Seth Hopkins is the Executive Director of the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, GA. In this episode, Seth and podcast host Daniel DiGriz discuss how artists get involved with museums—securing shows and becoming part of the permanent collection—as well as catching the curator’s eye and boosting an art career. See below for highlights, and listen to the hour-long show for a detailed look at museum collaboration.
The Economics of Promoting Living Artists:
- “We push the boundaries of Western art and expose our audience to new artists they may not be aware of, and balance that with more familiar artists.”
- “An Ansel Adams show creates fast growth of our membership, which gives way to shows by other artists.”
- “Zoe Urness shot some very provocative images at the Standing Rock protest, one of which was considered for a Pulitzer, and this will be the first museum show of her work—that’s the bookend to an Ansel Adams show.”
- “We can make the market bigger so that more artists can make a living.”
Collaboration and Relationship-building:
- “Art is a cool business—it’s the only one I know where the customer often buys dinner.”
- “With a new show, it’s as often our idea as it is a gallery owner’s suggestion, an artist who contacts us directly, a collector—the ideas can come from anywhere.”
- “Gallery friends are important to us, to introduce us to collectors and new artists.”
- “I tell the galleries, ‘you should help us find these collectors and help us network with them’ because the end result is they help us buy more, and better, art.”
Advice for Artists
- “If you’ve expressed interest in working with the museum, that’s plenty, and we’ve had shows that have developed in that very way.”
- “If you don’t go into art with tenacity from the beginning, I don’t see how you’re going to make it.”
- When contacting a museum, “you don’t have to be passive, but you don’t want to be a nuisance.”
- “The artists that galleries end up adding are very good, and fit the gallery profile—the artist has done their homework, can say how they see themselves fitting with that gallery, and they’ve created some of their own market.”
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