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Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

Hooray for Artomatic in May

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Up to 800 artists and 50,000 visitors expected in D.C.’s most exciting new neighborhood. The NoMa (north of Massachusetts Avenue) Business Improvement District (BID) will host this year’s Artomatic, the Washington, D.C. area’s homegrown art extravaganza. From May 9 through June 15, 2008, up to 800 local and regional artists will exhibit their works on eight floors of the Capitol Plaza 1 building, located at 1st and M Streets, N.E., just one block from the New York Avenue Metro station.

Held regularly since 1999, Artomatic transforms an unfinished indoor space into an exciting and incredibly diverse arts event that is free and open to the public. In addition to displays and sales by hundreds of artists, the event features free musical, dance, and theater performances; holiday celebrations; films; educational presentations; and much more.

This year’s Artomatic, occupying 200,000 square feet at Capitol Plaza 1, will be the largest to date. Designed by renowned architect Shalom Baranes and owned by an affiliate of The Polinger Company, Capitol Plaza 1 offers 293,000 rentable square feet of Class A office space, with dramatic Capitol and city views from the upper floors.

“We are thrilled to partner with Artomatic in an event that will bring tens of thousands of people to NoMa,” said Elizabeth Price, president of the NoMa BID. “It is a great opportunity to showcase the transformation that is underway in NoMa and infuse it with the energy and creativity of the artistic community.”

“Artomatic has come back to its roots in D.C. with our largest event ever,” said George Koch, Chair of Artomatic. “We are excited about our partnership with the NoMa BID and their help in bringing this new space to our attention. Artomatic 2008 will have an abundance of exhibit and performance space that will be open to all — from recognized artists to undiscovered talents.”

Registration for artists and performers who wish to participate in Artomatic will be open soon. To stay up to date on the event details and schedule, visit http://www.artomatic.org/ and sign up to receive the Artomatic newsletter.

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About the NoMa BID:
NoMa is an emerging mixed-use neighborhood north of the U.S. Capitol and Union Station in Washington, D.C. Private developers have invested almost $2 billion in 2007–2008 alone, with plans to develop more than 20 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, and retail space in the 35-block area covered by the NoMa BID over the next 10 years. For more information about the BID, including an interactive development map, see the BID Web site at http://www.nomabid.org/.

About Artomatic:
Artomatic is a creative community that collaborates to produce and present a free arts spectacular. Participation is open to all, from recognized artists to undiscovered talents, who work in a variety of arts forms. In partnership with the development community, Artomatic transforms unused building space into a playground for expression, serves as a catalyst for community growth in up-and-coming neighborhoods, and helps to grow our creative economy. The nonprofit Artomatic organization is headed by a volunteer Board of Directors and is funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, visit http://www.artomatic.org/.

Washington DC Art Gallery Retailing: In the Know

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Did you know that from Washington, DC to Baltimore, MD, over 150,000 acres will be paved over with new construction, infill, and residential and commercial growth by the year 2030? Or that inflation from 1999 to 2006 alone rose over 25%, while the Median Family Income rose about 52%, and more than 39% of residents had incomes exceeding $100,000? These statistics seem to bode well for gallerists who hoped to increase their retail sales.

Less than two years ago, Washington as a whole had more than 49% single person households and less than 14% of households were families with children younger than 18. Detached housing prices rose 165%, town homes 180%, and condos 240%. And if you’re wondering if this inflation preceded the recession, or whether there is a recession in gallery sales, consider the upcoming unveiling of the promising National Harbor this April.

The National Harbor alone will have 7,300,000 sqft of mixed use community; 4,000 hotel rooms; 470,000 sqft of convention center; 1,000,000 sqft of retail/restaurant; 2,500 residential units; over 500,000 sqft of class A office space; 4 piers; 2 marinas; and approximately 10,000 parking spaces. Add to that the opening of the Nationals Baseball Stadium and we may well be finding ourselves sitting on the edge of an economic art boom. In Alexandria’s Eisenhower Valley alone, there will be an additional 2,500 residential units in the next year.

You and your art patron clients may be keeping a keen eye on rising utilities, property values, labor costs, fuel costs, and changing spending habits, but regardless of these sometimes unpleasant factors in our daily lives, remember the mindset that the Washington DC area art galleries are doing GREAT! BUSINESS IS GOOD and just keep saying it.

