Solo exhibitions, as well as 2- or 3-person shows, deserve your full attention.
If you have an important exhibition coming up, give it the (virtual) space it deserves. Create a page on your website for your show.
You probably already have a page for all of your exhibitions, but I’m talking about a single page that features only your special show.
This will be the premier place you send people for details about the exhibition, which will be easy for people to read because it only has one focus. It doesn't include anything else.
Why would you share this info only on Facebook or in an email when you can create a storefront for your art? You’re paying for the virtual real estate already. Might as well use it!
Everything will be in one spot rather than scattered around online or in someone’s inbox.
The URL (website address) should be one that’s easy to share and to remember rather than a string of slashes and numbers. This isn’t always as easy if you have a template site, but make it happen if possible.
Here’s what your exhibition page should include, and I suggest listing everything in this order.
Title of Exhibition
All of your exhibitions should have titles to distinguish them from one another. If they are solo shows, your name should be in the title.
When are the first and last days people can see the work?
Too often, we advertise only the opening, but some of your fans might not be able to attend on that date. Be clear about the exhibition duration.
At this point on the page, you only need to put the name of the venue. Below, as you’ll see, you will give more details.
Short Blurb about the Exhibition
Include a couple of sentences that describe what people will see when they attend. If, for any reason, your name isn’t fully visible on the page (i.e. if people have to scroll or it isn’t in the title), make sure to include it within the blurb.
Images of Your Art
This is not the time to hold back. Share images of the work that will be on view. You don’t have to show all of it, but show enough to entice people.
Size the images large enough to make an impact. The trend online is to have BIG pictures. Anything too small looks old-fashioned.
TIP: Link to any blog posts or videos that describe the artwork or process.
Include your prices if you’re in control of sales rather than the venue. Plenty of artists are selling their work before it ever goes on public view. Wouldn’t this be nice?
Exhibition Location Details
Repeat the name of the venue, and then add:
- Open hours
- A link to the venue website
- Phone number
- Street address, city, and state/province
Don’t leave off the city and state/province! Your website is available to people in all corners of the world. If people land on this page, you don’t want them to have to guess what city you’re in.
Include a photo of the location if it might be helpful for visitors to recognize or (especially) if it’s impressive.
As a courtesy, it’s nice to give any tips for parking.
Related Exhibition Events
What’s happening around your exhibition? People want to know they’re invited! Issue a heartfelt invitation around any of the following events.
- Opening reception
- Gallery talk
- Tours or times you’ll be at the space
- Anything else you’re planning to activate the space during the show
Note dates and times for each event, remembering to include an ending time as well as the time it begins. You don’t want guests embarrassed by showing up after most people have gone home.
Don’t forget to mention:
- Any fees that might pertain
- Whether it's by invitation only or open to all (Bring a friend!)
Here you could add another image, perhaps of you giving a talk or demonstration.
Going to a gallery is part of a night on the town for many people. Can you suggest nearby attractions?
Other galleries? Restaurants? Museums? Include links to those sites.
Always provide a way for people to get in touch and ask you questions, even if it’s a link to the Contact page on your site.
If it’s your show, the invitees are your guests. Be a friendly and accommodating host or hostess.
A photo of you with your art would be a nice touch.
Putting all of this together on one page will make it easier to promote and show off your work. It's well worth the effort for an important show.
This post was originally published on February 4, 2016. It has been updated and republished with original comments intact.
51 thoughts on “How to Promote an Art Exhibition on Your Website”
Very nice post, Alyson. Thank you!
Glad it’s helpful, Rebecca.
I have an “Events” page on my website. Are you suggesting that the “Exhibition” page be in addition? Or perhaps I not use the Events page and create a separate “Exhibition” page.
As an example, I will be showing with 9 other artists to open a new gallery this June (Lake City, CO). Is there a strategy you would recommend. Thanks!
I qualified it for “important shows.” I would just do it for a big solo show. Like Laurie says below, doesn’t have to be in the menu. It’s probably a link from your Events page.
Most importantly, there’s nothing else on it but THAT exhibition.
At last! Thank you for stressing the importance of adding the city to promotions! So often I’ve run across an event that sounds interesting but cannot find the city where the event takes place listed anywhere. It’s as if we are supposed to know where every venue is located. This is a very, very common problem that I see over and over on the Internet.
Ha! My favorite is when it says something like “the block over from Wal-Mart”!
I think that was a “trick” question about the next month on the calendar. Anyway, I very much enjoyed today’s blog post. I enjoy all your blog posts. Just like I enjoy your book. Thank you for being so generous with your time and talent and knowledge.
Question: If you have time, I wonder if you can give your thoughts on an artist website vs. a blog? I have a blog that is now being revamped for promoting my photography instead of just any old thing I might or might not want to post (which has never motivated me to post on a regular basis anyway). Thanks.
