One Thing I Wish Was On All Artist Websites
Published by Siena Oristaglio on January 11th, 2017
If you're anything like me, when you see/hear/experience an artwork you love, you Google the artist to see what comes up. Often, this leads to an artist website that displaqys some of their works, a bio, a calendar of upcoming events, and a contact link. If this is the extent of the site, I'll typically spend a few minutes on it before flitting off to some other strange corner of the internet. When that happens, I typically hear mental sirens accompanied by a large flashing marquee that reads: MISSED CONNECTION! MISSED CONNECTION! MISSED CONNECTION!
Why does this ridiculous thing happen in my mind in those moments? Because when I like an artist enough to spend time seeking out their work, it means that if given the chance, I'd also love to know the next time they have a show in my city or are doing something interesting that I can see/hear/experience again. Without a way to stay informed, I lose a potential sustained connection to this artist. I'll only know what they're up to by complete chance, or when I happen to seek out the calendar on their site. Even if I've gone so far as to follow them on social media, there's no guarantee I'll catch the posts they make when they make them.
As an art lover, if you've ever had that feeling of a missed connection (with or without the flashing marquee), you'll understand why I believe artists need mailing lists. Mailing lists offer a direct, consistent way to be notified of an artist's news. They arrive in the same place that we receive info from our family and close friends: our email inboxes. As an artist, though you can't guarantee that someone will open all of the emails you send, it certainly gives the people who want to support your work the best chance to see your updates. If they do open a mailer, it means they’re really on board and want to hear more! Bottom line: mailing lists are a powerful tool with which artists can build an ongoing relationship with a community. They give those who care about an artist's work the opportunity to support it by showing up for shows, sharing it with others, purchasing it, and so on.
Personally, I always experience a "now what?" moment when I see work I love. "Now what?" to me, means "now what can I do to learn more about this artist and stay up to date with what they're doing?" When an artist provides a place to subscribe, I'm stoked. Someday, I hope to be organized enough to have all of my artist mailers filtered to a folder in my inbox called WHAT ARE MY FAVORITE ARTISTS DOING? but for now, I'm just excited to get beautiful emails from writers, dancers, performers, painters, and musicians on the regular.
Artists: please don't miss your chance to connect with people like me who love hearing from you. Those who don't want to be on your mailing list won't subscribe, and those who do subscribe really want to be informed! And if they, at some indeterminable point, decide they don't want to receive updates in this way, they'll remove themselves from the list. At least you won't have missed the opportunity to connect with those who want to know what you're up to FOR AS LONG AS YOU CONTINUE TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL THINGS IN THIS TOTALLY BATTY WORLD, I.E., HOPEFULLY FOREVER.
If you want to share great artist mailers you're subscribed to, ask questions about maintaining a mailer, or discuss helpful tools/platforms that you use, please do so in the forums here! We all (i.e., ME, I DO) want to know.
Happy mailing, folks!
Related article: Entitle-Mint Gum: The Arts Edition
Siena Oristaglio is a queer Jewish-Italian artist, educator, and communications specialist. Her work before founding The Void Academy focused on educational initiatives at the intersection of art, education, and intersectional social justice. Siena has helped artists to raise over $1,300,000 for their crowdfunding projects. Ask her a question on the forums!