Ask a Gallery Owner | Succeeding with Exhibitions of your Art in Local Venues

In this week’s Ask a Gallery Owner we’ll talk about maximizing sales when showing your work in local venues and exhibits.

View Paola Bueso’s art at


About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. I recommend that it is always best if the alternative gallery setting that you show your artwork in has the ability to ring up the sale at the time that the customer is in the store or venue. Just having a notice on the title tag to contact the artist reduces your chances of making a sale. If the venue is new to displaying art, the staff will need to be informed by the owner you have an arrangement with on how to take a payment.

  2. Thank you for this, Jason. I’m doing a local solo show next year in a historic building ~ an old animal stable now used for art shows. I want so much to make it completely magical… Still brainstorming titles for the show, and the best way to process sales. Thanks for the valuable suggestions ~ press release, key words, lock box. Got it.

  3. I’d like to add a few suggestions since I have done my own shows successfully a few times:
    – Make sure your venue is professional looking especially with good lighting. Organizing a show is a lot of work and it is a waste of your time if your artwork is not displayed at its best and if photos of your show look amateurish.
    – Find business partners that will share the news of your show in exchange of mentions on your promotional material (your website, social media, credits at the end of a video, poster in the gallery, the digital or printed exhibition catalog, etc; large partners could have their logo on your printed material like posters and postcards)
    – I have done the same with media outlets in exchange of ads.
    – Think about finding influential people whose work and mission are aligned to your art exhibit theme. They could be part of an honorary committee that supports the show. Their name is a seal of trust for visitors and they might even share the show invite and tell people around them that they are supporting you.
    – If you have good partners and influential names you might even be able to find a local business to be a sponsor. That will pay for the expenses of the show opening or the printing of a catalog.
    – I’ve also offered a short art workshop or an exclusive gallery visit just before the opening. The fees collected paid for many expenses.
    – Announce dates that you will be in the gallery. People will make the effort to come when you are there. You have much more chances of selling if they are meeting you.
    – Use the visibility of your show to book venues close by to offer workshops and talks. This increases the awareness of your show and saves you energy, time and resources in marketing future workshops.
    – Since it is not a professional gallery, selling small items (but not too small! More in the $60- $100 bracket) can really add up at the end of the month.

    Of course, best is to work with a professional galleries. By the way many of these suggestions can still be done when you work with a gallery. I am amazed to hear from curators about how many artists just drop off their art, never show up, don’t contribute to the marketing and then complain about no sale!
    Being pro-active with communication not only boosts your sales but also strengthens gallery relationships.

    Jason, great suggestion about the sealed box to collect comments and contact infos! I’d be happy to share more about this on your podcast sometime if you see fit.

  4. An excellent podcast Jason – thank you. I have exhibited at several business locations in the past – none have ever resulted in sales. They were usually organised by some group or cooperative. Over the years I have worked out that having someone on site to talk about the work and to encourage people to buy is invaluable. Very rarely does art sell itself – and even if it looks as thought it does there is usually a lot of work behind that seemingly effortless sale. (A reputation has probably been built over years and by various methods).

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