AUTHOR: Alisha TITLE: Networking Under Your Nose DATE: 1/20/2005 07:28:00 PM ----- BODY:
This morning I attended a press conference marking the opening of a statewide arts event titled Tour De Clay. It truly is a tour de force exhibition schedule, featuring clay in almost every conceivable shape, size, firing outcome, and glaze style. The sheer size amazes me, never mind the phenomenal feat of organizing and executing such an expansive plan! What impressed me about the event this afternoon though, was one very simple thing. I arrived early. Too early, actually. I milled around, chatting with strangers for about a half hour. Listening to the high school band. Looking at their new facility. Watching ceramists work in the corner at their stations. Laughing at the bodyguard who was typing in his Blackberry. Wondering who eats cake at 10am, even if it is a celebration. Huddling near the warmth of the coffee and hot water carafes, filling cups for two men who co-curated an exhibit in another part of the state. Did you catch the important part there? It may have slipped by you. This event was easy to get into. It was well planned, well announced, well executed. Camera crews were in tow. The Mayor was in attendance. All of the top curators and executive directors in the area were present. I looked around the room and read off the credentials in my head. So, where were the artists? Community involvement is crucial for networking. It’s often the least expensive route available, and it will provide you with the most payback. Maybe attending an event like today’s press conference won’t be an immediate sale or instant exhibition opportunity. But, you can’t build rapport without first shaking hands… or, sometimes, pouring a cup of coffee or two.
----- --------