If you are between emerging and established artist, you may be considering having weekly open studio hours. Maybe you want to have publicly listed hours to have people stop by and purchase art or maybe to help create accountability and get work done.
When to consider having studio hours
Your Neighbors: The first question in deciding whether or no to have public studio hours is to survey your building and community. Do other studio spaces in your building have open studio hours or small retail spaces that are frequently open (perhaps a cafe or small shop)? The more open spaces the more you should consider opening your space to build upon the traffic that is already present.
Travel: If you frequent your studio space often, consider opening your doors to the public if it takes minimal effort or preparation.
Work Load: If art is your full time job then maybe you can simply open your door and have some retail hours while you do your normal creative work. If you work in your studio in the evenings or weekends, consider being open for a few hours on the weekend.
Merchandise: If you are going to frequently have your space open, then you need to have your merchandise stocked and ready to go. Do you have a retail area in your space where you can keep your products placed and available? Do you have the means to keep a register or POS system handy for credit card transactions? If you want your space open, you need to be ready for the sales that could come along with it. If these are easy things to manage, then consider having open hours.
When to consider not having studio hours
Your Neighbors: Would having normal open hours be a distraction in your building or to your neighbors? Check with your building management company to check if public access is allowed, this could be a restriction or road block to open public studio hours.
Travel: Do not alert when you will be away or on vacation. You are telling people hey I have a whole studio full of tools and equipment that is not going to be monitored while I am relaxing in Florida. Simply state when open hours are canceled.
Work Load: Do not do open hours if its more work for you and doesn’t “pay off.” Now paying off doesn’t have to mean money. An open hours with visitors is still a success because you could be meeting a future buyer or getting some marketing out there.
Be sure to also consider what you have coming up in your creative calendar. If you are managing a big commission, grant project, or need other quiet work time, then open hours may not be a good idea at this time.
Work load can also include balancing your day job work load and your creative time work load. If your day job has long or inconsistent hours that makes it hard to show up to consistent posted studio hours then open hours may not be a good idea also.
Merchandise: In order to have your studio space open to the public you need merchandise or services for sale or provide leads for commissions or future sales. Having your studio open for the sake of visitors should be reserved for the building open house events. There should be a reason for the work to have your doors open and it should either pay off now or in the near future. If selling merchandise is your main reason for having the studio open, then be sure you can keep your stock levels. If you can’t maintain the materials needed to make the sale or sell the service then keep your doors shut.
How to make your studio hours known
If you have decided to have open studio hours, decide your hours and honor that time. Once you publically announce your hours stick to them so you are not misleading people who may wish to stop by. Post your hours on your website. Also consider get a Google Business account and list your open hours there. List these hours on your studio door or on your hallway directional signage. Alert studio open hours on your social networking too.
If you choose to not have regular hours, consider providing information on your website about your select open studios or if you allow for studio visits upon request.
Are you considering having open hours? Or have you recently begun to have open studio hours in your space, how is the experience for you? Comment below!
Want help getting the public to your studio space? This blog post helps increase your traffic with 10 ways to help direct your visitors to your studio space