This past weekend I attended the spring Saint Paul Art Crawl. Held in Lowertown Saint Paul, this annual event is the official signal that spring has arrived for all of us that live in the neighborhood. The farmers market opens, restaurants pull patio seats out on the sidewalk, and about 350 artists open their studios to the public for all to see what the winter cold has produced while snowbound for the last six months.
I spoke to many artists as I trekked from studio to studio. Little did they know that I was on an informal fact-finding mission. I wanted to see how many artists used social media, and what their public relations efforts were prior to the Crawl.
My small sampling of unscientific research found that most artists have websites, either standalone or through a collective service. About 50 percent I spoke with have Facebook fan/like me pages, but they don’t advertise them. Instead they lean on word-of-mouth to get new fans. There are other interactive online communities they participate in as well, but don’t advertise to the masses.
I sense an enormous void in the art community when it comes to social media. The reaction is the same as in other communities – it’s scary and no one knows how to make it work right out of the gate. I understand marketing is a tough nut for an artist. Some feel it takes away the creative integrity of their work. But I stood in proximity to over 350 individual art studios, and could not find one on Four Square? It was heartbreaking.
So artists who aren’t won over by social media – what do you need from us? The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area is packed with social media mentors. Would you take a class? Do you prefer one-on-one? Do we need to paint it out?
Talk to us. There are a lot of people that would be willing to help.