There are all kinds of places where you could show your work.
Coffee shops would love to have your art!
Salons would fawn over it!
Professional offices would think they’d died and gone to heaven!
This is great news for you, especially when you are just starting out. It’s a stamp of approval when public spaces want to show your work.
Almost every artist does the “free” circuit. It’s where you get your toes wet.
These seemingly low-risk venues offer a place for you to learn how to install your art correctly, while introducing your art to new people.
You’ll test your conversational skills, your pricing, and your negotiating skills.
Because these non-art venues are considered “less serious” than galleries, many artists put very little effort into the opportunities. After all, they just want art on their walls, right?
You deliver the work, install it yourself, add labels, and then, when the time comes, deinstall it and take it home.
Or perhaps the date for deinstallation is left open. Six months fly by and your work is still there. The owners and patrons have gotten used to it. They quite enjoy having the nice backdrop. The owners don’t want to see it go, so they aren’t responsive to your attempts to communicate with them.
Your art show has turned into free décor for the space.
Let me be clear that I have nothing against showing work in these places. As I said above, I think they are training grounds for many artists. But how do you avoid the trap of merely decorating a space?
There three options for benefiting from showing your work in non-art spaces.
1. Ask for a trade.
They want your art so, if you could benefit from what they offer, why not to trade your art loan for their services?
2. Structure your agreement as a rental or rent-to-own.
Charge a small monthly rental fee that could lead to purchase of the renters don’t want to give up the work. Be sure to use a detailed written agreement that spells out all of the terms.
A quick Web search led to this art venue that leases art at 3-5% of the retail price, with the possibility that 75% of rental fees could be applied to a purchase.
3. Approach the opportunity as if it were full of possibilities.
This is my favorite option, and could work in conjunction with either of the above situations.
You should make the most of every venue. If you don’t do anything but install the work, you have only yourself to blame for poor results.