By the door of a house in our neighborhood is a mailbox on which someone has neatly painted in colorful letters, “Support the Arts! Buy my artwork.”

I want to admire this unusual marketing strategy, but each time I pass by walking our dog, it irks me. I would consider obeying the command, if only I knew how.

There are no postcards or business cards, a web address, a sample – nothing that helps me to know who this artist is, what the work is like, or how to make contact (short of knocking on the door, but it’s not clear if even that is expected).

I wonder how many other art patrons have passed by and thought the same thing. I also wonder if the person who painted the mailbox is the sort of artist who is very disgruntled about how hard it is to make a living as an artist.

It seems an easy thing to announce yourself open for business, but your efforts can leave you wondering, “Where is everybody?” If you build it, they will come – but only if they know how to get to you (and have a decent idea of what they will find when they arrive).

As I work to expand the circle of people who are aware of what I do and reach more of those who need my help, I have to remind myself that getting someone’s attention is not enough. I can shout, “Here I am! Come and get it!” until I am hoarse, but if I don’t also provide signposts that person can follow to reach me – it’s just noise. It’s just some paint on a mailbox.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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