Silicon Valley Open Studios

Connecting artists to art enthusiasts

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SVOS University

If you are new to Silicon Valley Open Studios and do nothing else, attending SVOS University is the most important thing you can do to help ensure your success during this event. Silicon Valley Open Studios is pleased to announce an expanded schedule of exciting seminars to help you build your art career.

Presented by veteran artists

SVOS University is a series of seminars to help you get the most out of your participation in Silicon Valley Open Studios. This is presented by a group of veteran artists and marketing professionals who have developed successful techniques for promoting and selling their art.

If you are participating in SVOS for the first time, or if you'd like to learn more about how other artists promote themselves, SVOS University is an excellent place to learn how to optimize your open studio experience.

All of these session are free to artists who are registered for SVOS 2017. There is a $20 cover charge at the door for non-participating artists.

Coming Sessions


Protecting Yourself and Your Artwork Online

Date & Time:

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

The cost for this session is $25 at the door.

Program Description:

In our increasingly digital and on-line world, having an on-line presence is essential to the success of any small business. But that also means increasing exposure to some of the more unfavorable elements of the on-line world such as e-mail scams and phishing schemes. You’ll learn tips on how to spot, and avoid many of the known scam attacks along with tips on how to look for fake web sites.

Get the PowerPoint

Topics for this session

  • E-mail and e-mail scams:
    • Learn to read and understand who it's from, really
    • Make sure your own e-mail is clear about who you are
    • Some e-mail scam examples and what are the red flags
  • Web sites
    • Make sure the link text is really the URL
    • Understanding the parts of a link
    • Clues in the browser
  • Images of artwork
    • EXIF data
    • Copyright info
    • Artist's name
    • Watermark
    • Resolutions issues - not too good, but good enough
  • Your own web site
    • Quick overview of what it takes to have a great web site
    • Protect your domain name.
    • Protect your ranking with https because Google is starting to list sites as Unsecure, deadline seems to be October 2017.
    • Why you already need https if you are logging into a Wordpress site.
    • Never ever click on a link that says it goes to your bank. 
  • Definition of malware...
    • Mac vs PC and known differences on this topic.

Speaker Bio

Teresa Hardy is an artist, a web developer, and a college instructor – a perfect combination of skills to present this modern and essential seminar. She has been a gallery director and webmaster at a small, local gallery. She has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Multimedia. She also has experience in social media and strategic marketing.

The cost for this session is $25 at the door.


Tips for Taking Great Photographs of Your Artwork

Date & Time:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

This session is free to artists who are registered for SVOS and $25 at the door for others.

Program Description:

We know that great images in the catalog are why visitors chose which sites to visit. So, having great looking images is one of the most important things you can do to promote your art business. Join professional photographer, Steve Toll, who will present ideas and tips for taking great, attention-getting images of your artwork to include with your registration package. There are lots of ways to make great art look bad and Steve will show you all of the pitfalls to avoid. You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to take great photos, but you do need a solid understanding of what you're trying to do.

Topics for this session

  • Problems with Composition
    • The collection
    • The studio
    • The gallery
  • Poor and uneven lighting
    • Dark on dark
    • Light on light
    • The flasher
    • Shadows
    • Skylight glare
  • Perspective distortion
    • The trapezoid trap
    • Missing in action
    • Hopeless
  • Clipped images
    • Crop out
  • Background clutter
    • Clutter competition
    • Background distractions
  • Marketing literature
  • Just the image please
  • Orientation
    • Stand up to be seen
    • What’s up with that
  • Hands, feet, and body parts
    • What’s in your background
    • Really
  • What’s the subject
    • What is the subject
    • Problem with scale

Speaker Bios

Stephen Toll is a professional photographer and long-time participant in Silicon Valley Open Studios. His primary subject matter is American landscapes, but he has also traveled throughout the world in pursuit of great images.

This session is free to artists who are registered for SVOS and $25 at the door for others.


Marketing Your Open Studio Event

Date & Time:

Wednesday, January 24, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

Program Description:

If you're new to Silicon Valley Open Studios, this is a session that you do not want to miss. For many artists, there are plenty of courses to learn about creating art, but very few opportunities to learn about how to market that art. SVOS University focuses on teaching artists the business side of art. This session is presented by veteran artists who have been long-time participants in Silicon Valley Open Studios and they have valuable advice and tips on how you can make the most of your experience. Whether you’re a new-comer or a veteran, this course will have valuable ideas to help you become a better art marketer.

