Debate: Should Artists Show Work in Doctor’s Offices, Banks and Other Business Locations?

Last week, I received an email raising the question of whether it would be worthwhile for an artist to show her work in a doctor’s office. The doctor would display the work for a set time and allow the artist to have a stack of cards or brochures available to potential buyers. If work sold, the doctor wouldn’t take a commission. I suspect many of you have had similar offers, and perhaps you’ve even had experience showing in similar venues. I’ve already written about the promise and pitfalls of showing in coffee houses, restaurants and other alternate venues, and much of what I said in my article there applies equally here, but let me reiterate my thoughts. There are some differences we should consider as well.

Here is the email I received laying out the circumstances of this offer:

A radiologist came into my studio […] and was looking for some work to decorate his office. He said he wanted to change the atmosphere in the lobby and waiting areas in the facility by hanging diverse and interesting art for patients. We discussed how my beetles could be an engaging thing for patients to look at while they wait and he seemed interested and took my card.

Then I received an email from him asking if I would be interested in participating in a small rotating art feature/exhibit at his office.
They want to begin having rotating exhibits with several artists at a time. Artists can provide their bio and postcards and information will be posted to contact the artist if anyone is interested in purchasing a piece. He did not mention any commission, or the schedule by which he would switch out the work. He did say that he was reaching out to several other artists […] as well.

My concern is twofold. First, I am in the process of relocating out of the area, so I would have to find a friend to hang the work for me and then ship it back when my “rotation” was over. Secondly, I am still building my collection and am not sure I should turn over part of it to him to hang in a location that isn’t an active gallery for an unspecified period of time.

I checked out their company and it seems on-the-level. What is your opinion on loaning out work to decorate a space in the hopes that someone notice it and ask about purchase? Should I participate just to get the experience and exposure, or save my money and target more conventional galleries?

If you don’t have time to respond, could you perhaps point me in the direction of some guidance on situations such as this?

Thanks, I appreciate it!



My initial response:

If you are ramping up and getting ready to present your work to galleries, you should be hesitant to commit the work to this venue where the chances of generating business are relatively low. With the work involved in handling the logistics of the display you would probably better spend your time on other marketing efforts. On the other hand, if the work isn’t likely to be in play with a gallery or other sales prospects, some exposure, no matter how unlikely to lead to a sale, is better than no exposure.

Add to the equation the fact that you are moving out of the area, leads me to believe that it is unlikely to be worth the effort for you, especially if you would have to pick up the cost of the shipping.


Linda’s reply:

It’s funny, I’ve heard some interesting opinions from friends and family on the subject. One friend was positively incensed. “They promise ‘exposure’ so they can use your art to decorate their place for free!” she said. But my husband, who spent his career at the National Science Foundation, talked about the artists they used to feature there and the great showcase they provided.

I’ve since responded to the radiologist with a “thanks but no thanks”, but he got right back to me saying he especially liked my bugs. He said this would be ongoing rotating exhibit, hoping he could contact me again, and asked if funding would make a difference.

I’ve been thinking about how to help him set this up so it would be successful, and maybe I would participate sometime in the future. I’d think that some kind of funding–for shipping, set-up expenses, promotion–should be encouraged. And having a plan for how he would promote the shows–on his website, local press, a reception–would encourage other artists. He could also partner with artists organizations and even local schools & universities to get a good variety.

Now that I’ve had a bit more time to think this situation over, I’ve had some additional thoughts. First, I don’t think that there’s is anything dishonest about what the doctor is offering, and he’s certainly not the first to do it. I’m familiar with many businesses, banks, attorney’s offices, hospitals and doctor’s offices that run programs like this. I’m sure that artwork has sold in some of these venues, though I’m also sure that they are not huge sales generators. No one would be forcing you to participate in it, and as long as they are note promising sales that they can’t delivery, no one is misleading you.

With that out of the way I want to share what I consider to be the pros and cons of this kind of venue:

The Cons: Reasons These Venues are not Very Likely to Sell Art

  • I would stand by my assertion that this kind of exhibition wouldn’t be at the top of my list of marketing tactics. Speaking as someone who is daily involved in the selling process, I can tell you that without a good salesperson on hand to promote the work, the likelihood of a sale is pretty low. It takes skill to interact with buyers and move them toward a sale. It also often takes follow up to close the sale. It’s unlikely any real salesmanship is going to occur in a lobby.
  • Knowing that the likelihood of a sale is pretty low, I feel your time and effort are better spent looking for venues (like galleries or art shows) where the focus is on sales.
  • When people are visiting a doctor’s office, or any other business, they are there with a specific purpose in mind – buying art is not going to be very high on their priority list.
  • There are real costs and risks involved in participating in this kind of display. There is time involved in delivering and installing the artwork. There is a very real possibility that the artwork might be damaged during transport, or while on display. These risks aren’t huge, but they should be considered.
  • As I mentioned in my reply, there is also a cost involved in taking your work off the market, or at least out of your usual sales channels. You have production costs and time now tied up in inventory that isn’t actively being promoted.


The Pros: Possible Benefits of Showing in Alternate Venues

  •  Some exposure is better than no exposure. Even though these venues are not necessarily going to be paying you in cash for the artwork, they are offering you exposure. You need to decide if the value of the exposure is worth the costs listed above.
  • Sometimes the clientele of these businesses will match your target audience. If the business draws an affluent and well-educated crowd, you may have a shot at making a sale.
  • You may have a captive audience. Waiting rooms and lobbies are often filled with people who are going to have some time to look at your work. Just keep in mind that you are competing with magazines, mobile phones and tvs, so you need to find some way to draw attention to your work.

Ideas for Maximizing the Exposure

I’m going to give some suggestions of things you might do to maximize the possibilities of making this kind of showing a success. Please keep in mind that these ideas are somewhat theoretical since I don’t have experience displaying or selling artwork in an office setting. These suggestions are ideas I’ve heard from artists, or things I would adapt from my experience selling art through the gallery.

  • Ask the organizer or business owner to host a reception where their best customers could meet you. A bank I’ve worked with hosts openings for artists as part of their rotating exhibitions. This is actually a win-win – the business gets to build better relationships with their customers and you have an opportunity to proactively engage with potential buyers.
  • Post statements about your inspiration and creative process with each piece of art. You might not be able to engage the viewer in person, but you can attempt to engage them with your writing. You should also have your biography available for potential customers to learn more about you. I would also suggest that you post a card that explains how easy it would be to buy the pieces on display. Give step-by-step instructions telling the buyer how to contact you, how you would arrange delivery, what forms of payment you accept and anything else you feel might be helpful. These kinds of instructions get people thinking about buying.
  • Check in on the display regularly to make sure your cards or postcards haven’t run out and that they are easily accessible.

