Over the years a person looks for ways to promote their work, whether a visual artist or whatever their focus. I think you need to look in many directions - for instance what type of area promotion is available to you? Can you tie into local economic development in any way? Is area tourism being supported somehow?
Tourism in our area is being supported more and more during recent years. There's O'Brien County Tourism, the Western Iowa Tourism Region, the state in general (Iowa), and there are other local attractions that can support you in one way or another - even if it just means getting the word out about you. Then there's the local media - newspaper, radio, television (not necessarily in that order).
Networking with other artists is a great way to spread names around, and one good tool in NW Iowa is an event like the Artisans Road Trip which is an open studio/gallery event during one weekend. The A.R.T. website and published booklets help advertise/promote area artists. Anything that helps is good!
I have many interests that intertwine with my artwork, I don't know many other artists or photographers that are any different. I met the prairie years back and that became my passion. If you were to visit Prairie Hill Farm in the summer and fall months, this would become obvious to you! I have been involved in prairie and prairie organizations, prairie restoration and reconstruction (both public and private) for many years now. It's in my blood and it focuses my work in many ways.
Prairie Hill Farm is located along the Waterman Creek valley, in the Little Sioux River watershed in NW Iowa. This area has become extremely important in the last 15 years as a last stronghold in Iowa for remaining prairie remnants of significance. The Iowa DNR has worked to regain native Tallgrass habitat nearby us (Waterman Prairie). The County of O'Brien has worked to establish the Prairie Heritage Center to promote education and appreciation of our natural heritage here - the Tallgrass Prairie.
Prairie Hill Farm was a Godsend to us in hard times, a refuge and source of inspiration. The gravel hillside upon which we sit has a wonderful remnant of prairie grasses and forbs (native wildflowers) that escaped modern agricultural practices because of the terrain. But Prairie Hill Farm also has a heritage of agriculture...the last farm family here made a living off the land for 50 years.
Our renovation of the Sheep Barn/Poultry Barn this past 9 months has embraced this heritage as well! We feel this is the best of both worlds and a very good use of the agricultural heritage in partnership with the natural heritage of this land.
I hope you can visit us sometime and enjoy the senses of this place, walk along the prairie paths, and rest in the shade for some conversation.
In the meantime, if you have a decent connection, take a few minutes and view our video above!
Enjoy the summer while you can...