06/22/2004: "Writing a Press Release for an Art Exhibit!"
I just finished writing a couple of press releases for the local daily and weekly papers. Just like my original artist statement, it was WAY WAY WAY too long. I don't know why I get so wordy. Anyway, I went ahead and sent them with a note to "feel free to edit at will" and letting them know that it could all be boiled down to the first and last paragraph...which would go as follows:
Imagine a colorful female figure nestled among giant skunk cabbage leaves or peering out from a field of towering fiddlehead ferns. Juneau artist Elise Tomlinsonís latest series of oil paintings are a combination of the female form, rainforest plants and wildflowers of exaggerated size, and local settings such as Sandy Beach, the Wetlands Trail, the Brotherhood Bridge and Eagle Beach.
Tomlinsonís newest oil paintings will be on display down town at the Friendly Planetís Loft gallery for the month of July with an opening reception for First Friday, on July 2nd from 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM and live music from 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM. The opening is free to the public and everyone is invited to attend.
I left out the middle three paragraphs out of sheer embarrassment at my own blatant self-promotion. I also included a couple photos just in case. I also sent the info to our university's public relations guy who does a campus wide publication called "Soundings". I wasn't able to find any good information on how to write an effective press release. Of the *four* books I have on being a professional artist, only one of them listed it in the index, and only showed one example press release. artbusiness.com which has excellent articles for artists didn't have anything on the topic. Doing a Google search didn't pull up anything that great either.
So, since the newspapers I submitted to didn't have any submission guidelines posted, I just sent them an email. I'm sure I'm doing it all wrong. And, let me explain why this opening might make it seem as though I have no experience at this...in the past, the galleries have taken care of a lot of this. They would do the press releases; they had the mailing list and all of that. This place I'm exhibiting at is a new gallery in a store that's been around for awhile, but didn't have room for a gallery until it moved into its new location. I'm probably only the 6th artist to show in this space and they don't have as much of a production line approach as other places I've shown. So I'm getting to do a lot of this on my own, which would have been a lot more fun if my computer hadn't crashed.
Does anyone know of a good resource that explains how to write a great press release specifically for art openings? If so, please let me know (even though it's too late for this time around).