HELPING OTHER ARTISTS ALONG
One of the locations in St Augustine where I display art is a local well-known restaurant called Back 40 Urban Cafe. I started showing my art on their walls three years ago. My husband and I had been going there to eat for some time and I would admire the local artwork wishing I had the nerve to speak to them about showing mine. Finally one day I saw a blank place and asked the manager if I could put mine up. She asked if I had any photos of my work. I pulled out my phone and showed her one photo and she said "Oh yeah, bring some in!" Then she took me to the open area and showed me all the space I could use. I hung about six paintings, mostly small. One sold within two weeks! That was the beginning of a great relationship.
A couple months later they came to me and said a larger spot had opened up in the front room and asked if I wanted it. Of course I did and I have had that space ever since! It is about a 15' x 6' area and very well lit. I have since sold multiple paintings there. I keep the space well stocked and change out the display about every six months. I also make a point of filling any holes I change out and painting over the fill to keep the wall looking good. The owners appreciate that. I tend to show artwork that is of the St Augustine area or nature themed. I want to start adding people though.
Over the three years I have recommended other artists when a new space opens up and each time the owners have welcomed them into the fold. Of course I only recommend people that I think would be a good fit and who do good work.
A couple years ago they opened a second restaurant they named Back 40 A1A. It is located down along Highway A1A on the barrier island that runs by St Augustine. It is about 30 minutes from us but convenient enough to go to. I was asked to hang art there as well and was given much more space too! One of my artist friends was asked to hang her art there too. That made me feel very good! We display different artwork there. It is mostly beach and water themed as it is right across from the ocean. Both my paintings and her photography sell very well at that location!
A few weeks ago we were hanging new artwork at Back 40 A1A and the owner came in. He told us they had just signed a lease on a third location and asked if I wanted to show some art there too!
This time it will be located north of St Augustine in the suburbs of Jacksonville, FL. That is great as it opens up a new market area for my artwork! I believe the theme of this restaurant will be more metro/farm but I will wait to see. They plan on a November opening. He suggested I send some photos to his wife via email when I explained my new Nostalgia/farm series of paintings. She liked them but said they hadn't definitely decided on a theme for the decor yet. So I am in the waiting stage until further notice.
Below I have some photos of my displays. And also one of my friends work. I am proud of myself and them and of what we have accomplished! Diligence definitely pays off!
I am looking forward to a long and happy association with the Back 40 restaurants. They are such nice people and so easy to work with! I especially appreciate their efforts to support local artists!