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by Lucy Chambers
JAM Contributing Writer

Pablo Picasso once said: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Art is one of life’s greatest gifts and becomes an even greater blessing when it can be shared with others. South Dakota is known for its rich art history, and given the fact that it was, until recently, home to renowned US artist Terry Redlin, it is no surprise that the state’s annual calendar is filled with a host of popular arts and culture-related events and festivals. An art event that is well organized will leave a lasting impression, potentially turning visitors into lifelong customers. The following guidelines will help you plan an event of your own that is bound to be remembered by everyone who attended for a very long time.

Get your team together

One thing every event organizer needs is a good team. The size of your team will be determined by the scope of your event and can consist of colleagues, friends, family members and even members of your local community. Brainstorm as many ideas as possible with your team, bouncing concepts off each other. Turning to your community for assistance could be of great benefit to you. Not only are people more likely to support an event that values their input, but you might come across some extremely talented creatives that could add potential value to your event.

Choose your venue

The venue you ultimately choose will depend on what type of event you are wanting to host. A gallery space will be ideal for an intimate art exhibition, while a larger area such as a community hall or even an outdoor space will be more suited to a large-scale arts and crafts festival. If your budget doesn’t allow for you to rent an upmarket space, don’t be disheartened. A storage unit, garage or even your local pub can, with some creativity and effort, easily be transformed into a mesmerizing setting that will do your event justice.

Source some talent

Every event needs a well-known artist to draw people in. If you are not planning on being the anchor artist yourself, reach out to someone who will be able to attract a crowd. Even if you are planning a large event with numerous contributors, you still need a ‘big name’ that will garner interest. If people see a list of unknown names on a flyer, they will more than likely toss it in the bin. If they see a well-known person’s name, though, chances are good that they will make a concerted effort to support your event. If your town/city does not feature any artists that you believe will draw a large crowd, start searching further afield, but remember to compensate for the added expenses in your budget.

Advertise, advertise, advertise

Unless you are planning to hold an ‘invite only’ event, you are going to have to do extensive advertising to ensure that your event is well-attended and that you make a profit at the end of it. Sending personal invites to key players in your community is a nice gesture and is bound to raise their opinion of you. As for the general public, make sure you come up with a creative and super-effective advertising campaign that fits the feel of your event. Apart from the actual event itself, marketing and promotion is usually the most fun-filled aspect as you can really let your creativity shine through. Design posters and flyers, place ads in your local newspaper and don’t ever forget the power of social media marketing. Cleverly-worded Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts can go a long way in attracting attention to your event and you should utilize its power as much as you possibly can.

While all of the above guidelines are extremely important when organizing an arts event, the most important thing to remember is to have fun.  Allow yourself enough time to plan your event to the best of your ability, making provision for last-minute hiccups. With a solid plan and industrious preparation, your event is bound to be a huge success, even if a few last-minute gremlins do creep in.

Lucy Chambers is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job, and loves the work-life balance it offers her.

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