Diversify: Don’t Rely on One Sales Venue

Priscilla Fowler
Priscilla Fowler, Dispersion, 2008. Sepia ink and ink wash on painted paper, 24 x 30 inch detail of 15-part drawing. © The Artist

Most galleries don't count on a single artist to survive. Likewise, most artists can't count on a single gallery, retail outlet, or exhibit venue for their survival.

Have you been putting too many of your eggs in one basket? Unless you are an art superstar with an exclusive New York or London gallery contract, you can't depend on one source for promoting and selling your art. You must diversify. Got the local gallery? Great! Now, get another in a different city. And another. Don't stand by and hope that what is currently a good thing will always be a good thing. Galleries seem to open and shut down more frequently than other businesses. Plan for the future.

To start diversifying, all you have to do is repeat the same steps that got you into your first gallery or other venue.

Start with research. The new edition of the Art In America Annual Guide is now on bookstands. Pick up your copy and pore over it. Highlight it and flag venues of interest. Create a file or notebook to gather your research.

Armed with this research, you can plan to visit towns and cities that look promising. Get a feel for the venues. Nothing can take the place of a site visit.

I’ll also encourage you to send out promotional packets that include images of your art, your bio, and your statement. I know this rarely works, but sometimes it does! Many galleries today have information on their Web sites about (1) whether or not they are accepting artist submissions and (2) what to include with your submissions. You can also add appropriate (appropriate!) galleries to your mailing list (not email list) and send them postcards or brochures from time to time.

And don’t just do this for galleries. Send your promotional information to art consultants, interior designers, and, if you have a niche market, professionals in that niche market. If your art is a good fit for them, they need to know about you.

Expand your online presence. Sure, you may have a Web site, but how about a blog? And are you taking advantage of the pages offered by the organizations to which you belong? Don’t forget places like Etsy.com, high-quality online galleries, and other blogs, where you can leave comments. You just never know where people might find you.

So, stop showing at the same places over and over again. If you have the same juried show on your résumé year after year, it’s time to branch out. Quit playing it safe and embrace the next step in your art career. Learn how to show your art in its best light with the help of the CD and e-book, “How to Curate and Install Your Art Exhibit.”


Relying on one source to sell your art is something you will later regret.

Are you depending too much on one source?

DO THIS———-~>
Start now and don’t just do it here and there. Be constantly thinking about new opportunities you can create. Make research a big chunk of your marketing efforts.

Have something to share about diversifying sales venues? Tell us on the blog or just listen to the podcast at Art Biz Blog.

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