Please Share your Thoughts and Experiences

Have you shown your work in a rotating exhibit at a business? What was your experience? What suggestions would you give to an artist who is considering participating in an exhibit at a business? What are your thoughts about this kind of show? Please share your input in the comments section below.

Please Share this Post!

If you find the posts and discussions on helpful, would you please share them with your social media contacts or post a link on your blog? The wider the audience the posts reach, the better the discussion. Thank you!

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. Hi all, I had really good experiences with all of the above. Like you said, any exposure is better than no exposure. Why is it always all about selling? I am a local artists who shows in Galleries, Art Shows and yes, in Restaurants. City Hall sponsored shows are a great resource too. I’ve sold well and network a lot. I’m good on Social Media, so yes, art on Facebook sells too.

    Don’t forget that you have to start somewhere and being shown is a lot better than your art sitting on the floor of your garage. Be out there, get to know your market, join and volunteer in art organizations. Be supportive of others (that always helped me the most) and make sure that you build a brand that’s recognizable and consistent.

    You will work your way “up” and eventually stop showing at “lower end” opportunities. You will start to be more picky, but like with every job – experience makes you better!

    Good Luck!
    Director of Education, Artists Council

  2. This is a very timely discussion since I have been mulling this around in my brain. I recently had a solo show at a library with no sales. However I was thinking what a waste of time that was when another thought enter my mind. What if a person like an interior decorator or gallery owner saw the show and liked it enough to contact me? Not all artists are going to get their work in galleries and have to find other means of selling. I think in terms of is this a place where my art can be damaged such as hanging in a restaurant and food or drink gets spilled upon my work? Unless you have a few galleries in your corner then look for any way you can to get exposure.

    1. A grade school teacher wanted me to show my art in the halls of the school, when I told her I could not do this due to possible damage of my work she became incensed – go figure!

  3. I am sure that if you told the radiologist that you liked his / her work and you are willing to exchange their free xrays and free MRIs of you in exchange for telling people how good the radiologist is, they would jump at the chance. In exchange for ‘promoting’ a car dealership, they let me drive new cars for free for months at a time. Not.

  4. Hi Jason, Good analysis. I am an artist whose sister owns a cafe/bistro (Good Eats) in downtown Ottawa (Canada’s capitol). There are very very few places in downtown Ottawa where an artist can show their work and yet downtown is where the government offices and tourists are. My sister bought professional hanging equipment and lighting and we started a gallery program for the cafe, local artists changing monthly, hanging and removing their own work. We keep a table near the door available for their information and for them to come and work or visit with cafe patrons, there is no commission, but a $50 fee to cover her costs and help ensure we have serious artists participating. I review each artists’ work to ensure they are ready to manage a show on their own and mentor them if they aren’t yet ready. My sister works with the artists to organize a nice opening, puts their work on the restaurant website (lots of people order food online now), and on social media. There have been very few sales, but the artists have been happy. I agree a commercial gallery would be best, but in the absence of galleries, a collaborative owner of a busy location can be helpful to artists.

  5. I have displayed my work in a dental office. In all honesty, i was a practicing dentist there 23 years ago.. I have sold a few paintings and it is nice to keep my art in front of my former patients. I see no real downside to except shipping. Ugh. Trading art display for medical treatment (like glasses) can be beneficial. I have not done it but have a friend that does it often..

    1. I have actually traded art for dental procedures a number of times. Your ability to do that really depends on the dentist’s openness to it and his desire to acquire art. I say, it can’t hurt to ask. Just make sure you have a written agreement before you do the deal.

  6. I always thought this would be a good thing to do but I have changed my mind. A friend’s art association displayed at a well known hospital and someone stole her painting right off the wall. CC TV caught him on tape but they never got the painting back. At least at a restaurant or coffee shop there are employees around all the time. Theft might be something to mention in a future post.

  7. As a gallery owner in a village in Nebraska I display and sell art in the cafe across the street, in the bank at the end of the block, at the live theatre venue twelve miles away
    And in a cafe eighteen miles down the road

    Win win for us all. more room to display
    More exposure good sales from three of the venues. Great or from all

  8. I was interested to read this post. I am an artist and run a ‘ non for profit’ gallery at our local health Centre. I have approximately 12 artists who regularly exhibit their work throughout the corridors with a change over every 3 months. I charge a small fee which goes in to a fund to provide art workshops and materials so that we can provide art workshops for patients who are referred by their GP. This is a great way for the artists to gain more exposure ( get sales) and in turn to give something back to the community.

      1. This commentary really touched a nerve for me. I was a Middle Eastern dancer for many years. There are so many events that ask for musicians and performers, but have no budget to pay them. Unfortunately, there are many people eager to perform for free. The event organizers always say, “you’ll get a lot of exposure.” Yes, you do get a lot of exposure. To more people who ask you to perform for free!

        But the funny thing is, when I was well payed for performances, I also got “exposure.” To more people who wanted to pay me!

        I think any doctors office or business that wants art on their walls should buy the art. Period. None of this “free art show” organization.

        If we artists and performers want to be paid for our work, and respected in the business world, if we want to earn a living doing what we love, we have to value it. We have to stop giving it away.

        Reading this article, and all the comments about has caused me to reevaluate a lot of things. I am new in the art world, and I live in a small community with an active art guild. The members show at local frame shops and restaurants. I don’t think a lot of sales happen. We only have one gallery that I know of. It is filled with a variety of things, many crafts and jewelry as well as paintings and small sculptures. In a small town, gallery space is limited.

        I’m focusing on commissions, and have sold a few. I look forward to what the future will bring to me as an artist.

        1. Perfect. Catherine is exactly right. I actually believe that the venues which hang art like offices and restaurants are just able to have art on the cheap, and have it rotate so things look different (which helps THEIR bottom line) rather than invest in decor. The one instance where it might come in handy would be if you have a client who has contacted you about your work or a commission, and wants to know if there is a location where they can view it in person….in THAT instance, it’s of benefit to you. Otherwise? Not.

  9. It always seems like the time effort and expense an artist incurs to produce their art is dismissed as having no value – I guess if you are a hobbyist providing free art to decorate walls of businesses is OK. But if you take your art seriously and feel it is of value you should insist others see it that way too. I love the quote by Dr. Phil – you teach people how to treat you

    1. Exactly Linda. I couldn’t agree more. I find that if you begin showing for free just anywhere, a swath of the audience doesn’t even know if you have 30 years of skill (like I do) or if you started messing around two weeks ago. Are they really your audience, these people who can’t tell how much work it takes?

