Be Smart About Art

Forward planning and ice cream - benefits of the art world low season

written by: Susan Mumford July 27, 2014 1) RECOMMENDED-> Susan's weekly blog post 4535 views

Forward planning and ice cream - benefits of the art world low season

from our Sunday reading series - a weekly blog post (subscribe here)

The "art world" has varying quiet times, depending on where you live. In London, where I am primarily based, things go quiet in mid-July and. The fairs stop, long summer shows are open (the private views are already behind us) and artist talks are a rarity. It's not to say that nothing happens, bit it’s much quieter than other times of year.

High seasons vary from place to place, and it is important that you are aware of this when living somewhere or are offered an exhibition or opportunity in a place new to you. Take Santa Fe, New Mexico, for instance. The busy period is July and August, and all local artists and galleries are there workin' it, day and night. One artist I know paints throughout the year in London, exhibits a bit at select venues, and flies to Santa Fe in July, as that's when her representative gallery exhibits her pieces, which practically fly off the walls. She has an incredibly busy (and lucrative) time while most of her European peers are taking time off. Local markets can still vary;  in Scotland, the famed Edinburgh Festival takes over the city throughout August and is a destination across creative disciplines.  

Having run businesses for a decade, I really look forward to this time each year. For, when I'm not on holiday (a definite must, to mentally, if not physically, ‘get away), in late July and August, it's a perfect opportunity to invest time developing. In other words, it’s a golden opportunity to be proactive (as opposed to reactive).

I see it as the time to make changes, develop concepts (akin to creating mini-business plans) for new initiatives, complete wannabe and half-finished projects that were previously banished to the back burner, and benefit from the mind space needed to properly think things through.  

Alongside taking trips to museums, spending weekends with friends, cooking vitamin-enriched food medleys and stopping by the local gelateria, I relish the time in which I work ON, not IN, my business.

During the quiet times of the year when you are not taking a fully-fledged break, seize the opportunity to develop. This applies to creative and/or professional practice, whatever is important for developing a long-term, sustainable and enjoyable career doing what you love, on your own terms.

I encourage you do such rewarding work in environments that nourish your soul. This could be a museum, park, alongside a river, canal or the sea, or even down the road at your favourite gelateria… 

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Photographs © Chris King.

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This Summer I am developing a number of mid-week events at the gallery to keep things ticking over. The rest of the time I spend on generating new material for my holography website, visiting studios and exhibitions, clearing out the storeroom and general housekeeping. At the weekends I join my wife and friends at our country cottage where she has been spending the Summer sculpting, gardening and cooking for a legion of visitors.