Preparing for the festival can sometimes feel overwhelming. We’ve put together this guide as a resource to help you, as a participating artists, get the most out of your Crawl experience. You don’t need a big budget or years of experience to have a great Crawl. We hope this guide helps you to plan how to focus your time and resources, and make your Crawl the best it can be!
Check on deadlines to register so you don’t miss out on early bird registration, appearing in the print program, or submitting a new artist application.
The mandate of the Eastside Arts Society (EAS) is to transform community through visual arts—to inspire, educate and engage the community through the arts, advocate for the interests of visual artists in the community, and foster excellence through programs and opportunities for visual artists.
The Culture Crawl festival event is one vehicle that the EAS undertakes to achieve the above mission. Although art sales are not part of the EAS mandate, many Crawl artists choose to sell work during the festival. The EAS does not take any commission on work sold during the event. Selling your work is fully your option and responsibility.
These are some general tips on engaging with your audience and building community.
Regardless of your type of studio—private or shared—think about creating an inviting, memorable, and safe space. Think about what your visitors will experience with all their senses: what do they see, hear, smell when moving through your studio? How do you want them to feel in your space? What would you like them to remember about their visit to your studio? Give yourself enough time for set-up and be ready with your plan and list of tasks. During and after the event, take notes about what you might do differently next time. It is always a learning, evolving process, just like the creation of the work itself! Here are some things to consider. If you are new to the event, we encourage you to reach out to artists who have participated before. They are bound to have useful tips for you as well.
Be inviting. Many people are coming to areas they are not familiar with, and they maybe a bit apprehensive or uncertain.
The EAS does not provide insurance for artists, and recommends that each artist have liability insurance for their studio. If you have insurance on your studio, we advise you to contact your insurer or insurance broker to let them know about the event and ensure you have coverage.
Have a space set up with all you need to process a sale.
Look at your space with fresh eyes, or ask a friend to help check if you missed anything, or if something seems out of place. How does your space look and feel? There are so many details to manage and sometimes it helps to get an outside perspective.
The EAS provides tremendous support for festival promotion: the website, the printed guide, posters, social media, mailing list, events, and festival press. But getting people to your studio will depend on your efforts. Promotion does not have to be costly, but a little time and effort will pay off! Below are some Culture Crawl promo materials to use.
Postcards can be picked up at the Culture Crawl office starting in the early summer through to the Crawl festival (artists will be emailed when they are ready for pickup). These are great promo cards to have on hand during the summer for:
Programs are a great thing to have on hand in your studio during the festival weekend and also to distribute throughout the city in the week leading up to the Crawl to promote yourself and the event. Examples of easy distribution locations for programs and posters: apartment lobbies, bulletin boards, lunchrooms, coffee shops, local restaurants, community centres, theatres, and any other place where people gather. *Please note, programs will be available in digital form only for 2021. Printed maps will be available
Review the Artist Profile Guide section below and fill out/update your Culture Crawl online artist profile. Make sure all your info is correct as your listing in the printed program guide is pulled directly from your online artist profile. Make sure to include images of your work! Our website receives a huge amount of traffic leading up to the festival so it is to your benefit to fully complete your profile.
Check for the Media Relations Checklist deadline (usually in September) and be sure to submit it to our publicity team for consideration!
Promote your participation in the Culture Crawl on your personal and business Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Be sure to read the Social Media Guide section below for tips and suggestions.
Direct communication is still the most reliable means of reaching those who have connected with your work; focus on building your email list whenever possible. In addition to your larger mailing list, consider personal emails to a subset or core group. Consider setting aside the time to write personal email invitations, especially to those that have collected your work in the past.
Every registered Crawl artist receives an online artist profile on our website. It is each artist’s responsibility to fill out their artist profile and make sure their information is correct and up-to-date. Our website receives 80,000+ unique visitors leading up to the festival—from Crawlers planning their weekend and media looking for artists to feature—so it is to your benefit to take the time to complete your profile.
To update your artist profile: Login to your Culture Crawl account (Artist Login button is always available in the top right of the website)
Our program will use the Name, Building and Medium(s) you list on your online profile. Double check these fields for accuracy and spelling! If information is missing, you will not be listed in the print program.
Make sure the name you want to be listed under is correct. The default listing is by artist’s Last Name, First Name. If you have an alternate name you would like to be listed under, fill out the “Alternate Display Name” box in your Artist Profile. **Note: Fill out the Alternate Display Name box ONLY if your studio name is different than your personal name. If you fill out the Alternate Display Name box the default artist listing will be overridden.