  10. I think a successful business setting is a great place for art, and that the art is a great expense item for the business to use as a tax writeoff. If the doctor is not interested enough to buy the work, maybe he is interested enough to lease it, though I would try to negotiate a nice monthly fee for purchase that his cash flow can handle. Put in perspective, a friend of mine who is a photographer has a multi-location medical practice that is quite large buying his portfolio to hang in all their spaces.

    While it may be true that some exposure is better than none, there are many, many opportunities for your works to be exhibited without having a gallery representative. Key among finding those is finding the community of artists in your area and engage there. An example here in the Puget Sound area is the Tacoma Art Museum where local artist groups can propose exhibits, some of which are hung. Having your work in a museum show is great exposure, even if only for a few weeks. That is where a targeted audience will be able to see your works up close, and with the cachet of the museum adding some import to your work.

    Once in awhile I see some nice art in commercial settings. When I do, I look at the artist name and info, if present on a wall card, I never look for business cards at the front counter, etc…

    1. Yes, I think offering a lease deal to the doctor or similar is the best solution. There’s obvious value in having their lobby looking great with fresh artwork but for whatever reason the business doesn’t value it enough to buy it outright. So with a lease option, they can have the art and rotation they desire, not own the artwork, and the artist can be compensated in part with the lease payments. Win win.

    2. Sculptors do this often. Ever seen a public park with a sculpture program? They lease those sculptures for the duration of the program (usually months or a year). I have often thought for these sorts of businesses that the leasing option would be better – however, that costs money and having the artists come in and hang/arrange their own work costs them nothing…..which is why when I have been approached by businesses to hang my work in their office or restaurant, I bring up the leasing option…..and never hear back from them. That tells me the story.

  11. The word that comes to mind is “expectation”. In a medical setting, what do clients (audience) expect?
    In a bank, what do the clients expect?
    People who frequent these places are not expecting an art gallery. They may appreciate the visual stimulation but it is still ulterior to their purpose for being in that establishment.
    If, the artist can leverage that visual stimulation, and be enough separate from the facility visually and spatially, something might work.
    It is complicatedI showed and uphill for all concerned to say the least.
    A long time ago I showed in a bank. The work was remote- behind the tellers and officers. They did have an easel with my information on it and as I remember, they included me as the “artist of the month” in their ads. I think about that now as a possible customer draw for them, but that would not work for a doctor office unless it was an HMO maybe.
    It’s a toss of the dice at any rate, and just one more thing for an already over-full plate in my case.
    What has worked for me in the past are public library shows where the library has a gallery space set aside for rotating art exhibits.
    At any rate, careful work on selling by remote control is e real issue when noone is present to represent the work and the artist in direct interaction.
    Thank you Jason for raising this topic again.

  12. Not long after I left my long career as an illustrator, I was approached by an art consultant about participating in two shows she was hanging. Both were at a private company’s 2 corporate offices, each for about 3+ months. As I was building my body of work and had not shown in a gallery for many years, I was thrilled–at first. But it tied up my work for months, kept me from submitting that work for some juried shows, and I soon realized that her client was getting rotating art on his walls, for free, while I am sure the consultant was paid for her services. She gave me a small honorarium, but I will not do that sort of thing again. I think a case might be made for hanging in a public place where you art is likely to be seen by many. But this was not the case. Sometimes juried shows hang in public venues, but that is different. I would say no to this doctor. If he really loves your work, he should buy it.

  13. This may be a little different… I’m currently showing my artwork in a local coffee shop. Getting my 2 dimensional work into a gallery isn’t even on the radar yet. I did it not at all go into it expecting to sell my work there, in fact I’m hearing exactly what I expected to hear, “This is a rural area…these are metro prices.” Anyway, I knew the owner a little and she likes my work (which I appreciate). It is a great space with a variety of customers. The whole point is for exposure and shedding light on the issue of PTSD and First Responders In our community; which is how those artworks came to be (Don’t worry…positive vibe, not doom and gloom). Thanks, be well

  14. I have considered this from time to time. I recently got an offer to do this after I “boosted” a Facebook post. It was a local restaurant/bar/music venue. My wife and I went to the venue one evening. The place was packed. The art on the walls was displayed poorly, essentially papering the walls, and no one was looking at it. The owner couldn’t answer my questions about sales volume. It was clear that this was not a good venue. I always look at the art in restaurants, coffee shops and other non-traditional venues. The art on the wall may change, but it is rare to see works sold. It is like Jason says, people go to these venues with a different agenda, and sales are poor at best for most of these. I would also argue that this exposure, is not of great value as sales are poor to none, and the “word of mouth” exposure that these venues generate is I suspect, similar. Better to enter local juried art shows and work one’s way up from there, at least people at these are going to look at the art. Being an artist is a tough business, and yes it is a business, and one shouldn’t spend their precious time on extremely low yield enterprises. I might offer to sell the radiologist one of the paintings, and agree to display others.

    1. Yes! Exposure doesn’t necessarily mean good exposure. I got picked to be in a city-wide juried art show last year. I was thrilled. Until I saw the lighting they provided. It was tragic!! The bright colors were muddy and dark and the whites were grey and gloomy in the subpar lighting conditions that could not be changed or improved. I got a lot of people looking at it, probably over a 1,000, but what they were seeing was not actually my piece and the vast majority of them were there to look at art!

      In the end, I felt it was kind of a waste of time. If I ever involve myself in another show like that, I’ll be negotiating lighting before I say yes. When that piece hung in a gallery it literally glowed on the wall.

  15. It seems odd to me that doctors and other high income professionals can’t seem to afford to buy artwork for their lobbies. It would be a tax write off. I think an alternative to a direct sale to them would be to rent them the art work with the option to buy. No we artist should not show in these situations as typically “exposure” is the only payback offered and we artists can die from exposure. Most artist that are starting out discount the amount of overhead involved in hanging a show anywhere it can get pricey constantly moving artwork safely. Consider the lack of insurance on your work at these venues. Also showing for free like this sets a precedent for these people never buying art while they in fact feel like they are somehow supporting the arts. Some Non profit galleries may be guilty of this as well. Especially those that aren’t equipped to close a sale. I would avoid this scenario like the plague

  16. I have had my work hanging in a local coffee and wine bar a couple times without selling anything, BUT here’s what made it worthwhile: Two sisters saw a piece that they liked and returned to purchase it after I had taken my work down. The owner directed them to the local arts guild and they pointed out that my work was featured in a mini-gallery in a hallway off the lobby of a historic local hotel. The two sisters bought the piece they liked and gave it to their mother as a gift. Their father was in the process of building out a commercial space that included his office and several other businesses. He sought me out at a weekend art fair and bought 11 of my pieces to decorate the building. Sometimes immediate gratification is overrated.

