How to Network at Events

Getting recognised as an emerging artists can be difficult, as today's art world is reliant on reputation and on who you know. It's important to start building relevant social connections within your chosen art medium in order to create a name for yourself and to have contacts that you can call upon later for favours and opportunities.

Knowing how to navigate the art world could increase the longevity of your art career. To increase your chances, get out there and network at art gallery openings, talks, lectures and presentations. Participating in this kind of social activity will increase your exposure in the art scene, as people become more familiar with you and your work. Of course, going to events can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be a scary experience. It's about intelligent networking, rather than having endless interactions that don't amount to a lasting valuable outcome.

So, how do you make sure that you're networking successfully?

Be Intentional

If you're going to art events, be intentional with your time. Going to talks and gallery shows should be about more than listening to what has been said, or viewing what has been attached to the walls, you also want to make meaningful connections. Before attending events, set simple goals for you to achieve by the end of the session. This could be anything from strengthening that relationship with that curator that you talk to online, to reaching out to a fellow surrealist artist with whom you hope to collaborate. 

In order to make sure that you make the most of your time, research the person(s) in order to have interesting conversation starters and questions to ask.

Solidify the Link

You can hand out business cards to people that you meet, but for you as artists it might be more impactful to show them a sample of your work. For this, you can use a social media platform like Instagram to showcase your work. You can also ask them for their email address.

When you leave the event you can check who has decided to follow you, and follow them back alongside sending them a brief direct message. Alternatively, send them a quick email reminding them of your meeting, stating who you are and perhaps some detail about your conversation. Following up that evening or the next morning would be most impactful.

Talk to the Right People

If you're a portrait artist who primarily uses acrylic paint, it wouldn't make sense for you to speak to a curator who only sources graffiti art. Talk to people who work in a relevant field, you don't need to speak to everyone. Speaking to just one person and making a connection is a success.

Remember to have fun!

Photo credit: Amy Shamblen