Marrianna: Next month?
I wrote this a long time ago, but I think it explains blog vs. website:
I believe Marrianna is referring to the I-am-a-human verification thingy in the reply form.
As one who sees hundreds of websites every week, your advice is spot-on and (in the email that led to this post), your comment of how important the artist’s statement and website are for the exhibition vetting process is one of those simple but critical gems that every artist needs to know.
I’m thinking the artist’s story is often the clincher.
Yes probably over thinking this. I don’t have an exhibition page on my site, so this is timely. I will be exhibiting in 6-9 (ish) group shows this year depending on if I am selected. So a page for each? Under a heading exhibitions? Not sure any one is more special than the other. Then leave the info up on my site for a year or so? A show resume if you will.
Alicia: NO! Only do this for a solo show (read: important). The other shows aren’t unimportant, but it’s not necessary that you give them a single page. Unless they are important and there’s a lot going on with them.
I realize I’m contradicting myself. But I think you know what I mean.
I have a solo exhibition coming up at Davis Gallery in Austin, Texas, The Market. There is an opening reception on March 5, 2016, with the show up until April 16. I have an event page on my website but always showcase a new exhibit on my home page, so actually the info is in two places. I also promote on Instagram, Facebook, and an email blast to my clients and art students. They all also receive a postcard from the gallery. Thank you Alyson for all the great tips. I refer you to my painting students all the time! Kindly, Jan Heaton.
Jan: As long as you can send people to a single page where all of the info is. Sounds like you’ve got it covered.
Really appreciate your referrals!
Well darn! My exhibition ends Saturday and I didn’t think about creating a special page on my website!
I created a pinterest page and sent people there. A website page would have been a great idea.
Jane: That works!
Wanna leave the URL here so people can see?
Alyson, you are spot on here. Artists always need to make it easy as pie for people to find the information they need. Creating a separate custom page on your site that you can refer from social media, print, or in an interview is a great way to serve your fans well.
The pages don’t even have to be added to navigation – they can be ‘hidden,’ and only accessible via the link. Or in the case of an important exhibition – why not let it take over the home page for a while. Home pages don’t need to be minimal or static.
When you think about how you can use custom pages, the sky is the limit – create a hidden page to share progress on a commission with one client. Or to show a curated selection of artwork to a potential buyer. But that’s a topic for a different article!
Great point about the navigation menu, Laurie. Thanks for reminding us that it doesn’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) in the menu.
VERY TIMELY!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A-M: Yay! You’re welcome.
What a great idea. I can’t tell you how many times I see information about an exhibit but I can’t figure out WHERE it is. I only hope I haven’t been guilty of this.
Donna: It really helps to have a checklist.
I realized not too long ago that we didn’t have an address or phone # on our Contact page for months. That doesn’t look very professional.
Perfect timing on this post. I have an exhibit (what do you call it when you are doing an exhibit in collaboration with one other person?) coming up in April 2016. I will certainly put together a special page on my website.
Thanks again for all of the information you so generously share.
Mary: I’m not trying to be flip, but it’s a 2-person show. Kinda too simple to believe.
Have fun with it!
Thank you Alyson! This post was so helpful. I actually followed the post closely and added an additional event page to my website. Laurie’s suggestion was well received too. I gave my next show prime real estate on the home page.
It felt so good to get it all down – and now all I have to do is send folks the link:
I will do this for big shows ongoing. Thank you so very much! Hugs from Chicago!
Good work, Antonia!
Would you suggest buying a url for the show vs. a page on your website? E.g. ww.daveatmetroart.com vs. http://www.williamswatercolors.com/metroart.
I wouldn’t worry too much about that, Dave. But you don’t need to include the www in the URL anymore – that just makes it longer.
Alyson, what a helpful post, as usual. I’m in the planning stages of a show exhibiting in October so that gives me plenty of time to implement these great ideas.
Would you have any thoughts regarding how to handle my online activity as I prepare for this show? My problem is that I don’t want to share all the paintings, all the info and stories behind each piece since it’s a long ways off however I won’t be working on much else until then. I’m unsure how to keep putting out good content when I don’t feel like I can share much of what I’m working on, yet for the next 6 months until the big reveal.
Rebecca: I’d definitely be blogging. Then you have all of that content when the time comes. Read the story of Margret Short’s Rembrandt project in my book.
Thank you SO much for your reply and direction. Looking it up right now.
Thanks for featuring one of my painting, Alyson 🙂 Timely post as I have my first show March 5 and intend to get busy on this reminder business this coming week.
Update – did this today for my upcoming show! Thanks for the guide, Alyson!