  17. I’m sorry to have moved to this area I now live because before I moved here I was involved with a small hospital in a rural area. I was known as a watercolorist there and was invited to show my work in an art and wine fundraiser show. I attracted a few healthcare providers and their spouses who bought pieces and then went on to become collectors of smaller works as they became available. This somehow got back to my dentist and he asked for me to bring in any work I had in my portfolio that was not even framed yet. After my appointment, he took time to page through the paintings and picked out two and asked how much and I gave him the retail minus the usual expensive framing of watercolors and without batting an eye he told his receptionist to take it off my procedure bill for that day and gave me a check for the balance. Somehow that lead to a designer who was working with one of the doctor’s wives (who bought a painting at the first show) who then asked if I could decorate tiles and vitreous fire them. Sure I could! And that lead to her friend feeling she needed a lift in her own kitchen who then asked for some tiles and a painting commission. I wasn’t ever without work. And I didn’t have to change my style for commissions. I wish I had an outlet like that here. Hmm. Maybe I could.

  18. 1. Participated in a similar pop-up show for a (well known) financial group with well-heeled patrons. We had 2 openings. One was for the group’s clients – and while the artists were encouraged to attend, we were NOT PERMITTED TO DISCUSS ART. The second was for us – promoted by the person who put the show together. Guess how many attendees? Yep. 0. I wouldn’t have hung here if I hadn’t already paid dues at their (failed) gallery….

    2. A friend showed at a local resort. Again, well-heeled patrons. 3 of her pieces were stolen right off the wall. By those well-heeled patrons.

    This is a hard pass for me. Until I am sufficiently worthy of/find a good fit for a gallery, I’ll stick with league/organisation – sponsored gallery shows and online shows and the occasional live art show.

    IMHO, a gallery is worth EVERY penny if run right. These pitfalls illustrate why.

  19. My financial advisor invited me to display my paintings throughout his offices, for sale, and at zero commission to him. I jumped at it, for the following reasons:
    1) Because of the type of clientele that frequent this office — likely more mature, perhaps affluent, and focused on “paying themselves back”.
    2) Because the office is very professional and nicely appointed, making for a great display space for art.
    3) Because I trust and like my advisor and his professional staff to respect and take care of my work while it’s in their office.
    4) Because my advisor is an authentic promoter of things he likes – including my paintings.
    4) Because I can switch out pieces (and have) as-needed, avoiding any barriers to delivering requested work to another venue/gallery.
    6) Because I can point interested art lovers to the installation, where they can see my work professionally displayed. (and some have, in fact, visited the office for the sole purpose of seeing my work!)
    5) Because I like having the “corporate installation” on my resume, particularly when it’s an environment with a certain cachet.
    During the time I’ve had my paintings on display in this office, I have sold one of the pieces displayed there to one of their clients. During the year I’ve had my paintings in a professional art gallery in a nearby large market, the number of pieces they have sold: One. I am in no way complaining about the latter; just making the point that sales CAN occur at professional venues other than art galleries.
    Other business environments I’m not interested in displaying my work in: Restaurants (where food is served and clientele aren’t to be trusted); doctors’ offices (visitors have more pressing things on their minds than considering an art purchase); or other places that are wide open to the general public, where my work can be abused and even stolen.

  20. If any artist decides to show in public places such as doctor’s offices, etc. please make sure the art is out of the reach of young kids. Our church commissioned a 4’x5′ piece for our new lobby. The church (for practical reasons – and against our recommendations) placed 2 complimentary chairs and under the piece with a small table in between the chairs.

    The first week our art team saw several young mothers put their 2-3 year olds on one of the chairs (to keep them in one place), while they helped other children with their coats, etc. Well, the toddlers were of course drawn to the bright colors on the painting and would “pat” it vigorously like a drum. We didn’t see even one mom tell her child not to touch the painting. We ended up purchasing a $700 acrylic cover and 3″ long steel cylinder hangers to protect the piece – since the chairs were going to stay put. I can see this happening at a doctor’s office.

  21. Aloha Jason, Very good topic. Years ago when I was living in Honolulu I had an exhibit with a wonderful restaurant owner who was very supportive of artists. The restaurant itself was in the business district so high end clientele frequented the restaurant. I designed my sales list like a menu and gave the show a whimsical theme name which the local newspaper picked up in its review. The owner and I selected Hawaiian food for the opening and had a wonderful turnout. I had a few sales which was more than I expected. I did have a downside to this otherwise very good event- opening night one of my paintings was stolen right off the wall. It wasn’t noticed by anyone until the next morning. The owner called asking why I had removed the painting. I said I hadn’t. That is when he realized it had been stolen. He had full staff working that night as well. However with a large crowd, someone was able to take the painting off the wall and walk out. It was hung right by the door, so the empty space was not as noticeable. He is a well established restaurant and has been doing the rotating art shows for years without ever having a theft. Fortunately he had insurance and he filed a police report and I was paid for the painting. I did not ask about insurance prior to the show, but I would recommend that. Otherwise it was a very good experience with a lot of exposure. I would suggest visiting the restaurant during business hours to see clientele and the ambiance of the place. This was not a restaurant catering to families with young children, it focused on the downtown business crowd.
    Doctor offices I would do strictly as a more donation of my work for the time period. As most people in doctors offices are stressed or thinking about physical symptoms- not buying art. Your work can provide a respite from that stress- so I would use work that you can take from your inventory that will not hurt you with being short work for other venues that could make sales.
    Finally, Jason is correct regarding galleries having sales staff that are focused on selling your work- other businesses have staff however their focus is waiting tables, checking in patients etc. the majority of my sales have been through galleries, art fairs and hotel art resident art programs. If you keep your expectations of sales realistic that they could be low or zero, then fine. The venue becomes a source of exposure.

  22. I think for artists just starting out, having the option to show work in this type of situation is very helpful. But, you can’t fool yourself into believing that it is an actual gallery, with sales personelle, professional lighting, marketing and opening receptions! If the location is near your home and receives a lot of “ traffic “ and is occupied most of the time (so that no one would be tempted to steal a painting because they think no one Is watching) , go for it. In the case of the questioner though, it makes no sense to participate since she is moving away from this location. The added cost and risk of shipping the work doesn’t make it worth the effort. As far as monetary incentive from the doctor for her to ship her work to his office, I don’t understand. Maybe the doctor’s true calling is to be a gallery owner. He seems to be putting in a lot of effort, to not have to actually purchase her or any other artist’s artwork. Kind of strange, don’t you think?

