Friday Tips: Local Hero?


All right, why do you suppose I’ve worked so hard to help my artists get accepted by galleries in other cities?  Why have I worked to help them get press in national magazines?  Because I realized long ago that local collectors are impressed when a local artist has a success in some distant place, such as Chicago, Santa Fe or Carmel (a greatly overrated scene, by the way). 

Again, because my gallery is located in Kansas City, I can’t count on hordes of tourists to acquire work.  My apologies to the metro boosters, but KC just ain’t a tourist mecca.  These other cities are.  They’re also held in greater esteem by local collectors.  So if several of my artists are routinely having successful shows in these locations, I can point out that fact.  Believe me, that eventually results in more work sold at home.

This is the case in all provincial cities.  Hell, it’s sometimes even the case in NY and LA, where I’ve heard artists complain about the same malaise.  It isn’t that any of these collectors are evil; this is just human nature.  Once you accept that, and decide how to work with it, it will cease to be frustrating and instead will bring ample rewards.

So if you want to be a local hero in the arts, become highly regarded in a different city first, and you likely will be. 

3 thoughts on “Friday Tips: Local Hero?

  1. Paul, Your “Friday Tips” today certainly ring true for me. I am better known for my artwork in Nashville, Tennessee, than I am in my own small hometown. Last week on a visit to our local art center, the lady at the desk acted as though she did not even recognize my name even though I had work currently displayed there. My work has been covered numerous times by the local newspapers. I suppose that until I am nationally known I will not be locally known. I am reminded of the Bible verse, “A prophet has no honor in his own country.” Regards, Tommy Thompson

  2. This post again hit home for me too. I am working hard at that out of town recognition. Aiieee! :) I always look forward to your Fiday tips. Thanks!

  3. Tommy: You’re wise not to take offense. It’s this way for most. Just play it cool, keep scoring successes elsewhere, and eventually locals will see what they’ve been missing. For those who never will–and they’ll be many–just continue to be easy about it. You already know the worth of your work. You don’t really need to prove it. Oddly, knowing that often proves it.

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