Is there a Patch in your town?

What is a Patch, you say?  If you haven’t yet heard of this spreading phenomenon, Patches are online newspapers and gathering places that are popping up in cities around the country.  Patch says that they’re a “local source for news, events, business listings, and discussion.”  To see where the Patch nearest you is, go to

My local Patch is the El Cerrito Patch

And luckily for me, my city’s Patch has a wonderful reporter, Christina Van Horn, aka Madame Hat – who writes beautifully and has boundless enthusiasm for many subjects that are dear to my heart: art, animals, gardening, libraries …

Christina is responsible for the daily column called the “Daily 5,” where she finds an amazing variety of things to do or see each day, in or around El Cerrito.  Christina also recently started a weekly column, “El Cerrito Art Seen” where every Monday she writes an insightful, in-depth profile of an El Cerrito artist.  I was honored to be the subject of Christina’s Art column this past week, which she titled “Photography is Her Kaleidoscopic Muse.

Patch article

What a thrill!  First, it was so fun just meeting Christina and speaking with her.  But I was impressed with how she really “got” my work and the motivation behind what I’m trying to do with my nature photographs and artwork.  I won’t quote the whole thing here, but her intro concisely summarized what usually takes me a whole lot more words to express:

“For artist Heidi Rand, the wellspring of her art is photography, fueled by two passions: making art useful and nature’s beauty, which is dependent on conserving wildlife.

That’s a tall order to fill, but Rand’s studio is chock-a-block full of art pieces and crafts that all bear the stamp of her passion and her unique mixed-media approach to art.”

Christina also included some great photos that she took in my studio.  She wanted to highlight the shoes that I had made from my designs through

And unlike print newspapers, because Patch is online I was able to add a photo about the mandala banners that I designed for the El Cerrito Fourth of July celebration, which Christina had mentioned in the article.  And that leads me to my next point … some marketing tips for you!  Join your local Patch. Use it to get the word out about your artwork (or whatever you’re doing).   You can list your business for free.  Here’s the entry I made for Garden Delights Arts & Crafts:

Add your own photos and videos to your entry —

List your events.  I listed the art workshops that I teach locally, and you can list any sales you’ll be participating in.  You can make announcements and participate in ongoing discussions.  I first got involved in Patch by making comments on articles and some discussions. You can also advertise or offer coupons on your local Patch.  And don’t forget to reach out to other Patches that are near your city, because you can participate and add listings to those as well.

With the internet we often focus exclusively on the large world out there — it’s one of the wonderful things about the web, meeting people and learning about things that are far away … but don’t forget that your neighbors may share many common interests with you, other than your zip code!

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