email newsletter or printed mailing. A few short segments about topics related to your offerings will make your newsletters memorable and interesting.
- Exhibition or sale guides: An exhibition or auction guide is often just a simple price list, but it can also be so much more than that. Reading a little bit about the narrative behind an exhibition, the collections being sold in an auction, or the connecting threads that link the various works together take moves the focus from numbers to what makes those prices worth paying.
- Press releases: A good press release is the first step to advertising upcoming exhibitions and special events. The days and weeks leading up to the opening of a new show can be hectic, so delegating our the writing of the press release can ensure that it doesn’t get rushed over and written hastily.
- Blog posts: Posting regularly on a blog is a great way to ensure a steady stream of traffic to your website. Good blog posts needn’t be long, but they are most effective when they provide interesting tidbits relevant to the inventory or events.
- Social media content: Social media is vital in today’s digital climate, and it is particularly well-suited to the visual arts. Dedicating a few resources to writing interesting social media posts often pays big dividends, particularly for galleries looking to acquire new clientele at the younger end of the market.
Research is essential to any art business, yet it is also time consuming and can be stressful when it is one of many items on a to-do list. Hire me to conduct your research regularly, during your busy times, for a special project, or as an extra pair of eyes when you’re not finding the information and answers you need. Research projects are billed on an hourly basis.