Art and business have not always been easy to merge. Almost stereotypically, one thinks of artists being their own worst enemy when it comes to promoting and selling their work. Sometimes artists complain that commercializing their art undercuts their creative expression. Those in the business of selling art may be frustrated by artists who undersell their own work, or have little idea of marketing, framing or self-promotion.
The opening of not one but two new galleries in Oliver this month indicates that local artists are going to be trying very hard to prove that stereotype wrong.
1. Check out the Oliver Sagebrushers opening of their permanent exhibit space at the Quail’s Roost Gallery on Sunday May 1 at 2:00 p.m.at Rustico Cellars Estate Winery. Meet the artists, live entertainment, refreshments and wine tastings. The Oliver Sagebrushers are a vibrant and longstanding fine art club in Oliver, and a founding member of the OCAC.
2. Visit the Oliver Art Gallery for its “soft opening” on Monday April 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 34848 – 97 St. Oliver across from the Cock and Bull. The OAG is a co-operative of about 12 artists on permanent rotating display and sale, with a growing number of associate artist displaying and selling less frequently. They are also a brand new member of the Oliver Community Arts Council.
The Oliver Community Arts Council has for the last few years been encouraging artists to think “business” when thinking art. The presence of business people on the OCAC Board in the last few years, has had a positive influence on the way local artists publicize, present, and sell their work. Being proud of our local artists, demanding artistic excellence of ourselves and others, and valuing that excellence accordingly — this is all part of how the arts council hopes the arts in Oliver will flourish.
For example, the OCAC’s Fall Art Show and Sale has been setting higher standards for artwork – not only the work itself but also its framing quality (or other manner of presentation) and its pricing. As another example, several member arts groups have learned the value of professional quality publicity and PR. It is a pleasure to see arts groups setting the bar ever higher on their own work: bringing in professional resource people, learning new skills, expanding their repertoire, and never being satisfied with “what we did last year”. The public may also notice prices, whether for performance tickets or artwork have been increasing to better reflect the quality of local arts. Many local artists — fabric artists, sculptors, fine artists, actors, musicians — rival those anywhere in Canada.
So visit these new galleries often. Bring your friends and guests. Talk to the artists. Ask questions about their work. Learn something new before you leave. Tell them what you like – and don’t like! Encourage them in their new businesses. Offer your expertise and ideas. The OCAC slogan Art Learned~ Art Loved ~ Art Lived aptly captures the hopes of these two new galleries. Learn about art, love it, then take it home and live with it!