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South End Firm Helps Artists Seeking Exposure

Suzanne Schultz's South End-based Canvas Fine Arts firm makes new in-roads for artists.

Talented people no longer simply ‘get noticed.’ In fact, chances are greater that those without much talent are the ones who’ll garner some quick attention.

If you’re an artist of some sort, you need to hire help in order to gain exposure… a facebook page and a chunky mailing list make a good start, but to get your work into the hands of people that can genuinely make a difference in your career, you need a PR support system. What’s more, whoever you hire to fill that role needs to be impassioned about what they do and about what you do… one without the other just won’t work.

This is the principle upon which Suzanne Schultz founded her firm, Canvas Fine Arts, located at 1200 Washington Street. And she obviously knows what she’s doing: now in its fourth year, Canvas has survived a cut-throat economy and is thriving with a roster of thirty clients, most of whom are locally-based.

“I had experience with managing art galleries and I found myself wanting to do so much to promote the artists I was introduced to, but… galleries have their own agendas,” Schultz said over the phone earlier this week. In early 2007 she broke away from a string of gallery-related jobs and opened Canvas so she could put her promotional drive to better use.

“I was interviewing a potential new client recently who said ‘you obviously really love art’ and my response was ‘actually, I really love artists.’ I’ve had my position on the world gently shifted by a few of the artists I’ve worked with," she explained.

"But for me, in addition to being enamored in an artist and their work, there’s a sensation of being perplexed by their inability to go any further on their own… and a genuine desire to take care of that for them.”

Talking to Schultz, it sounds unlikely things could have ended up any other way… she’s a PR natural. She understands how over-saturated the market is and isn’t afraid to place her clients’ work in high-traffic areas that might not be considered the height of artistic integrity. After all, there’s little value in starving to seem chic – that’s a tired game, and Schultz knows it. Anyone questioning her authority might want to check out her TV gig, “It’s All about Art” on BNN. Additionally, she has a book in the works.

“I want my clients to get their work out of the studio and onto walls where people can see it—at food and wine pairings, at fashion shows and in department stores,” Schultz said. “Only a small percentage of the population goes to museums and galleries. Those opportunities carry prestige, but if you’re interested in making sales there are other things you must be doing. At the same time, clients need to be able to trust that these decisions are made with a discerning eye.”

In other words, Schultz isn’t going to hang your work at Marshalls or Dress Barn. More like high-end furniture showrooms like M2L and Thomas Moser. Even still, she comes up against reluctance, but if she can get a client to at least try something they're initially wary of, their tune usually changes after a sale or two. She cited a specific instance when a client was concerned about hanging their images in a Legal Sea Foods. Some five sales later, however, they were understandably thrilled.

“I think anyone that comes on board with me knows this isn’t a traditional direction,” she said. “I tell them what I can offer and they pick and choose what they want. But I think in general artists are becoming more willing to take chances with how they sell their work since, it’s no secret – every old mill building in the world is filled with people making art for profit. I provide a commercial vehicle so that my clients can eventually pursue those other, more prestigious avenues and opportunities. And I’m proud to be associated with each and every one of them.”

Canvas Fine Arts is located at 1200 Washington Street. Call Suzanne Schultz at (978) 760-0800 or email Suzanne@canvasfinearts.com.

Art ByVeny April 05, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Really? This article sounds great....but wonder who paid to get it published. My experience with Suzanne is on the opposite side? We couldn't even make the initial contact right... I contacted Suzanne via email and set a day and time to call her and learn more about her services. When I called got the answering machine. Emailed her as well asking if she forgot for the appointment. She replied shortly she didn't forget but had some fire to put out. Strangely enough didn't bother to let me know, although she claimed she had the appointment on her calendar. Suzanne suggested I call her in about hour later...but when I called I got the answering machine again. I have emailed her and sure enough she replayed back that she is sitting by the phone expecting my call. Called again and again my call was answered by the machine. I gave up. I have the feeling she is not picking the phone if her caller ID does not recognize the number....like she is hiding from someone. Wonder who that may be? Received email later from Suzanne where she was yelling at me not leaving message with my phone number so she can call me back. Hmm she said she was sitting by the phone expecting me to call, but wanted me to leave a voice message....I found this a bit odd. In addition I could not find any references or reviews beside what she wrote for herself. Sensing something suspicious in that hide and seek phone game I gave up and have decided to move on to another art agent that has nothing to hide from!

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