It's all about events
across the Weald and South East
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It's all about events
across the Weald and South East

As the co-owner of Grierson Galleries, based in a beautiful listed building on Sevenoaks High Street, it’s been an interesting journey observing the change in how art is regarded and how it’s marketed and bought. What has become apparent over the years is that sitting in a Gallery all day every day with beautiful pieces on display is NOT the way to sell art in an ever more uncertain and volatile market place.

We at Grierson learnt early on that the selling, marketing and showcasing of art needs to be much more than this. It needs to be taken to the people. Yes, having a stunning space for exhibitions is of the essence, however a professional reputation must be earned and here I believe that offering diversity, earning trust and making it fun is essential. Our artists are the life blood of our business, without them we are nothing and we have built a reputation for offering more, being flexible, friendly and fun! Artists talk to each other, clients talk to each other, so you must ensure it’s happy talk!

In 2018 we were delighted to set up and host our very first Grierson Galleries Benenden Art Show in the stunning Benenden Village Hall. Twenty-seven superb, diverse Wealden artists took part offering ceramics, portraits, oil, watercolours, linocut to name but a few genres. We also showcased the work of NB Gurung, our wonderful Kathmandu-based artist whose work we bring in from Nepal and have framed up here. We worked hard to make it the great event it was and offering refreshments, beautiful brochures and free parking all helped, together with extensive marketing! After the event I asked all the artists what they’d got out of it (including good sales of course!) and the main points were the excellent organisation and the FUN! We laughed, they laughed, our visitors (500 in two days) laughed. Create ambience and you’re half way there. Kingsfords of Cranbrook, a local solicitor, very kindly sponsored us and are doing so again this year. We are repeating Benenden Art Show on April 6th to 7th this year and cannot wait to welcome both artists and guests.

Nick O’Neill – Learning to be a King

How else to get to the people? An Open Gardens Day in Cranbrook on the hottest July day – people came in droves. Working with our new local picture framer (70 people out on the most hideous day of the year!) ‘Try before you buy’ – we’ll put the art in your house so you can live with it for 24 hours. It’s probably going to be with you for a long time, so it’s got to be right.

As a Gallery we’ve also been to local Christmas events showcasing our artists’ works thereby reaching a different market as well as Art Fairs and Shows organised by others. You never know when that one person will unexpectedly pop up and buy! We also exhibit in Kingsfords’ lovely large window in Cranbrook – again gaining visibility and encouraging partnerships with local businesses.

Used intelligently social media is the friend of any business and makes communication with lots of potential clients at one time possible. The secret is not to inundate. Most people have more forms of communication going on than they either need or want, so make it count! Keeping your potential clients and artists informed of exhibitions, events, offers and news is key. Not every exhibition or event is going to appeal to everyone, however there will always be people who are intrigued by what is on offer – often people one might have almost given up on! Make it personal, not generic and people are flattered. This applies to how we work with artists too. We treat them with respect and I endeavour to answer every email/phone call with courtesy and – I hope – encouraging and helpful advice!

Once contact is established with possible clients, nurture the relationship. It’s very special. We have one couple in Sevenoaks who have over two years bought six of our amazing youngest artist Max White’s paintings – and we’ll always go the extra mile to facilitate with advice on framing, hanging, delivery. Keep doing this with all your clients and the rewards come.

In our experience art is not sold to people but bought and everyone has a different opinion on the type of work that suits their environment and personal taste. We aim to inform, tell the story of the artist and the work and to assist the client in making that decision. We make strenuous efforts not to impose our opinion as to what is suitable for them but let them come to that decision of their own accord. The hard sell DOESN’T WORK!

We are very excited to be working with The Hive and to have been offered the opportunity to showcase our artists’ works in a beautiful, modern, buzzing environment in Cranbrook later this spring. This is a match made in heaven, bringing a new and exciting dynamic to the town and surrounding area, whilst also offering something different and innovative that will appeal to local businesses, people running their own business, people wanting to have and attend events and meeting areas whilst enjoying great hospitality and art!

Grierson Galleries’ ethos is ‘Working together to mutual benefit’ – we want the people we work with to succeed and to create and nurture partnerships with those whom we trust. Supporting and working with local artists and businesses is of the essence in these challenging times.

Images of ‘Benenden Art Show 2018’

Annie: 01580 720559 | 07970 413492 | |

The Grierson Galleries 2nd Benenden Art show runs from April 6th to 7th at Benenden Village Hall

The Hive is scheduled to open in Easter 2019 at 19 Stone Street, Cranbrook – for updates visit or Facebook or Twitter @hivehubs

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