  23. In all the years I have shown at alternative venues, I have only sold one piece to a staff member at a cancer care hospice center. I am about to drop out of the several rotating exhibits that I am part of because hauling my work all over town, loading and unloading, and hanging my work is really time consuming and not really profitable plus my frames get banged up. Another issue is that you don’t always get to choose who you are hanging with if it is a large facility and you are just dropping your work off to be hung by a guild committee as it is in the group that I belong to. My work is geometric abstract and very modern bright flat colors while most of the people I hang with are traditional artists – landscapes, portraits, still-life, lots of plein-aire painters and water colors. My work doesn’t look right among them.

    I joined a gallery co-op in the art district last year, and this year I am going to rent wall space in a curated pay-to-play gallery. The owner is always there and promotes heavily and curates/juries in all the artists who are a part of the gallery. She only works with professional artists. She has a long list of contacts – designers and architects and collectors. She rotates the work every six weeks and hosts events, artist talks and receptions. I have walked in to some pay-to-play galleries in the past and not taken advantage of the opportunity because it was not curated and looked like an art garage sale.

    I have finally decided I need to focus more energy on obtaining better representation and create more opportunities in the art districts by entering shows and competitions. I am entering more shows and am getting better recognition now and showing my work with like genre. Things are getting much better and more buyers are seeing my work.

    I have made a plan for the next three years and none of it involves showing my work in alternative venues. Anyway – that’s my story and why I have decided to exit the rotating art in public places exhibition route.

    1. I was just thinking as I was reading another post. I did sell a piece also at an upscale athletic club and a piece at a model home. I think real estate agents might be a good resource for using your work for staging the properties.

  24. I was thinking the same thing about the doctor offering to help pay for shipping. Why wouldn’t he just buy some of her work and the work of the other artists and have the office manager rotate his awesome collection of work!

  25. Hi Jason,
    My Dr, when she first saw my website, said she loved my work and intimated she would like to buy some. Then she asked how would I feel about hanging paintings in her new office. She especially liked 3 paintings, one was a wedding gift.( Garapata) I gifted her a mounted framed print of that one, and gave her the two others, ready to hang, Light in the Trees 40×30 and The Opening 18×24. Meanwhile a family member was interested in buying Light in the Trees. She has agreed to part with my paintings should anyone want to buy them. The Light in the Trees sale didn’t go anywhere, so I didn’t pull it.
    I also have originals, prints and cards hanging at the Chiropractors where I work part time as a massage therapist. I sold a small original water color to a client and sell cards there. The paintings have been much admired.
    I also have 5 originals and cards at my local dance studio with price tags.
    Also I have an original hanging at my local health food shop and they sell my cards and prints. Someone was interested in buying an Acrylic Hawaiian painting but nothing came if it. I recently switched out all the paintings in these places.
    It seems I have a lot of paintings out there, but close by, so easy to access, at the same time I have paintings and canvases all over my house. I am still searching for the right Gallery who loves my work and sells my work. Until I find that I am happy for others to enjoy my paintings!

  26. Here’s a thought…why not offer a print of her work he likes best to hang in his office/work place with the explanation that “original works can be purchased from the artist at…”. (Instead of a rotating process especially since she’s moving) That way he get her work on his walls and she gets the “exposure”.

  27. I think public retail venues can be successful. Last fall I was approached by a local business where I live. She asked me to show and exhibit 14 of my pieces in her Salon and Gallery for two months. She was located in my neighborhood and I thought, ‘why not?’ She told me that she sells very well from her establishment. She hosted an artist reception for me as well. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. I sold three originals and a hand enhanced giclee.

  28. I show my work in galleries, at art festivals, at juried shows and plein-air events, and sometimes in alternative venues. Some general rules of thumb I follow…
    I don’t spend any time searching out these venues, but if one happens along I consider it and usually do it. They have all come my way by references from friends.
    If I were short on inventory I would not tie up a scarce resource in an office or coffee shop…but the truth is I paint every day and have plenty of inventory.
    I would not consider a place which requires long drives, difficult hanging or above all shipping.
    Or a place which would compete with galleries representing my work, and I make sure that pricing is the same as anywhere else.
    Medical offices are a low priority…I think that so many people are going there when they feel miserable and are worried about their condition, it may not be a good place to show paintings.
    Banks are also low-priority because people seem to be in a hurry to get their banking chore done and leave.
    Coffee shops have been surprisingly good (though I hasten to add, not great). I wouldn’t think that someone would walk in to buy a $5 latte and walk out with an $800 painting…but they sometimes do. Coffee shops are usually well-lit and the customers are often in a pleasant leisurely mood. And I do have people I meet later tell me they liked seeing my work at the coffee shop, so the exposure thing is working.
    Nice restaurants can be dimly-lit so also a low priority.
    I once had paintings at an athletic club and this was my best alternative venue of them all…you never know!

    The bottom line for me…alternative venues can be a fun and mildly profitable supplement to my main exhibition and marketing efforts.

    I had not considered the theft angle that others have brought up…but I sure will in the future.

  29. I have shown art in a doctors office with great results. The agreement with the doctor was that I would have an opening and a closing reception. We would both advertise to our respective contacts via email. I provided flyers for the office and to local businesses for advertising. He let us pick the date and an after hours time (we chose a Friday for 3 hours in the evening to open, and a Saturday 2 months later to close in the late afternoon) and I provided light refreshments and wine. He provided in house music. Our opening was a grand success and we made many sales, both from guests from his contacts, and from mine. The closing was slow, due to the bad weather that day, but I still made a few sales. The run was 3 months. This amount of time worked for me because it was during a slow part of the year and it provided a place to show (and I didn’t have to store them during my slow time). He did not want a commission, but I made a small piece for him as a gift because we had made so many sales. Because the timing worked out for me, this was a great venue to show during the slow time of January to March.

  30. This all makes interesting reading! These are my experiences of alternate spaces for hanging my work:

    Libraries: This was my first experience, in a large city library with a designated, well lit wall. I hung a large multi image canvas together with 10 small ones at reasonable prices, all depicting aspects of a local historical event. To my amazement, all 10 small ones sold. Unfortunately not all libraries offer this facility as it requires extra work for the staff!

    Medical premises: These usually result in plenty of complements but few sales I have found. Doctors seem reluctant to buy but in one surgery, a grateful patient purchased and donated my work to them.