Topics for this session

  • Marketing is a year-round project: How to get started
  • Build your database early and keep it clean year-to-year
  • Attract more customers through social media
  • Creatively stage and display your work
  • Labeling your work & portfolio book

Speaker Bios

This session is presented by SVOS veterans, Stephanie Maclean and Christine Oliver, who have been exhibiting with Silicon Valley Open Studios for more than 15 years collectively. They will share marketing tips to help make your SVOS event successful. If you're new to Silicon Valley Open Studios, this is a session that you do not want to miss.

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others


How Artists Use Social Media - Part 1

Part 1 - Intro to Social Media for Artists, Facebook, Your Online Gallery, Pinterest

Date & Time:

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here


Program Description

An interactive two-part seminar showing the different types of Social Media available today and Artist Specific ways to use them.

Stephanie Maclean will discuss ways to get your artwork and message out and the pros and cons of each tool.
Local Artists will Holly Van Hart will demonstrate and talk about her successful use of these tools throughout the session giving great perspective on what is possible with Social Media.
Note - we will demonstrate successful strategies and completed pages, blogs and websites during this seminar. We will not discuss technical aspects of building these but can give pointers on acquiring/hiring them for your art business.

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others.


How Artists Use Social Media - Part 2

Part 2 - Blogging, E-mail, Twitter and other marketing strategies, E-Commerce, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Date & Time:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

Program Description

Stephanie Maclean and Amanda Krauss with present this session and disscuss how you can more effectively use Social Media including actual examples of how artists are using these tools to promote their businesses.

Topics for this session:

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • You Tube
  • Other Social Media Tools

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others.


Public Relations and Why It's Important to You

Date & Time:

Wednesday, March 7, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

Program Description:

Public Relations is an art unto itself. If you do it right, you can reap huge benefits. By getting to know the reporters who cover the Bay Area art scene and knowing how to approach them with information they need to do their job, you can catapult yourself into public awareness.

Topics for this session:

  • Publicity and the media - What are they looking for and how to approach them
  • The SVOS publicity program - What SVOS is doing to promote the event
  • Photographs - What the media needs & why professional photos are the standard
  • Media interviews - How to prepare for and talk to the media
  • HARO - Help a reporter out and why this is important to you
  • News Releases - How to write a powerful press release

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others.


Pricing Your Artwork

Date & Time:

Wednesday, March 21, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

Program Description:

Not only is painting an art, but pricing is an art. Getting the right price for your art is a big key to sales. So be sure to attend this session to hear one of the best experts in pricing and selling artwork and get great guidance on how to price your work.

Topics for this session:

  • Select your best work
  • Price your work to sell - Developing a pricing strategy
  • Creatively stage and display your work
  • Negotiating
  • Pricing and frames
  • Handling Price Increases

Speaker Bio

Melinda Cootsona attended the California College of the Arts in Oakland where she received her BFA in Interior Architectural Design. She is a recognized authority in staging a successful Open Studio. Over the last 11 years, she has hosted over 15 Open Studios, routinely grossing as much as $20,000.

Melinda has worked full-time in both the Interior and Graphic Design fields for over tweleve years, and taught design for two years at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Melinda has been a painter for over 20 years, and has taught oil painting classes and workshops for twelve years.

"My goal is to bring out the 'artist/creator' in every student; to guide each person through the process of painting to discover both the joy of creativity and his/her individual voice."

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others.


Preparing Your Studio for SVOS

Date & Time:

Wednesday, March 28, 2017 - and again - Wednesday April 11, 2017
7:00 pm until 9:00 pm

Location

Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA,
Get a map here

Program Description:

These two identical sessions, on March 28th and April 11th, are the final sessions in SVOS University, but they cover some of the most important topics. If this is your first or second year, then attending one of these sessions is one of the best ways to learn how to arrange your art and your studio and prepare for the weekend. This session will include a lively, interactive panel discussion with veteran SVOS artists. These successful open studios artists will share the tips and ideas that they have found most effective over the years.

Topics for this session:

  • How should you prepare your studio?
  • What to do in advance, the day before, and the day of open studios?
  • When to send announcements?
  • How to manage signs and parking?
  • How much food, snacks and drinks should you put out? And what kind?
  • What kind of demonstrations should you do?
  • What’s the best way to display prices?
  • How to take payments?
  • How to deal with visitors? How to make them feel comfortable and get them to sign your guest book?

This session is free if you are registered for SVOS 2018 and $25 for others.