Because right around the corner, your potential new customers will consist of locals, visitors to the area, tourists, and conventioneers from the National Harbor. So this is the time to reassess your gallery’s market analysis: where’s the local buying power; what’s the competition and how is it grouped; who is walking through your doors; are there any sales gaps; and have your demographics changed – or how are they likely to change?

It’s also the time for DC area art galleries, museums, community organizations, and art non-profits to reassess your storefront’s appearance. Does the average shopper see financial stability, store pride, something unique happening, interest in entering the store, and motivation to return? The small details make up the impact of your store’s traffic flow and end sales. Check your signage to make sure it’s helping to develop a memory, extend the recall of marketing efforts, attract new customers, and maybe alter customary purchase decisions.

Remember the statistics too, in why people shop elsewhere. A better product takes away 15% of your customer base, a cheaper product will also steal away the same. Lack of service and attention will drive away 20%, and your rude or unreliable help may turn away 45%. An art gallery typically will experience 100% penetration in the first 25% of the store’s floor space. This is why it’s crucial to have good materials, versatility, great lighting, colorful displays, and merchandise in every direct line of sight. There is a science to retail sales which includes studies on retail walking traffic patterns. Do you understand how and why clients are moving through certain areas of your gallery?

Or let’s take a look at how the Internet is impacting your end sales. Estimates claim that approximately 82% of consumers will research a product on the Web and 39% won’t buy or visit at all if you are without a Web presence.

The bottom line is we must continue to keep an eye on changing economies, loss prevention (80% of shrinkage IS internal), and competition forces. For many gallerists, June is our peak season and although you may not be able to control the foot traffic coming through your doors, you can control what goes on your four walls. Are you maximizing sales and space? Are you selling add-on products like art t-shirts, books, and mugs? What are you doing for the “give” – the complementary thank you take away items you want to use to encourage return visitors?

If your gallery is struggling (and let’s face it, we’ve all experienced crunch times), remember your local Business Development Center may be able to help you at little to no cost. Also, if you’re looking to see what the Small Business Administration had to say about the growth of small businesses in 2000, you may want to take a peak at the White House Conference on Small Business. Lastly, we hear from a very reputable source (see below), although we haven’t yet read the text, that the international bestseller “Why We Buy” by Paco Underhill has over 30 years of retailing expertise embedded within.

Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory monitors and studies many aspects of art business, including economic trends specific to the arts world. We are extremely optimistic about the current climate and always welcome further inquiries or consultations on your gallery needs.

The source for this material is Mr. Casey Willson who has over 35 years experience in retail and tourism related small businesses. He has assisted high-end organizations and diverse companies in attracting and retaining customers and in examining organization and operations. Mr. Willson is currently with the University of Maryland and the Maryland Small Business Development Center. He is noted as a premier speaker in Main Street Development seminars and has presented more than 50 town meetings to over 800 enterprises.

The Impact of Gifts

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm

We’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle‘s pivotal book, “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” It follows his fantastic success with “The Power of Now” and is being endorsed and studied in Oprah’s Live Web event each Monday evening.

There’s a theme in the book that seeks to explain each individual’s power to put forth mental attitudes necessary for a true healing of the ego (and the Earth). Part of the intricate text speaks of giving and receiving and how selfless giving opens pathways for the universe to return to you what you put out. The ideas are inspirational, heady, and as we unexpectedly learned this week, very true.

You never know what your act, your gift, or your kindness may mean to another. My personal thanks to Gary Goldenstein for sending a sentiment that ties into the congruence of Mr. Tolle’s work and helps to encourage us in our learning journey.
Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows. – Robert G. Ingersoll

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2008 at 7:23 pm

Rob Mandle, Operations Director of the Crystal City Business Improvement District, celebrated his St. Patricks Day in part by writing a detailed post on his Crystal Flight Blog. Mandle’s article outlines the work Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory has been accomplishing in realizing our creative designs for a large-scale public art works project.