    Cafes and restaurants: The only time I’ve had real success selling here is when I targetted the influx of patrons for Mothers’ Day, hanging many small framed prints of my originals, and they were presumable bought as presents. Keeping the price realistic seems to be key in these places.

    Businesses: I agree that unless there is enough of the right kind of traffic it really doesn’t make sense to tie up work and decorate the walls for free (surely that is what art hire is for).
    However, I was approached by a veterinary clinic to produce a series of 10 works for their revamped building. The brief was ‘no animals and no scenery!!’ After considerable study of farming methods, history, physiology and anatomy of various creatures, I did complete the commission. No interim contact was required and no budget given. Delivery day was a nervous affair, but after 30 minutes wordless appraisal, my cheque was written with warm approval! I wouldn’t recommend this type of work to a business but it sure paid well. However, when approached by another vet clinic some distance away to repeat the exercise, I declined.

    After these experiences, I feel that for myself, galleries come out top every time – and I will happily pay the commission for their expertise and hard work.

  31. hmmmm…I have had shows at a coffee shop, a library, a culinary center….No sales at any of them. I was happy with the venues..they were professional and careful. The library show is part of a jurored set of shows throughout the county library system. Some of the the main one are fabulous and well attended during openings. Others relegate you to a basement conference room. The culinary center caters to a moneyed clientele who take classes there. And the wall space was fabulous. The coffee shop was a fun place and lots of wall space. Still I would hesitate to do that type of venue again. Only if I could get into the main library show. The exposure simply isn’t enough for me these days. The advantage was getting organized and art inventoried and ready to hang. As for doctor offices..I too am always interested in the art I see in hospital hallways, and waiting rooms. But I think the doctors should buy the art, or rent it, or buy prints.

  32. I hung about 12 pieces of my art in a doctor’s office and in a physical rehab facility at one point, just looking for the right way to promote. Happy to help, and to make it a little more fun for everyone. But I’ll never do it again unless I get a decent rental contract. Here’s what happened. The offices, staff and patients got the benefit of the nice artwork, but the support I received from the staff at both places was rather sad. I’d have to straighten out each piece that went crooked on the wall. Somehow all my fliers and business cards were always gone when I went by to check on them and refill the supply, and the people at the front desk “had no idea” what happened to them or even the holder I supplied that the fliers fit into. No one thought to give me a call and ask for more fliers, or to ask me to just take the holder off their front desk. I was clearly being taken advantage of and finally got my art out of both places after expressing the rudeness I experienced to the doctors who initially made the agreements with me. Neither one had said anything to their staff about me and what their parts of the agreement were and apologized.

    Fortunately nothing was ruined or stolen. But what a waste of time, carting twelve 24″x 24″ wrapped canvasses back and forth through hallways, elevators and parking lots, checking on the art, bringing in more promo supplies, etc.

    Here’s my take on it: Doctors and physical therapists have no idea what it takes to promote or sell art. They are experts in what they do, not what artists do. But they do want their walls to look inviting. They need to be educated about what it takes to put art on their walls to engage their patients and brighten up their spaces. If they then see what it really takes they would understand that letting you have wall space is NOT a proper exchange for your art hanging on it. Especially if their staff won’t support your small promotion efforts with business cards or fliers, or sending you a referral once in a while.

    50 or 100 people a day moving through a doctor’s office is nothing as far as exposure goes, even if it’s a high-end location. They are also not in the market for art–they are ill or injured or concerned about their health and what’s on the walls is not what they are there for. So as far as this sort of venue to show my art, I have ruled it out. There might be the one very conscientious doctor or office manager who cares about helping you, but they are few and far between and might very likely lose interest after a week or two of talking up your art and kindness in decorating their place.

    Time to move on, find someplace else. Thankfully there is a wealth of information on this site to use to find and discover more venues!

  33. Restaurants and doctor’s offices are not good places for your artwork. as I work in fiber, this is particularly relevant. grease from kitchen (you think it is far away??) and folks coughing and sneezing in doctor’s offices…not good.

  34. When I returned to showing my art, I kind of took what came along, but I did insure my work. I have shown in libraries and sold a few pieces, never had much luck with doctor’s andcdentist’s offices and will not show in restaurants. Your work when returned smells like food.
    Initially, I donated work and have stopped all of the listed. I now only show where there is going to be an audience and the show is advertised!
    I prefer galleries, if they have an opening. If not it is usually not worth your time( this includes on line galleries ) unless they are advertising you specifically , to me are much like showing in a doctor’s office. The online gallery gets to use your work to make it appear that they have more resources available than they do.
    I do much better in sales in a setting that I know there will be an audience.
    I think that a good website and an active business twitter, Instagram, eBay, Etsay ,and Facebook account is far better than decorating the walls in a doctor or dentist’s office; inless, the offer includes an opening, and they offer to supply the food.

  35. Do any of you have a sample contract for showing in an alternate space (business)? I would love to have a guideline for a situation I need to make a contract for.
    Do you give it a time limit, ask for rental after a trial period?

  36. What is the raison d’etre of your art? To sell it? To who? The philistines in the orthodontist’s office? Go for it. Did Van Gogh ever sell any art? Maybe: his brother was an influential art dealer in Paris who was pushing his work. In the, iPhone, short-attention-span philistine universe, ART – as we knew it – has become marginalized, obsolete, a holdover from a previous age. Rich people buy it in New York. How many artists can actually live off the work they produce – 1 %? Teaching: that’s where the money is and the tenure and the pensions. The Rothkos, the Kitajs, the Donald Judd, Robert Morris, Dan Flavin, Warhol, Peter Blake – the demigod, David Hockney, who copies Van Gogh. “Gimme Shelter,” and gimme cornbread…