Make sure you have selected your correct building from the building drop-down menu. If you have not selected a building you will not be listed in our online and printed listings. If your building is not listed please contact us at email@example.com or 778-379-4545 to have it added. If applicable, make sure to list your suite number (or directions, such as “alley”) in the Suite box.
We cannot stress this enough how important it is to upload good quality, well lit photos of your artwork to your profile page. Viewers will choose to visit your studio based on what they see.
The first sentence of your bio will appear as a preview in the artist search listings. Please tailor your bio accordingly. We recommend beginning your bio with strong keywords that include your medium/s. Example: “Sally Smith is a photo-based artist and abstract painter ….”
There is space on your profile to include links to your personal website and social media pages if applicable. Be sure to fill these in so that interested viewers can really get to know you and your work.
After your profile is complete, check it by searching your name or studio on the Explore Artists page, and viewing your page. If something doesn’t meet your critical eye, you can still go back and edit whatever is needed (changes made after registration deadline will not be reflected in the festival program).
Special thank you to Brian and Pamela at Murray Paterson Marketing Group for helping us develop this social media guide
If you have an established Facebook Business/Fan Page, make use of both this and your personal Profile page to spread the word about your participation in the Eastside Culture Crawl. If you currently don’t have a Business page, you will be better off focusing on use of your Profile page rather than starting a new Business page.
Instagram is all about the image, so it’s a perfect social media platform for visual artists. While the focus is on the image, you can still include basic text. It is best not to repeat hashtags over and over with no variation as this can potentially lead to what some have called the Instagram Shadowban. What this means is while we encourage artists to make regular use of core hashtags, you should keep other hashtags fresh and associated with the image you’re sharing. Instagram considers constant and repeated repetition of the exact same set of hashtags as “spammy”. If you are subject to a Shadowban you will see limited or no reach of your posts outside of your core followers.
In general, plan to make use of the social media platforms where you already have an established presence. Keep your content fresh and connected to your preparation for the Culture Crawl. Tell your story!
In the lead up to the Culture Crawl and across all social platforms, share the story of your preparation, your process, and your work. Always remember that while the Culture Crawl is a fixed point in time, it is a great opportunity for connecting with new fans/collectors and can yield benefits for months and years to come.
When sharing an image or update on Instagram or Twitter that pertains to the Crawl, please use the hashtag: #eastsideculturecrawl
Our social media team will be monitoring anytime this tag is used, and will share the post as time and space allow.
When posting to Instagram or Twitter, tag us within the update by including: @CultureCrawl
When Posting to Facebook, begin by typing the ‘@’ symbol, and proceeding to type out ‘Eastside Culture Crawl.’ You will shortly see a drop-down option for our page that— when clicked—will add a link within your post.
Tagging the account in this way will create notifications, so that the Crawl can share your posts accordingly.
The Culture Crawl does not allow posting from third parties on to its Facebook Page. However, we do allow such posts to be shared on the official Facebook Event Page for each year. If you wish to show or share works with potential visitors, we encourage you to post there.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the number of participants, we do request that you only share one post in lead-up to the event. Additionally, you can support the Eastside Culture Crawl as a whole by inviting your personal contacts to RSVP for the Facebook event.
We encourage artists to make full use of the official Facebook Events that are created by the Culture Crawl.
If you wish to create a Facebook Event for your studio, here are a few things to remember.
In lead-up to the Crawl, we know that many of you will be doing preparations around your studios.
Share a photo of your studio in mid-preparation on Instagram and include the hashtag #CrawlCountdown. We will select a few studio photos to re-post to our network and link to your profile.
If you are looking for ideas on what types of content to post in lead-up to the Crawl or over the course of the weekend, consider some of the following:
Are you creating something special just for the Crawl—or in the midst of crafting 100 versions of a favourite piece? Consider taking a photo mid-process and sharing it in preparation for the Crawl.
Do you have photos still on your phone from last year? Consider sharing them on a Thursday with the hashtag #TBT (Throwback Thursday).
Does your studio space/building tell a story? Share a photo with the hashtag #EastsideSpaces. Consider using a caption encouraging Crawlers to come by and see it for themselves.
Encourage your best supporters and close friends to share memories of visiting you at the Crawl to build excitement for the event and your participation. When posting, include captions with direct calls to action to encourage your fans to stop by during the Crawl weekend.
Don’t forget to take and share shots of visitors stopping by your studio during the Crawl itself both in social media newsfeeds and Instagram/Facebook stories.
During the Culture Crawl festival many artists sell work. While making sales during the Culture Crawl event is exciting—and many artists do sell their work—art sales are not part of the mandate of the EAS, and the EAS does not take any commission on work sold during the event. Selling your work is fully your option and responsibility.