Read more about our efforts to make the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon, Boeing, and the Crystal Gateway Marriott/Bin 1700 proud. The Crystal Flight project is enjoying the collaboration of a fine group of artists who are all looking forward to the April 13, 2008 Crystal Outdoor Block Party. Come join us when we celebrate the “landing” of the planes!

Long Island Business News: The Business of Art

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Ambrose Clancy, a Long Island Business News Reporter, published Author, and all around Writer-Extraordinaire took a few moments to interview us in connection with our Washington DC arts advisory services. LIBN is planning a story on a program funded by the New York Foundation for the Arts. The programs offer lessons to artists on how to market themselves and their work successfully.

When asked why we thought artists need this type of training, we explained that many artists are self-taught or enter the creative vein later in life. When this is the case, those artists may not have picked up the art world business savvy they need in today’s global e-economy. We also noted that many artists struggle with time management skills such as scheduling, planning, completing timely submissions, and organizing their work; all necessary tools to position oneself strategically in the art world.

Artists’ Peer Review: The Value of Open Critiques

In Uncategorized on March 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Beverly Ryan graciously donated some of her precious time and ample talent to a small group of adult artists who were participating in an open critique. The session was attended by painters, photographers, and assemblage artists who hoped to have Ryan dole out some careful yet educated advice.

Ryan teaches art classes, is a member of the Art League, and has a successful studio in the Torpedo Factory. She is currently exhibiting a major joyful work in the Art League’s gallery as well as paintings in the theme of “Layers” at the Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond, VA.

Ryan offered group members an opportunity to individually present two works. Each work was critiqued in accordance with a pre-established list of questions designed to help the artist move though challenges in unfinished works. Ryan (and session participants) evaluated works based on four major criteria.

Language, formality, and consistency.
Composition, accurateness, appropriateness, color key, scale, surface and material handling.
Feel, elicited response, form and content.
Purpose, intent, necessity, superfluous-ness, and reason for being.

We presented two pieces in mixed media and assemblage collage utilizing modern day ephemera after observing the prior critiques of three very divergent oil painters. The process, Ryan’s patience, and the analytical purpose of the critique was found to be a valuable experience in viewing others works and in continuing to learn to be open and vulnerable, even if artists are already experienced and established in the art world.

One attendee showed an abstract work largely done in blue and orange. It was designed to serve as a memory of a trip to France. While the work was nearly completed, amazing things happened when Ryan turned the canvas in all four directions. The group agreed that two directions best declared the language of “aesthetic conjuring.” And in viewing the work upside down, it was easy to see where a touch of rust or red here or there might be mildly fantastic.

In another example, an artist showed photographic transfers in an heirloom piece designed to celebrate her matrilineal history. The work was explorative and graphic in its use of maps, letters, photographs, and postage stamps. Group members were individually taken with various aspects of the work, but as a whole agreed that presentation venue needed revisiting.

Of our own pieces, we saw with new eyes, through the eyes of others, a geometric energy, good placement of text and numbers, and innovative ideas in presenting, framing, and mounting the works. More important, is the confirmation that there is value in remaining open, vulnerable, and subject to peer review. This is part of an artist’s continuing education, part of participating in a community of artists, and part of being both humble and proud in one’s effort. Open critiques and peer reviews for artists are a great way to mirror back whether works are current, viable, and promising.

When the artist enters a competition or a review, (s)he is subject to very similar evaluation criteria – some based on point systems, others based on panel member’s opinions, others reviewed on volume, originality, or the relative importance of the artist. When an artist knows what kinds of judging elements are likely to be encountered in calls for submissions, then the artist is informed, refined, and reassured.

Ryan suggests that even if you leave that big, ugly blotch in the middle of your canvas, and even if you KNOW it’s all wrong, but you STILL love it, then okay – great. At the very least, the responsible, thorough, and enterprising artist submits works already understanding their relative strengths and weaknesses. As Ryan reminds us, “Any day you paint (or do art), is a day you win.” George Andrews would agree. He said, “Painting is the most complete and marvelous way of making up one’s mind.”

Pictured: Beverly Ryan, The Webs We Weave, 12 x 12, oil on panel.