  37. Frankly, I haven’t had much success with this type of “exposure” in the past. I never displayed my work in restaurants because they do not insure it, and restaurants are notorious for fires. I’d been asked many times and have always politely declined. But, that was when I lived in an area where everyone knew me and my work, and I had a local gallery that displayed my work also. Now, I have moved a distance away from that town where no one knows me and the everyone has their local favorites here. Yes, there is a local high-end gallery here that displays my work, but sales are slow and still not many know who I am. I understand it takes time to establish a presence in an area where others have been around for years, so a couple of summers ago I agreed to show in a local real estate office (before I had the gallery). I had joined the local arts council and they arranged for the venue. I took the work there, hung it, and committed to a 2-month show. During those two months, I visited the office 5 different times, and the doors were locked. This office did not have a permanent secretary who kept it open when the husband/wife team was out, and they were constantly out showing real estate. Because there was no one in the office, there was no one to answer my calls, or any one else’s. Bottom line: I don’t believe ANYONE ever saw my work there. The owners simply had nice work on their walls for their own viewing pleasure when they happened to be in their office closing a sale. At the end of the 2 months, I removed the work . I was pretty aggravated because I had to make an appointment to get in to remove it. That very day, since I had the work in my car, we stopped by the gallery who now handles my work, and they liked it and agreed to show it, so there was at least a silver lining. Fast forward to last December, and we visited another prominent town an hour a way in the opposite direction. Another real estate office in that town has asked to display my work. The city is home to a prominent state university, so the city is filled with art galleries. We attended a gallery walk to see if I matched up with the work being shown. There is money in this town, but the galleries seemed to cater to the art students and very contemporary work, not a good fit with my work, and with much lower price points.Our last visit on the walk was a gallery that turned out to be a real estate company with a nice gallery venue set up in the back. When we walked in, we thought we had the wrong place, but the secretary directed us to the back where we found the work of an artist who does acrylic pours. She had a compelling bio and nice work and most of her work was priced below $100 because she was a student at the university. I left my card and the owner called me the next day because she had flipped when the secretary gave her the card and she looked up my work. I took the position that since there was no bonafide gallery in the area where I’d want to show my work, some exposure here was better than none to get my name out in a new area. I decided to try again and committed to another 2 months hanging there in June and July this summer. They have 1st Friday art walks every week, and special receptions for the artists at the first of every month, which is good, because that’s the only time I’d be able to interact with any viewers, since I live a distance away. What bothers me is that the secretary who manned the office never made one move to talk to us about the artist or her work, or come back to the gallery where we were the whole time we were there. She did not know I was an artist myself, looking for a venue, until we were leaving. I’m really thinking I made a mistake, especially considering the fact that I located another art show putting out a call for artists in the very artsy area of Arlington, VA on the weekend of June 1st, which I now cannot attend as that will be the opening reception of my show already committed to. So, to anyone reading this, what would you have done, or would do in a like situation?

  38. I have sold many paintings at city activity center, a real estate office and a church. I have shown at a financial advisor’s office, a hair salon and a hospital without a sale. From my experience, lower price point, non abstract paintings work best at these venues. Now I am painting large abstracts and no longer showing in these venues because they don’t sell. Actually haven’t figured a good venue for selling my newer work.

  39. I display a new painting each month at an alternative healing office which I go to often as a client. I have received a number of students who attend my art classes from this exposure. I think the reason it is beneficial is that it is in my community and the people who go there are also the type of people who would like my art and be interested in taking a class from me. I have also traded my art for services there so for me it has been a positive experience.

  40. In making decisions about where to show, I might ask myself if my primary reason for showing my work is to “sell” or to “share”. Usually both, or more, are involved but a primary reason is usually present. In our culture, product selling is very important and it is easy to slip into that place as a primary when presenting our artwork. Which is OK, but being aware can be helpful in our choice of venues when showing and selling our artworks.

  41. Hello, I do agree with much that has been said regarding the pros and cons. In the past I exhibited in a local coffee shop and sold 3 decent size oil paintings which made exhibiting very worthwhile. I have also exhibited in a hospital and the doctors and nurses bought many paintings over a few years while exhibiting there (never the patients). In the last year I exhibited in a library which I would say was just a drain on time and not worth it. This fall I had a show at a Mass Audubon center and had a wonderful reception, sold a few paintings and sparked interest with a few potential buyers. I think it might be especially good for artists who are just starting out to try these venues. All in all I would say galleries and art organizations are really the best way to sell for me. I can spend more time painting which is the most important use of time, and leave the selling to someone else!

  42. One option is to exhibit with a larger company that has a corporate arts program. These venues may require a proposal and images, just like to a gallery, but a good company will insure the art work, often provide a reception, promote the exhibition within the company, and allow the artist to sell. I have sold several pieces in these venues. One place I exhibited wound up buying three of my photographs for the company’s permanent collection.
    An artist has nothing to lose by contacting a company to inquire if the company has an arts program. I recommend that you determine if the work will be insured while on the premises, what promotion will be done, if outside guests may enter to see the work, and if the artist is allowed to sell — and if a commission would be involved. Company employees who would come to the exhibition would be there to see the work, as compared with people who are in a restaurant or office and whose primary interest is not the art work.

  43. As chairperson of a large art group in a metropolitan city, we have “decorated” the walls of a prominent wine bar, a realtor, and a condo building. Sales are practically NONE. We hold a reception with our artists chatting with folks who might be interested but otherwise, these establishments have no real involvement or concern with selling our art. We have asked for exposure through their social media sites, such as FB and Instagram, and they generally do not bother. Remember, these places are NOT in the business to promote art and don’t devote time for social media to art. They simply need to decorate their empty walls for free and yes, it is a legitimate request on their behalf.

    I think it is a waste of time unless you have to move some art out of your storage and keep it somewhere else but it generally is not insured.

  44. This is a very good topic. I have started responding to these requests with this…

    Hello, [place of business or individual name].
    Thank you so much for your interest and kind, compliments of my artwork.

    I agree that they would look wonderful at [insert name here].

    The best way for me to do this is to offer you [insert % you would normally pay commission, 20-30-40%] off the purchase of the artwork you like and would enjoy displayed at [insert name of business here].

    Once purchased you may place for the full retail sale.

    etc etc etc …

    Above is just an example of how I might word my reply to these types of inquiries…

    Doing it this way insures that you get paid and don’t just decorate their business for free AND it something happens and your artwork is damaged well then that’s on them…

    You may ask why I do it this way?? Because all those things have happened to me in the past.