I’m part of an upcoming group exhibition based on an idea I had five years ago that only reached fruition when an artist friend/colleague said she knew of a great venue, which she successfully pitched. So “Wildlife Art: Field to Studio” will open at the Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut on March 24 (I live in northern California, but I’ll be there, along with all the artists but one). There are seven of us in the show, all wildlife artists who do fieldwork in various parts of the world as part of creating our art.
I saw this post by Alison about creating a web page for the exhibition, which I thought was a great idea and today I set that up. It’s easy to set up a slide show in WordPress, which they call a “gallery”. You can see it here:
I finished the last painting today and it’s the subject of this week’s blog post: http://foxstudio.biz/2016/02/19/new-painting-debut-want-to-play-siberian-ibex/
I’ve used the press release I sent out to some national art magazines and a freelance art writer I know (got him and two national magazines to bite) for the copy on both pages. I’d be interested in what Alison and some of you think of that choice.
Way to go, Susan! The site looks great!
Hi Alyson, thanks for being such a great resource. I am just starting to plan my first small solo exhibition for just over a month’s time and I needed this and your art exhibition checklist to help get me organised.
*Such* good information, Alyson! Thank you for all the detail.
So glad to hear I’m on the right track with my page for my September 2016 solo exhibition in Goolwa, South Australia:
You’ve given so many pertinent, rich ideas to make it even better! Maybe by the time you read this, I will have implemented them ?! 😀
If you’ve implemented in the past 16 hours, you’re amazing! 🙂
Happy you dropped in.
There is some awesome art around. It can be hard to sell art online, and it can be nothing but a disappointment if the right website is not chosen. Also, your art gets put among pornography on the internet which is unfair.
People must realise as well that there is little intellectual property protection so your images are likely to be copied from being online. Most annoying for an Artist to get ahead. A passion prevails. I have hope for the future though, and refuse to see this as a virtual impossiblity! Regards.
Thanks, Alyson! This one is perfectly timed for me – and I wouldn’t have thought of a webpage. But I see how valuable that could be!
Thank you, Alyson, for such excellent reminders and insights.
And thank you also for including my painting, ‘ Coppice #1’ in this edition of the ArtBizSuccess Newsletter.
I feel honored to be in the company of your wise words as well as the works of Kathryn Bowman, Jill Eberle, Amy Welborn.
I also thank artist and reader Barbara Stanley for letting me know about a technical issue on my website that had slipped under the radar. It means so much to know that like Ninja Warriors, we artists support one another and recognize that we grow together.
Here’s to the best of art days … to us all ‘-)
Donna: We are grateful to use your work here.
I have THE BEST community. Thank you, Barbara, for helping Donna out.
Fabulous idea, Alyson! I don’t know why this has never occurred to me!
Yay! Glad you can use it, Cherry.
How about… selecting the Blog option for this separate page?
-Didn’t you once say that adding text to other pages doesn’t increase SEO/visibility the way it does on Blog page?
-Despite my reading this a couple times, including the comments, I didn’t pick up if should we link from social directly to this unique page, which could also then link to the multi-events page, or the other way around?
-To clarify, in your reply to Mary Martin, above, are you suggesting that if you do have a collaborative show of two artists, that’s comparatively big deal for you, that it’s ok make a unique show page?
-And… so belatedly, thank you so much for featuring my piece”Headed to Olympia” https://www.heatherart.studio/oa1-products/headed-to-olympia in your blog “How to Have a Sale of Your Art” https://artbizsuccess.com/sale-of-your-art/ . I’m headed there to better share this very moment.
1. No I didn’t say that. What I might have said is that a well-done blog is helpful for SEO if it uses some good outbound and interior linking. But it takes awhile to build that up.
2. Yes, link directly from social to this page.
3. Yes. It’s always okay to make a unique show page. It’s just not something you have time for with every show. And then there are shows for which you should MAKE time to do this.
4. You’re welcome!
Your post is very helpful. But… I’ve stopped making solo exhibitions. People come to the exhibition, take photos of my paintings, order a print of them by the next photo shop, and I don’t sell any painting. Or they take a snapshot of the web site and they don’t even buy the prints I offer, which are of better quality, surely.
I live in Spain. I have consider exposing elsewhere but the costs are unassailable.
Cristina: This is such a shame. I don’t know how things work over there, but sounds like you need different shows with higher quality visitors.
Wonderful Post Alyson.
I wish I new all that earlier, but it is so good to learn better ways for the future.
Thank you, Thank you!
Such a timely post! I just did it, thanks to you…. I appreciate your blog and recommend it to my artist friends. Here’s a link to the page I created: https://rutharmitage.com/coos-art-museum-seasons-of-home/
Really nice job, Ruth! Good luck with the show!