The Lazy Artist and the Puritans

In Uncategorized on March 10, 2008 at 3:51 pm
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In recent weeks, we advertised our services as an artist’s representative, or artist’s agent, or artist’s manager. In one day alone, we were bowled over when we received over 75 inquiries from as far north as Connecticut to as far south as Miami. All artists of different walks of life seeking representation! Great, here’s a big need.

One might think this was a huge success for an agent, but because our business structure is a bit unconventional for the arts world (we charge on a flat fee per hour basis), we had to turn down several artists who could or would only work on spec. We never take commission off the artists work – we simply don’t believe in it being artists ourselves.

Let me take you back a step. Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory has been seeking to position itself as the premier art acquisition specialists in the mid-Atlantic corridor. We want to place fine, important, and exciting works of art in homes, the places you work and play, and in corporate enterprises. And in the commercial development world, when you need to fill 40 – 60,000 square feet, that’s a LOT of art.

Our hope is to turn finance people, development people, commercial real estate agents and others in this specialized market from strictly business to quintessential art connoisseurs rather than modified interior decorators. And to do that, we need to be able to show the commercially savvy images of art works they may not have ever seen before. We need to emote them into becoming collectors and more importantly, turning them into advocates for the arts.
That’s an incredible amount of effort, gathering up a stable of individual, attitude-less, talented artists with unique voices and I don’t mind sharing that we’re working literally around the clock to do it well and do it correctly. Of the 75 artists who responded that one day, we found a few sad truisms which we hope to offer to all aspiring artists who wonder why oh why aren’t my works selling?
Here’s the example of one respondent, the “exceptionally talented artist” who’s looking for gallery and personal representation (but only in Chelsea). When artists limit the scope of their exposure, they limit their possibilities. Or take the girl who, “only wants to paint all day long.” Well, gee, me too, and when we win the lotto, then that’s what you’ll find us doing.
The truth is, painting or drawing all day simply isn’t real world for the working adult artist with responsibilities, a sense of community, or a desire to help teach what they know. For instance, here’s another example of an artist who steadfastly and quite pointedly informed us that she was “mid-career” and not an “emerging artist.”
In our view, art is always emerging because our focus, our eye, our interpretation changes as we age and grow. However, it is important to know the difference between an agent, consultant, and representative and to know whether you want someone to advise you on your art career or someone to help you market specific works. So fine, be mid-career. Is that helping you place your works with people who love them any better?

And to a degree, it’s understandable why artists find it difficult to find the right agent. We had another fellow tell us within five minutes in the telephone conversation that, “I get easily discouraged and I haven’t produced a new work in at least three years.” He didn’t need an agent, he needed a counselor!

It’s important for the artist and the agent to clarify vocabulary at the onset of the conversation. The role of the artist agent, representative, manager, or consultant is just like everything else in the art world, it’s changing and changing more rapidly than most of us can understand.

We recently had the opportunity to purchase a variety of art books at a local fundraiser for about $1.00 each. One of the jewels in our catch is now an out of print 1977 publication, “Art America: A Resource Manual,” by Philip Cecchettini and Don Whittemore. And it’s funny how one isolated event directly impacts another totally unrelated one. In our discouragement (yes, agents can get discouraged, too) I read:

The Puritan colonists of New England certainly laughed more than we think they did, but probably less than they might have, had they not been so anxious to work and prosper in the eyes of God and man. Their frugality, expressed in the proverb, ‘waste not precious time,’ has permanently marked the American character. Still, they appreciated the colorful artifacts which help make life pleasant and this interest, however slight, brought American artists their first patrons.

Wait, their hard work and their interest brought sales? So here’s what you pay your artist rep to do. To work on your behalf. And whether that’s through commission or flat rate, it doesn’t necessarily matter as much as the most important key ingredient in this partnership effort. The artist agent’s efforts will only manifest themselves (given that you have a good agent) directly in proportion to the effort YOU as the artist extended, extend, and will extend in the future.

Take for example, the case of the young man who emphatically told us his works “would not sell in DC. No gallery will pick me up.” To which we asked, well what have you done to show your works in different locales? The answer, “nothing.” Everyone needs a boost, and sometimes we all could use a kick in the pants, but by Golly George, you’ve got to get out there and try.