    Live and learn ☺️

  45. I have had great success selling at alternative venues. The best place I have ever shown, outselling all of my galleries, is a hair salon. The owner has artists show their work throughout her salon for a 3 month period of time. I took in 15 paintings, hung them in the waiting area and one at each hairdresser’s station. People enjoyed my work and reading my bio on the front wall. One time when I went in to change out new paintings a woman approached me and bought a very expensive one for her husband’s birthday as I was taking it out to my car. The owner took no commission, I handled all sales through the Square, and I was free to show what I wanted. She was kind, considerate and one in a million. She kept inviting me to stay longer and I ended up staying 5 – yes 5 years – not 3 months. Another excellent venue is my dentists office. It is a beautiful office and I keep 4 large paintings on his walls which he purchased. The same paintings have hung there over 8 years and I do not change them out. When people say they would like to buy a particular painting which happens almost monthly, the receptionist tells them they can order a print of it and gives them my card. I have done well and got a commission from one patient. If I could find other offices like him I would consider it. I pay no commission to him and I use the Square to complete the sale. My experience at libraries is not the best. I sold one very large painting at a nearby library then applied to show at our local library. When it was my month to show I was told no labels, prices, or business cards could be showing. I asked how people could contact me and he said “that would be impossible – not one artist in 18 years has sold anything.” I am grateful he was honest and I told him what I thought of him taking advantage of artists and did not show. I belong to a group of painters that show in one hospital. We all know sales are slow or nonexistent in hospitals. The hospital staff saw my work and I ended up being hired to paint one enormous full wall 25′ long mural in cancer care, smaller ones in urgent care, one in cardiac treadmill testing, cancer treatment, children’s care, in the post surgical area and by the gift shop. I have gone into the hospital occasionally to check that the murals were in perfect condition and was always praised for my art helping patients stay calm and relax. They even recorded amazing decreases in blood pressure and anxiety in these areas. It was too big a job for me and thoroughly exhausting but I am glad I did it to help the patients. I think it all depends on what you want to do and how to make it work.

  46. I am a watercolor artist now and thinking of doing just this – displaying my work in a community theater here in Silicon Valley with a large lobby where they hang rotating displays of art (they have plays, concerts, etc. where the patrons have time to mill about drinking wine and have spent good money to be there). And I know it can work because my husband and I bought our first original piece of art 30 years ago after seeing it hanging in a tasting room at a winery in Napa. We still love it and when we went to her studio to pick it up we got to see more of the artist’s amazing work and talk to her at length. I have recommended her art to friends of mine looking for a similar piece, and still check out her website occasionally. The winery just gave us her card and didn’t have to do anything to “sell” the art.

  47. I was asked to display some non-objective works at our local YMCA yoga studio and gladly did so. As an active member and volunteer at the Y it furthered their mission of community and connection while make the yoga studio a more inviting place. Since these works were outside of my typical efforts they were given a home they might not have otherwise had. I sold a few and enjoyed having fellow YMCA members see a side of me (that of artist) they didn’t know of.

  48. Crazy….. Gallireis want 40-50% of your sales, to which I say NO Way ! I have sold originals through restaurants, libraries, Art Centers, One Man Shows, Energy Companies, Palors, and privately. I have offered to pay them, but they insist on me keeping it, and to paint more. My best sales where at Restaurants and Bars.

  49. I Have been approached by a doctor who loved my paintings and wanted me to display them in his office. I said no and thanked him for the offer. He earns a good income and obviously does not feel I’m worth paying for a painting so he can hang it in the office. I choose not to enter into any offers where someone gets the benefits while I gain almost nothing from the deal. When was the last time a dentist or other professional offered you free or very cheap services?

  50. As the doctor if he/she is willing to do rotating exams for free on you and the other artist in exchange for using the art. Tell the doctor that you will be happy to tell your friends and family about his practice. That way everyone gets what they wish and everyone gets “exposure”.

  51. If a radiologist loves your work, then sell it to him or her. Period. You are the primary sales person for your art.

    I’ve owned two art galleries, featuring over fifty local artists’ work, including my art. We sold a lot of art. We did not loan it out to anyone, other than a one night to see if someone wanted to live with a pricy collection.

    I say devote your energy and resources to gallery shows, a long term relationship with a gallery that you like, and/or have your own art show.

    If it is fulfilling to see your art up, then accept a coffee house, restaurant, medical office, bank, etc, but yes, the wear and tear on the art, the smells that get in it, and the tiredness of being somewhere not purchased are to me not worth the time and risk of putting art in such a situation.

    To me, being asked to loan art is the opportunity to sell the art. i loaned art to my dad”s doctor’s office–what a mistake. It got pen marks on it from people brushing by in the hall. And even though it was my dad, he did not take responsibility for that. It just ruined the art. And took my time. And was rather sad. So, no, I am not for loaning art to anyone. Ever.

    In contrast, showing my art in my galleries, having events to bring people in, and working to sell the art, showed the art is valuable, and prompted many, many sales.

    Online is good too, if you are good at that. Or if someone can sell for you, anywhere, that is best.

  52. * Insurance coverage of the work placed on display … don’t forget inquiry to protect your work in the event of the unknown.
    * Simple contract with specifics relating to dates, fees and insurance.

  53. no.
    in my area of nj, the hospitals purchase the art of very well known artists, landscapes, koi ponds and the like are popular, though i have thought of selling gyotaku(fish prints) in the fish markets just to see what happens…

  54. My experiences have shown art doesn’t sell at the mentioned places. The art guild I was in at a small northern Michigan city placed our work at the local libraries. We felt it was a way to exposure the patrons to art and to support it. We also had a rotating show at my husband’s clinic’s reception area. We change the show every three months. There were no sales just compliments. At the end of one artist’s show that they didn’t like his work! Afterwards they decided to commission an artist to paint two paintings based on a poster they also had on the walls. That artist wasn’t even a member of our guild! We had several artists who could have done what they needed.

    I now live in a larger city. My art guild has an annual show at the library, which is fine with us as, again, to expose the patrons to local artists and support our library. We were invited to show at one of the local coffee shops. The owner bought a very good system for hanging artwork. Three artists hung their work for a three month rotation. He let us have labels with a bio and prices as well. He advertised on his website, and in his listing in the paper for First Friday events. He also had local music. It was very successful for him. Unfortunately, it was a small space with tables right up to the walls so people could not see the work. The only word that was sold was the other guild artists. He now has his own photos on the big wall and a permanent show of two local artists. They hang their work for free. I don’t know if they sold anything.

    A magazine publisher downtown shows artists’ work in the street windows. Inside there are some pieces in the front reception area but most are down the hall going to their offices. If I didn’t place an ad every year in their magazine, I wouldn’t feel comfortable coming in and asking to look at the work down the hall. Other than that, I don’t go in there.

    It is hard in small areas to find places to show when you don’t have gallery representation there. Thanks for all the comments and advice here.

  55. For an artist just starting out, there’s the need for exposure, any exposure. But if you aren’t in this category, I don’t think showing in these venues is a wise investment in getting people to see your work. That said, early on, I did have a doctor who was a serious collector of my work show a rotating exhibit of my pieces in her small office, and because she was a collector and a fan, she answered questions and enthusiastically promoted the work if given an opening. I sold a number of pieces through her, including some of my highest sales at that time. But I think that situation was somewhat unusual and not likely to be found in most venues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *