Walter O’Neill Retires From Boca Raton Museum Art School, Pursues Life As Full-Time Artist With Expertise In Buon Fresco

Walter O’Neill has retired from the Boca Raton Museum Art School to return to his own painting. Little did we know that the indefatigable Art School Director is an expert in the technique of buon fresco!  Before his career in managing community art schools, in New York and in Boca Raton, Walter was a full-time artist. During summers, he taught fresco painting at the famed Skowhegan School art residency in Maine.  He creates easel-size abstract frescoes as well as painted fresco murals.  The Rickie Report is excited to share some of Walter’s artistry and we wish him well on this new leg of his creative journey!


Walter O’Neill

Walter O’Neill’s Studio ( partial view)
Walter first learned the Renaissance technique of painting on fresh plaster as a student at Skowhegan and practiced and taught the technique for many years before returning to Skowhegan to teach.  This fall, an image of his one of his frescoes will appear in the 3rd edition of “Gateway to the Arts” the popular art appreciation text book that is used in colleges and advanced placement high school art history classes throughout the United States.
Fresco by Walter O’Neill
During his tenure at The Boca Raton Museum Art School Walter increased enrollment each year by enriching the quality of the programming as well as developing new classes to attract new students. He increased the number and variety of evening and Saturday classes, and sought out local artists to offer new classes such as textile classes with Andrea Huffman; colored pencil drawing and oil pastel classes taught by Genie Appel-Cohen. The ceramics department doubled in size with new faculty and additional classes for adults, teens and children.  He made the Boca Museum Art School more welcoming to people with any level of experience and background in the arts creating classes for beginners and for busy working adults.  By eliminating juried student exhibits he invited every student to participate in the monthly art gallery exhibits as well as the many off-site exhibits he organized.
Close-up of Fresco by Walter O’Neill
Walter has created fresco mural commissions in New York, Maine, and California, s well as paints portable fresco on a variety of support surfaces. His abstract oil paintings are also related to the design of visual narrative in Renaissance frescoes. His fresco classes at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture transformed the program into an integral part of the “Skowhegan experience”. He taught fresco at The Cloister, the Medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and presented fresco workshops at museums and colleges including: J.Paul Getty Museum, LA County Museum of Art, Morgan Library, Queens Art Museum, University of WI, Williams College, University of Southern California, and Adelphi University.
In addition to fresco painting, Walter  paints intimate scaled abstract paintings. We look forward to seeing Walter O’Neill’s artwork in South Florida.  He will be presenting fresco workshops concurrent with the publication of “Gateway to the Arts”.  

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Rickie Leiter, Publisher

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Professional Behavior at an Art Show or Exhibit-Helpful Tips From Rickie

Exhibits and art festivals are taking place all over!  The Rickie Report shares some helpful tips that will benefit artists of all mediums, about professional behavior at an art show or exhibit.  Our goal is to empower you to make your business more successful!

 

 

Professional Behavior

at an

Art Show or Exhibit

 

 

 

Does Your exhibit space reflect YOU and what you are selling?

 

  • Is your business name front and center?
  • Are your business cards available?
  • Is your guest book ready?
  • Is your display so intricate that what you’re selling gets lost?    When people comment on your display more than your items, you are in trouble!
  • Is everything priced?  Potential buyers are often uncomfortable asking how much something costs.  It is human nature.
  • Are you dressed appropriately?  Dress for the occasion.  At an outdoor Art Fair, shorts are more appropriate than a three-piece suit!  If in doubt, always ask the coordinator of the event – BEFORE you get there.  Cleanliness of clothing and brushed teeth go a long way in customer relations.
  • Did you bring a small project to work on during the event?  Art patrons are eager to learn “how” it is created.  You don’t have to give away any trade secrets.  Perhaps, a sketch pad to doodle some new ideas. Look up OFTEN, so visitors NEVER feel they are intruding!  The point is to give them an opportunity to ask about your work or comment – and break the ice!
  • There is a fine balance between  being involved with your project and ignoring potential customers.  Potential buyers feel they are intruding when you are on the phone, reading or talking to a fellow art-show creator.  

 

 

Where to position yourself

In a small space, art patrons need room to maneuver within your exhibit set-up.   If possible, sit just outside your booth, ready for questions and ready to welcome your guests.  If you must be inside your space, studies show that hovering around the front center is off-putting to potential customers.  Try to remain in the back, VISIBLE but not intrusive as visitors look at your creations.  Bring a chair that is higher than your displays – you want to be eye level with your customers, not have them looking down to see you.

Everyone can be a potential buyer!  To result in a sale, there is a process of connecting with you and your work.

 Are you making it easy?  

What to Say

 

  • Greet your customers AFTER they walk into your space.  They need a moment to transition from the previous exhibitor’s booth and yours. SMILE. Be welcoming!

 

  • NEVER ask a question that can be answered with “Yes” or “No”. Half the time, you are going to lose.

 

  • “Let me know if I can help you” is a good ice breaker.

 

  • Another is, “It is okay to pick things up” (IF that is true)

 

  • “Feel free to try things on” works well when you are selling wearable art.  Note: If you are concerned about clean hands, have some wet wipes readily available.

 

  • Use plain language to respond to a question.  Not everyone knows as much as you about your medium or technique.  You’re not giving a college lecture.  You’re trying to educate a potential art patron.

 

  • Leave room for silence.   Too much information is overload, especially when a visitor is at a large art or craft fair.  Short, informative answers leave room for more dialogue if they are interested in buying.  No one buys because you wore them down with your oration and no one likes to be “talked at”.

 

  • Be sincere. Be you – the creator and maker of these items.  Your love of your artistry will come through!   To become more comfortable, role playing with another artist or friend can be helpful.

 

 

What Not to Say (Even if You are Asked…Even if it is true)

 

  • “My work is the finest you’ll see at this show”  It may be true, but no one likes a braggart.  (You weren’t the only one to be juried in….)
  • “This is a terrible show and I will never do it again”
  • “Another exhibitor is a fraud” 
  • “I hate my location and can’t understand why no one is stopping in to buy”
  • Ignore people who walk into your booth because they don’t look like they can afford your work (Read “The Millionaire Next Door”)
  • Scream at someone who is touching what should not be touched.  It is helpful to have some objects related to your work that small hands can explore while adults are shopping in your booth.  Show a video of your studio and of you working on your art creations!
  • Leave before the show is over.  Unless it is an emergency, NEVER pack up and leave before the event closes.  IF you MUST leave, alert the Show Coordinator!

 

The Rickie Report is happy to help you when you are preparing for a show or exhibit.  Contact Rickie to make an appointment for a consultation.  In addition, Rickie is available to meet you at your exhibit and “walk the show” with you, giving you helpful suggestions for increasing your potential for success.

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291