In late 2019, I stepped onto a new kind of ‘stage’ that’s far more intimate, interactive, experiential – and exclusive than any public concert you will ever have attended. I was playing for a private audience of invited guests at a a very new – and also very old – event called an “Artist Salon.”
“What is an Artist Salon?”
It’s a private performance – in a home, gallery, studio or other private location – which is by-invitation-only. In some very special occasions, artists will host salons in their own private studios.
To imagine what an “Artist Salon” might be like, consider a mashup between a ‘Command Performance,’ an intimate and very upscale house concert, a VIP event and an exclusive backstage pass. It’s a chance to get a closer-than-the-front-row experience with an artist you admire.
Salons are hosted in several ways:
A music-lover who wants to share a one-of-a-kind evening with their own personal guests may host the Salon in their own home.
The artist may collaborate with the host and bring guests into her own studio. This is the way I love to do it because it gives the audience the opportunity for an even more immersive experience: to actually try playing the instruments and the equipment, actually be inside the artist’s own creative environment, and feel what that’s like.
Finally, sometimes Salons are held in unique locations like empty store-fronts, cafes after-hours, or underground theaters.
(ABOVE: a salon concert in my studio. BELOW: The guests explore the harp after the show)
How do you Host an Artist salon?
When you host a salon in your home, you open your home and provide space, seating, lighting, refreshments for the guests – and you’re the go-to person for communication, directions, parking, etc. You guarantee the artist’s salon fee – and then it’s up to you whether you want to simply offer the event as an exclusive event for your guests or request donations.
When you host a salon in the artist’s studio, you simply come, with your guests on the date & time agreed. Sometimes light refreshments are provided. In my own studio, for birthdays or other special occasions the host will bring a cake, cookies or other special treats and we provide coffee and the studio’s demi-kitchen (microwave, fridge, table). My own studio seats maximum 12 people. The salon event in the image below was in a large home that seated about 50.
How Long is an Artist’s Salon? What’s it like?
An artist salon performance is usually 45 – 90 minutes long – but that’s just one part of the experience.
A salon event almost always includes a ‘talk-back’ session or other interactive opportunity where guests can ask questions, may get to play the instruments themselves, or interact in other ways that aren’t possible in a public concert. A Salon also usually includes a reception with the artist afterwards – where guests, host and artist get to connect in a more personal level than they could at a concert.
In my own Artist Salons in my studio, I love giving people the chance to actually play the instruments, try the distortion pedal and the looper, and take photos of themselves playing the harp.
The whole point is to have an experience you simply can’t have in a theater, something you’ll remember forever.
The performance is usually preceded and followed by refreshments or an informal reception, and some people use the Salon as a very special, very exclusive birthday party.
(Above: a salon concert in the host’s home – note their dog, who took part in the performance!)
How do you get invited to an Artist Salon?
To attend an artist-salon you need to be personally invited in most cases, likely by the artist or the host. If you’re a fan of a particular artist you can also sometimes get on the list for invitations to their own Salons.
The best way to get to attend is to host one yourself (or get someone who loves you very much to host one for you!)
Why do so many people love Artist Salons??
What makes an Artist Salon so compelling is the intimacy of the event and the fact that you’re experiencing a level of presentation and access that you’ll simply never get in a public setting.
To inquire about hosting an Artist Salon at your location – or my artists studio, or to request invitations to my Artist Salons in the Boston Area, click here – and please note that privately hosted Salons are usually not open to outside guests, even by artist’s invitation – so even if you’re on the artist’s salon list and there’s a private event happening in your area, you may not get an invitation unless that particular one is open to outside guests. To guarantee you’re invited to the next Artist Salon … I invite you … to HOST it!