COVID 19 and the Art Market | Update March 23, 2020 | Virtual Gallery Opening

Traffic has dropped even more over the last four or five days, as might be expected under current circumstances. Art Walk was cancelled on Thursday to prevent large crowds from congregating in galleries or on Main Street.

Normally packed, the street was nearly deserted last Thursday evening.

We had scheduled an opening for artist Houston Llew in conjunction with Art Walk. Once it was clear Houston wasn’t going to be able to join us, we put together a virtual meet and greet on Zoom and promoted it to our email list.

Turnout to the actual virtual event wasn’t huge, but we did have several collectors join us for the broadcast, and we sold a number of pieces to them, as well as to collectors on our email list who couldn’t join us for the event. So, success!

In addition to the sales, I had a great time talking to Houston.

You can see how we handled the event by watching the recording:

Have You Been Doing any Virtual Events?

Have you been doing virtual or video events to adapt to current circumstances? What have the results been? Do you have ideas for future events, or thoughts on how we might improve the format? Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.


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. We’ve been trying to figure out how to promote our gallery artists ( Gallery 19 in Sutter Creek, CA) on a Virtual Gallery, but find either it’s too expensive or the terms and conditions don’t allow commercial uses. Your zoom event sounds like a great plan! We have begun a newsletter weekly to our gallery email list, plus a daily posting of individual artist’s work on Facebook and Instagram. Nothing has generated any calls or emails. I think everyone is hunkered down, just trying to cope! My mantra has become: “Think of the pent up demand! “ When this is over…. sales will skyrocket!!! Fingers crossed!

  2. COVID-19 hit exactly as I was rolling out my new eCourse: Seek Beauty • Create Joy which was both good and bad. Bad because I couldn’t charge what I originally would have been able to. But good for my students because it just so happens that folks need to be uplifted right now!

    I ended up offering a ‘Pay What You Can’ – some folks in dire circumstances paying hardly anything. Others choosing to pay more than full price to sponsor someone else and also help me donate proceeds to No Kid Hungry.

    It’s uplifting to see people’s goodness, kindness and thoughtfulness rise up out of this scary situation.

  3. I really enjoyed the virtual interview even though I didnt get to see it live. Question for you Jason regarding this type of art. With a staff of 24 people mass producing these tiles How do you as a gallery owner sell it as original art? Does it change anything for you? Is it still considered original art? I know the tiles are very popular as I have seen them in many galleries all over the country and commend Houston for being able to get them out to the masses.

    1. We sell them as “hand made.” It would probably be more accurate to think of them as editions, but in truth, buyers care a lot less about such labels than you might think. If they love it, they buy it; and believe me when I tell you, people love Spiritiles 😊

  4. The nine galleries in the southeast that represent my photography have now all temporarily closed.

    I was hoping for website sales and luckily got two orders yesterday. One I am able to fulfill from inventory. The other was for a 24×36 print. I then discovered my photo lab in Maryland was closed since its not an essential business. Luckily the other lab I use in California is still operating on a limited basis!

    Its funny how the things you’ve always taken for granted may no longer be there.

    Good luck everyone!!

    1. Jeffrey, if you run into an issue again, drop me an email. My contact info is at my website. I have a commercial 24″ printer in house and have begun taking a few print-on-demand orders from other artists in my own area who are facing similar problems. I’m not close enough for you to bring in the originals to make sure there’s perfect color matches, but I do offer a 4 x 6″ test run at low cost. This works as long as the mail continues to operate and supplies can be restocked, at least.

  5. I had invited three other artists to join me for an at show in Taylors, SC (just outside of Greenville). Because of all the gathering restrictions, this past Saturday I did a virtual art opening at my studio and used Facebook Live. (I’m still learning Zoom.) I was pleased that some who might not have come to the opening (a local television reporter) were able to watch the live broadcast. The upside is that, because it is posted on my Facebook page, I still have people watching.

    Clearly, I would have rather met everyone in person, but we live in challenging times.

    It’s time to be creative.

  6. I live in a rural area without a good high-speed internet even during the best of times. Now, since everyone is at home, the problem I’m encountering because of Covid-19 is extremely slow internet speeds, which is interfering with my ability to do much of my usual marketing. It is difficult to get even a text based blog post made, and uploading images to my Etsy account is taking forever. Entering shows, even online shows, is impossible from my home. So what I’m going to start doing is driving over the library and doing my uploads/downloads once a week. Hopefully I can try to get a routine of that and regain some of the ground I had finally started making before all this began. I’d also like to make one of those virtual flip-books someone mentioned in one of your previous post’s comments.

  7. I am a college art student, and our Art Show for this semester has been cancelled. It may seem inconsequential, but a lot of Art Schools attend these shows, looking for potential grad students. Not to mention, some students do actually sell quite a bit of their art (like me.) I am so disappointed. This year the poster and invitation featured a pen and ink pointillism I did on paper I marbleized, and over 5000 of those would have been sent out. So much lost possibility.

    Artists of every level are being affected by this virus.

  8. As with all of us, our community gallery needs to come up with a plan for alternative sales. I am going to start with promoting on FaceBook; asking artist who are members to send in their artwork with specifics; name, cost, size, medium and description of the piece. I have noticed that people love video, so I will try to ask for “How to’s” We are connected to Instagram, a different age group too. We don’t have the funds to have CaFe as a search engine, so it’s up to all the artist to pitch in. Sending the very best to all creative people that we can pull through this difficult time.

  9. I canceled my March 28 studio event, and have been brainstorming with colleagues about virtual events. I’ve come up with Art & Chat With Laura, a Zoom event that I’ll schedule for at least a couple time slots to begin with. There will be a max of four people per time slot, 40-60 minutes long. I’ll announce the times and ask whoever is interested to commit to a time slot, first come, first served. I’ll provide a link to a page of my images from which they will select one work to discuss. In the actual meeting, I’ll share my screen so everyone can see the piece each person has chosen. Prompts for questions or comments in the email announcement are intended to get their ideas going, but not limit the kind of questions or thoughts. My goal is to attract people away from the news and the serious concerns of today to have fun, to nurture our spirits and build relationships. We need each other, and art can be a bridge to those relationships. Physical distancing doesn’t mean social distancing. I haven’t a clue as to whether this will work or not, but I’m eager to give it a try.

  10. The national Sedona, Arizona show I got into openned but with less events and interest. For Utah Women’s Art Show, I have two pieces at the show. I stayed away from the opening and have no idea if anyone went. I don’t even know if the building is open to pick up work.
    For now, the two galleries I have work in are both closed. Since both are in NY, I have no idea when or if they will open this summer. Also. I was planning to teach a workshop and also participate in several charity art events in NY.
    Life has changed. I worry about my family and friends. Fortunately, my studiois is in my home. The studio is my santuary. I am thankful that my husband and I are health and have a home. We are ok but on hold like the rest of so many.

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