A lot of us feel uncomfortable with the idea of “selling”, but it doesn’t have to be unnatural. You are helping to forge a connection between a collector and a piece of work, and building a positive relationship that may continue for years. Here are tips from artists who are experienced in selling their own work.
Greet everyone who comes in. Allow them time and space to view the artwork. Stand, don’t sit, but respect their personal space. Be sincere. Do not create a barrier around you of private space.
One of the great benefits to collectors about open studios is that they meet the artists in person, and have the chance to understand what’s behind the work. Tell them about your motivation to do what you do, in the way you do it.
If you listen well, you will hear what interests them and can speak to that. Are they fascinated by the materials you use? Your subject? Your sense of humor? Where is your common ground.
Address them by their names. Look them in the eye. Meet all customers’ friends; they may influence the buying decision. Keep an eye on their body language and learn to read it, you’ll notice the body language is very different if someone is arrested by a particular artwork, versus someone being polite. Keep an ear open for Ownership Language— “We love this piece!”, “This piece would look great in our living room!”, “These colors would work great for us!”—When you are at this point, it is a very good thing for both of you.
Buying is an emotional issue which is nudged along by decision making such as, but not limited to, price, size, color, content, delivery, installation, husband/wife/partner/friends’ opinions, future remodeling, future decorating, special events, payment methods, home visits with art pieces etc. If someone asks a left brain question—something factual about size, durability, how to hang—be clear, brief, and precise. Then move back to the emotional connection to the work and work with them to clear any hurdles/decisions to help them buy.
Make sure they do not hog your time gossiping and catching up and respect that you are at work. But also note that they will be the first people exposed to your work and often the first to buy it. If a customer walks into your space and they feel like they are interrupting a private conversation, they will probably walk right out.
Some visitors will assume that you, as the artist, are willing to bargain or that they are supposed to “make you an offer”. That can seem uncomfortable and offensive, but if you are prepared for it, you are less likely to feel thrown. Remember, a person who is bargaining has expressed interest in a purchase. Sometimes they just need to be told gently that you have established prices and they will go ahead and pay your price. Start with a positive assumption before getting huffy! Plan ahead for any price breaks that you are willing to give. If you know your limits, it’s easy to stick to them. If someone cannot pay right now, are you willing to offer a payment plan (ex: 6 cheques to be deposited over 6 months)? If it’s only slightly outside their budget, would you give 5% off to close the deal today? If they are interested in more than one piece, can you discount the second? Different artists have very different feelings about this. You should think through what your flexibility is so that you can be clear with your customer, and never come away from a sale feeling like you’ve agreed to too low a price.
Calculate the cost (don’t forget packaging) for your most popular pieces, so that you will have the answer ready if someone wants you to ship, at least domestically. Try to keep your shipping charges as low as possible. If you can throw in free shipping, that can often help close a sale, but don’t promise shipping if you are not prepared to, or you don’t know the costs!
Are you willing and able to deliver a piece? Will you charge for that? With very large pieces, delivery and installation is often expected, and it is a good time for you to build more rapport with your collector. Also, the artist will be more likely to find the perfect spot for a piece, increasing the likelihood that the client will love it.
Are you willing to send a piece home with someone “on approval”? Under what terms? Sometimes a client feels like they need to see a piece in their space, but you want to make sure that it isn’t out of view to other potential buyers during your weekend.
Often visitors love an artist’s style, but want something made specially for them. This can be fruitful or frustrating, depending on the chemistry of the artists and client. Think about what your criteria are for taking commission before the Culture Crawl.
Every artist will have different variations on a sales process, but whatever yours is, play it through your mind, or even with a friend, until you find the system that works for you. It’s better to find the gaps ahead of time than work them out on the fly!
They love it, they want it, they’re ready to buy it. Are you ready to sell it? Step through every move from when the customer says “Yes!” to the moment they have your art in their home to make sure all of the little bits are in place. Remember: your new clients are most likely your future clients. Giving them a great experience with their purchase, no matter how small, is a great investment.
A custom two-part form allows you to create a receipt with your contact information and the information you want to collect from buyers. You can have one printed at most office print locations in small quantities. A standard two-part receipt book is fine, too
After giving the customer their copy, scribble any memorable moments from the transaction on your copy.
If someone buys anything, have them fill out a receipt. It can be a $10 cash sale but they could grow into an important collector. Remember: with electronic card readers, you are not retaining the customer’s email even if they enter it. Don’t let any customer walk away without you knowing how to reach them again.
Bottom line: Make it as easy and painless as possible for your customer to pay. Money should not feel like the center of the transaction, your art should.
Most of all, enjoy the weekend! Take time to look at all your accomplishments; your new series of work, your clean studio! Each time you do the Culture Crawl you will build on your experiences from the previous years.