Selling Directly to Collectors at Open Studios with Jeff Schaller (ep. 195)

Thank heavens for people who organize events that encourage art buying and collecting in real life!

Jeff Schaller painting
©Jeff Schaller, I Demand Euphoria. Acrylic on board, 36 x 36 inches.

My guest for this episode of The Art Biz is one of those people. Artist Jeff Schaller started a county-wide open studio tour in Pennsylvania at the height of the recession out of need.

Somehow, while remaining committed to his studio practice, Jeff has created this other job for himself because he believes that artists can do well by connecting directly with people—potential fans, buyers, and collectors—who visit them in their studios.

The Chester County Studio Tour is still growing and supporting the participating artists.

In this conversation, Jeff and I talk about:

  • What it takes to organize and put on a successful studio tour.
  • Which artists do well in studio tours—because not everyone is cut out for it.
  • Why it’s important to do plenty of marketing yourself and not rely solely on the organizer of a studio tour. (I’ll add: You should never rely solely on the organizer of any event to promote it. You have more at stake.)
  • His marketing strategies, costs, and lots more.

There are, of course, ramifications around opening your studio to visitors, supporters, and strangers, but we’ll save that for another episode.


Scroll down to watch the video interview.


01:30 The birth of county studio tour

05:04 The concept of county collectors

07:16 Growth and structure of the studio tour

08:19 Funding and business model

15:46 Challenges and realities of organizing studio tours

19:01 Application process for artists

20:44 Engaging gallery owners and art directors

21:21 Secrets to successful studio tours

22:08 Marketing strategies for artists

22:45 The importance of social media presence

26:12 Navigating the studio tour process

30:53 Balancing art and business

34:09 Jeff Schaller’s artistic journey

37:12 Jeff imagines having other studio tours use the platform he has built

The County Studio Tour

Jeff Schaller Quotes

“I love sales. I love meeting people and just making that connection.”

“If your photo’s good and you do good artwork … Be professional, be friendly, and be enthusiastic about your artwork … They sell.”

“Basically, I’m trying to save [artists] from themselves.”

“I’m trying to try to save the art world one artist at a time.“

“You don’t need my problems on your wall, you have your own. So have fun stuff on your wall.”

“My advice is patience, organization, and learn Excel.”

About My Guest


Jeff Shaller comes from a humble upbringing in what some would call “the country.” After graduating somewhere in the middle of his high school class, he left the countryside to attended Beaver College. He graduated with a graphic design degree after the painting professor told him there was no hope in being a professional painter. Fast forward 30 years, married, three kids, he quit his corporate gig designing webpages and hasn’t looked back.

His paintings have been on the hit TV show Friends and on Oprah. His work can be seen in Chester County, Pennsylvania watering holes such as Iron Hill Brewery, and in galleries here and abroad.

Follow the County Studio Tour on Instagram at @countystudiotour

Follow Jeff on Instagram: @jeff_schaller

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2 thoughts on “Selling Directly to Collectors at Open Studios with Jeff Schaller (ep. 195)”

  1. Super helpful podcast today Alyson! This could not have come at a better time as I am in the beginning stages of organizing a studio tour in my community as well…ironically, it’s also in Pennsylvania! Thank you for delving into marketing and other aspects of getting a tour like this off the ground.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Lisa: I’m so sorry I missed this earlier. Very glad you found it helpful. I hope you get in touch with Jeff as it sounds like he’d really like to be a resource. Artists are lucky to have you!

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