Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is this the right event for me to enter?
For first timers, this is a complex question. The answer is dependent on how you interpret your response to the following two sets of key issues:
A: Will Dorset Art Weeks attract the ‘right‘ visitors for the work I produce, and am I in the right location to achieve my target?
Am I doing this to reconnect with past clients in a new way, or am I expecting to attract a new group of people to my work? If new people, what are my expectations? Am I being realistic to expect sales to match or make a profit on my outlay? If a profit, what do I think is a realistic target and what is this informed by?
Or - Am I doing this because I want to begin to get my work seen and I am interested in investing in taking part to get reactions and comments to inform my next steps?
If you are expecting pretty much a whole new audience you may need to think about location - Am I exhibiting in a location that is easy to reach or am I out on a limb? If you aren’t easy to reach, are there other exhibitors nearby that form a cluster with the potential to work together to share visitors?
NB - Many Art Weeks ‘old timers’ will say that it takes two or three art week events to build up a reliable, minimum following.
B: What am I going to say about my work in the brochure that gives people the confidence in the quality of my work to invest in time and travel to visit?
Do I have the right quality image to illustrate what I am saying about my work in terms of the stimulus, the techniques and my experience?
Am I offering demonstrations or any other interaction to make the visit welcoming and interesting?
Am I mentioning the price range as part of the message - how might this attract/affect the type of visitors I need?
NB - Striking a balance between allowing people to browse in peace and being available to answer questions is crucial. It is undoubtedly the case that following people around and pushing sales is counterproductive. Pricing is a key issue in the relationship between the text, the image and the nature of the work. Evaluation suggests that visitors are becoming more discerning about what they will go and see. Many visitors use the DAW website to research a trail of selected visits.
2. Would I be better sharing a venue?
If you think this is something worth exploring write a short description of your work and which area of the county you wish to be based in, AND your contact details, as soon as possible. The office will communicate all requests as a ‘Soulmates’ item on the news pages of the DVA website. If you are exploring this possibility, it is easier for everyone that you don’t register for Art Weeks until the search period has elapsed. If you want to discuss this, do email the office and we’ll call you.
3. How do I get in touch about my entry?
- EMAIL - is always preferred as the first port of call. E: [email protected].
In case it is necessary to discuss your enquiry with you rather than write a complex or possibly ambiguous answer, PLEASE INCLUDE A DAY TIME TELEPHONE NUMBER. Also include a preferred time for us to call back.
Please don’t lose our replies to your spam box; i.e. make sure communications from Dorset Visual Arts and Dorset Art Weeks aren’t filtered out.
- TELEPHONE: 01305 853100.
The office is staffed on a part time basis - generally Mondays. If you have to ring at another time, please leave a simple and clear answerphone message including - please - your phone number at a pace we can write down!
- CALLING IN: Please check first by email or phone that we are in the office on the Monday you wish to visit. In the DAW lead-in period we are often called elsewhere for part of the day.
4. Who’s who and who helps when I am stuck or unsure of what I should be doing?
Our newly appointed DAW Producer Kate Madden will be you first point of contact for all matters relating to the event at this stage. Email [email protected]
She will be assisted by Jem Main and Suzy Rushbrook who continue to work for DVA.
We will let you know area coordinators and local depots nearer the time.
5. Do I need insurance?
YES - Definitely - You NEED Public Liability Insurance
We suggest either of the following two approaches - but beware, read the caveat in the first option! Check your own house or studio insurance policy to see if you are covered for temporary, public activity. If it isn’t clear or specifically not included, you should think to ask your insurer for clarification and, or, to extend your cover. BUT!!!!! - DO read the rest of this paragraph AND the second point below before acting. In some instances - fortunately rare - artists raising this have alarmed their insurer about the use of the premises for making and public access: in some cases resulting in the insurer canceling the policy, in others, imposing an additional premium in excess of the cost of the option below.
A-N ‘Artists Newsletter’ is a subscription based news service for artists - electronic and print options. Subscription includes studio /workshop insurance called AIR - free. This covers materials, the processes and finished work and other activities generally encompassed in making creative work and giving access to it. We recommend it... Of course, other insurances are available! The monthly newsletter includes a considerable amount of useful information, news and access to on-line guidance on all sorts of relevant, creative issues. The subscription fee is around £40. See: www.a-n.co.uk
6. What are the essential tasks that will help me and the event as a whole?
Whilst DAW will lead the production and marketing campaign, the degree of success depends on everyone taking part in:
- Supporting the social media campaign in one or more of its various forms. Please follow us in all of our online formats. NB. Please remember - social media is not the place to air gripes - public messages should be positive. We have listed the communication route to address questions and problems and we do respond quickly.
- Early communication with other local participants to develop a good list of outlets for brochures, postcards and signs + a rota to deliver and top them up from your local depot - Your regional or local assistants will prompt this activity.
- Using neighbourhood newsletters and forums to announce what Art Weeks is and how we welcome our neighbours to visit. Strangely, perhaps, the people most local to many DAW artists don’t visit them! Non-selling PVs can be one way of addressing this - if they want to buy they will come back at another time.
7. When do I get the DAW brochure, signage etc?
Our aim is for the brochures to be distributed to public places either just before or during the Easter Holidays – to try and attract the second home owners and visitors back to the county for Half Term - ten days after the distribution company have done these big drops and to the local depots we will up-date distribution news as everything progresses for you to collect.
All venues participating in DAW will receive a studio banner and 6 road signs. More are available at an additional cost, please tick the relevant boxes when you sign up.
Most venues will receive 20 brochures, unless they are also a public venue or a large collective.
8. What do visitors expect?
- That the quality of the work matches the positivity of your description and what you have said about your experience
- Informed, consistent prices that are appropriate to the work, the materials and the experience of the artist
- Demonstrations where possible
- That group shows are stewarded by people knowledgeable about the work and artists - and that the groups don’t use the occasion for gossiping between themselves
- That OPENING AND CLOSING TIMES ARE ADHERED TO
- That there aren’t a lot of other incidental ‘non-art’ things on offer
- Refreshments should be free or by voluntary donations - there are trading laws about food and drink which reinforce this case. Except where there are the appropriate and legal facilities
- The opportunity to look in peace as well as to be able to question the artist
Kate says “Welcome and acknowledge a visitor, introduce yourself, say you’re happy to help/answer any questions they may have. If possible, thank them for coming, invite them to sign a visitors book if they enjoyed their visit and would like to know about your future exhibitions. If you are going to use their email address on your mailing list you must ask their permission to do so thanks to GDPR”
If in doubt about anything contact us.