And we know it can get frustrating, and we know you want to wake at 2pm, go to an opening, and maybe pick up some charcoal around 3am, but until your works are selling in excess of $25,000 or more and you’re selling 4 or more works a year, odds are, YOU are going to have to keep that day job. And if you’re so lucky to be able to MARKET YOURSELF during the day because you don’t have to do the traditional 9 – 5, all the better, but you have got to be your own best voice.

So how do you paint and market at the same time? You hire an agent who will work with you to achieve your goals, you schedule yourself like there’s no tomorrow, you read and research, you talk to others, and you look at calls for submissions. Prepare. Invest in yourself as your greatest gift to yourself. And work and produce and persevere and keep a great attitude.

The same authored work gives us another example in John Frederick Kensett who came to painting by way of the engraver’s craft. “In the summer he traveled, sketched and socialized; in winter he painted larger pictures based on sketches, attended to business matters and socialized.” In the middle of the late nineteenth century, artists considered themselves respectable businessmen, and like a good businessman Kensett kept in touch with his clients. He worked often and hard. After his death, over 600 works remained in his studio.
What are you doing as an artist/business person today, how many works are sitting and collecting dust, how do you picture yourself working w
ith an agent who has your best interests at heart, how do you picture yourself?

BNI's Networks, Meetings, & Ethics

In Uncategorized on March 7, 2008 at 4:59 pm


We’ve been exploring networking and liaisoning possibilities within Northern Virginia’s BNI groups and we’ve been very impressed with the level of commitment members show one another.

Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory will voluntarily adopt the spirit of BNI’s Code of Ethics since Art Galleries, Art Advisors, and Art Dealers are largely unregulated professions in the Commonwealth.

1. I will provide the quality services at quoted prices.
2. I will be truthful.
3. I will build goodwill and trust.
4. I will take responsibility.
5. I will display an attitude that’s positive and supportive.
6. I will live up to professional ethical standards.

BNI (Business Network International) is a system of networking referrals passed between business professionals in established relationships. It’s a well-proven system for increasing revenue, marketability, and community connectedness.

We’ve not yet joined BNI as we’re looking for the group that truly embodies a desire for networking with an art service provider. However, BNI can be a great resource for artists, gallerists, museums, and art organizations and you can find local chapters near you.

Jo Owens Murray: Surrealist, Assemblage Sculptress, and all around HOOT!

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Sometimes meeting an artist is worth a hundred times a thousand. Such is the case with Jo Owens Murray out of Collegeville, Pennsylvania. This little beaded baby (and we mean the picture, silly) is called “Paradise.” Murray works in the application of beads and jewels applied to mannequins. She’s been featured in the publications: Beginning Sculpture; Best of America; and Art of Imagination.

Murray’s work is found at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Woodmere Art Museum, among others. Art Critic Burt Wasserman recently wrote, “In the manner of Louise Nevelson and Pablo Picasso, who transformed detritus found on the street into art, she also recycles what may seem to be grotesque trash into ecstatic treasure.”

Fine Arts Curator Dr. Graziella Marchicelli wrote, “In Gateway to Your Soul, a beaded head hangs from a bird stand. The eyes are replaced with mirrors, allowing the viewer to see his or her own eyes. The bodiless woman suggests enchantment and seduction, but there is, at the same time, something menacing about her.”

Something menacing or something magnificent, either way you slice the pie, Murray stands on her own originality. She is the quintessential girl most likely to become a crazy cat lady and she loves it. She moves with ease, she dresses with her own eye, and she capitvates with her personality and her pearled pebble pieces.

Is Art the Opposite of Television?

In Uncategorized on March 5, 2008 at 5:28 pm


Art and television have long been at opposite ends, but today’s technologies are bringing art, video, television, and cable to the masses in new and inventive ways. Art TV is a new intersection – an interesting, great, no-cost way to boost your personal exposure to studio life, exhibition highlights, gallery developmments, and museum atmospheres. Here’s a few select suggestions from our recent watching obsessions!

The Art Newspaper (subscription based)
New Art TV (our favorite)
Art TV Network
Art Channel
Xalt TV (subscription based)
Vernissage TV
Artivi (our runner-up)

And even new ways to turn your TV into art! TV2ART

If we missed any great art tv sites, send us a note and we’ll update our list!