Starter Venues for Beginning Artists

Art doesn't go from studio to museum overnight. Nor is art by beginners usually ready for fine galleries. So what are your options when you're just starting out?

It can be daunting to take the first steps to selling your art. You want to grow, but you also know you need to just get your feet wet. Think about these starting points.

Your home
Hey, if you don’t hang it and live with it, why should anyone else? Host a few dinner parties to introduce the work to small groups of people.

Your family’s homes
Ditto above. But make sure they’re asking for it before you give it to them.

Your partner's office
If the office is outside the home, new people will see it.

Other offices
Your hairdresser, doctor, acupuncturist, attorney, accountant, minister and other VIPs in your life might like to have an art loan for a short time.

Restaurants and coffee shops are a natural first step. If you approach them seriously — and you work your mailing list — you can sell a lot of art in the right places.

Retail shops
Ask design shops to hang your art above sofas and beds. Check with book stores to see if they have a spot set aside for art. Scope out a clothing store that’s a perfect match.

Charity Auctions
Donating your art to a worthy cause makes you feel good. It is also a comfortable way to expose it to new people. Just know the tax rules re donating art.

Do you make wearable art?
Loan jewelry and other wearables to friends who admire it and who are headed to events where lots of people will see it and appreciate it. Give them a stack of your business cards to pass out.

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12 thoughts on “Starter Venues for Beginning Artists”

  1. Some interesting stuff here. I’ve shown in cafes, but I never thought of some of the others, like attorneys or clothing stores. Thanks!

  2. Any suggestions for how to encourage friends to share business cards, etc. with those who admire their jewelry?
    My friends seem to want to keep their source (me) a secret!

    1. Amy, perhaps something like a code on the biz card that gives them AND their friend a discount/free gift. So their friend brings in the biz card for their discount/free gift, and from the code on the card you know who gave it to them. Then you contact that friend to let them know they have earned their “tell-a-friend” discount.

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      Amy: I don’t mean for this to sound flip, but have you asked them?
      “I know you would love to keep me a secret, but I really need your help in order to get my jewelry business off the ground. Here’s how you could help me: ”
      I’d give them a line to share with people just in case they didn’t have your cards on them.

  3. Thank you for including a jewelry case, I struggle with ways to get my jewelry out there, since I can’t hang them on a wall like a painting and put it in many gallery locations meant for 2d wall art, like the restaurants. Does anyone else have any tips for where to start showing wearable art?

    1. Alyson Stanfield

      April: Have you had a trunk show/house party for all of your friends? Do you know of any store that could host a trunk show for you?

    2. I used to, unfortunately that buisness had a fire. I’m currently in art school, but will be graduating in a year, so I will try to find some stores to connect with by then.
      I’ve thought of having a house party, but I feel a little uncomfortable selling that way.( I think it comes from my experiences with Mary Kay house parties, I usually feel cornered as a customer to buy something) I know many jewelry companies exclusively sell through house parties, I guess it works for them, so I won’t rule out trying it in the future.

  4. you might consider an upscale hair salon. i’ve found this to be one of the best venues for my jewelry. women are sitting in a chair for at least 30 minutes, staring at my jewelry, have cash on hand, and are in the mood for doing something for themselves. new earrings to go with the new haircut = new you.

    1. Also look at clothing boutiques, especially high-end ones. If you create jewelry that works well with the clothing being sold there, you can help the owner of the boutique create great ensembles for their clients. I know people who are very willing to buy the clothing and jewelry together so they don’t have to think about what goes together later.
      Good luck

  5. Pingback: Surf’s Up, Condensed: Top Creativity Links for October 2, 2010 « Creative Liberty

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