Don’t like networking? Think about it as meeting people. #bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays aim to actively facilitate the building of one’s art world network including artists, gallerists and other art professionals as well as to educate art practitioners onhow to network, we set up #bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays in Autumn 2012. Six months later, this popular art world networking event hops all over London galleries on the first Friday each month, thus enabling members and guests to learn about the variety of spaces. Everyone also learns about an artist or curator’s practice with each month’s #bsaaff talk.

Back in February 2012, Be Smart About Art conducted research to find out how gallerists, art dealers and consultants met the artists they now represent – or in modern terms, with whom they collaborate. We were surprised to discover loud and clear that the number one way these collaborations occur is from introductions by other artists. Yes, artists introduce fellow artists to galleries… Amazing!

Wonder how this works?

Let’s say a gallerist represents an artist. Once the working relationship has been established, the artist will have the gallerist’s ear and trust. Should such an artist give a recommendation for another artist, the dealer will pay attention. Why? The gallerist trusts the artist, and furthermore, artists typically associate with artists on a comparable level with compatible styles.

Although already-represented artists will sometimes make recommendations of their own volition, non-represented artists most often need to prompt an introduction by the fellow artist.  This highlights an essential aspect of networking: Whilst you should endeavour to ‘give’ to your own network by helping and introducing others, remember to ask your network to help you when in need.

Think artists don’t want to help one another? Wrong!

People enjoy helping other people. I have personally witnessed this so much that I have come to view this as a natural human trait.

Where to meet people?

This brings us to networking. How do you build up a network in the art world and beyond? There are so many opportunities both on and offline. One fantastic aspect of the internet is that, even if you don’t live in a metropolis or are homebound with family commitments, you can still actively participate in online connecting. You can utilise Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, artist forums – and so on. Offline, you can attend private views, dinner parties, artist fairs, in the park to walk your dog (one BSAA Member does this as a networking strategy – seriously!) – you name it.

My top tip for all ‘meeting people’ events:

In conversation, think about how you can help others. In other words… Don’t go round just thinking about your own interests and what you want to take away from the event. Be present to give and share, and show that you are a source of contacts and information. Although you don’t give in order to get, you will get if you give, regardless.

Not in London?

Connect with others via the #bsaaff #hashtag . The best time to connect is during and directly after each month’s event.

Want it for free?

So as to introduce art professionals to fellows who are like-minded in being serious about building a successful career, all Be Smart About Art events have an entry charge. You know that you are not meeting people who expect everything for free, but who are equally committed to enjoying success doing a career they love.

Come along!

#bsaaff takes place in April at DegreeArt

12a Vyner Street, London E2 9DG


Members free | Guests £15

Refreshments provided

#bsaaff Be Smart About Art First Fridays: 5th April 2013 6.30pm @degreeart

Full details:

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To view all other upcoming events at DegreeArt click here

Guest blog by Susan Mumford,  Founder of Be Smart About Art

Image by Chris King