Running your own gallery is an excellent way to showcase, promote and expose your artistic talent. With that being said, there are many ways to get your work into a gallery!
Most art galleries have two main components: exhibiting artists and event organizers who host exhibitions. As an artist, you can start by trying to be selected as an exhibiting artist at a local exhibition or events near you, then from there it’s just about learning how to market yourself and your artwork effectively.
This article will go over some different types of galleries, what kind of artwork is appropriate for each, and some easy ways to get your work seen.
Make a list of art galleries you like
Now, this is not telling anyone else what to do, but it’s important to know who your favorite artists are so that you can create something inspired by one of their works.
If you love superheroes, then making a drawing or painting of a superhero may be perfect for you! If you enjoy nature scenes, creating a landscape could be ideal.
By knowing some of the people who inspire you, you’ll have some ideas of where to start. You can even search online to see if there are any pictures or videos of them doing something similar so that you can make yours more like theirs.
Artists work with different materials and styles, which helps give them inspiration as well.
Call or email the galleries to see if they are taking submissions
Most art museums and institutions have a call or email process for artists to submit work. They typically take place during non-peak times so it is more likely you will get a response from them!
Some ways to pick up new information includes looking through their website, talking with colleagues, searching online for articles about the museum or artist, and reading reviews of the gallery.
By being aware of what exhibitions and shows they have going on, as well as who the involved curators are, you can use that to gain some insight into whether these are appropriate settings for your work.
Prepare your work properly
Before hanging your artwork up for the public, you must make sure that it is ready! This includes taking time to clean your piece, test out potential display spaces, and determine what kind of frame or mat you want to put it in.
You do not need special equipment to hang art at a gallery, but there are some things you will want to have. A ruler, yardstick, tape measure, and notebook and pen/crayon or pencil would all be helpful tools to pack when heading off to look for an exhibition space or wall area.
When looking into possible locations to house your work, remember that most places accept no more than three pieces per person. If you find one room or area which looks perfect, ask if they’d consider being just that – perfect! They might agree to let you place your work there for free as long as you take pictures and spread about the show.
If this doesn’t happen, don’t worry! There are many ways to get exposure for your work through different routes so that you can still showcase it and earn money from it.
Find your best outfit
When it comes to choosing what clothes to wear for an exhibition, there are two main things you should consider. First, what kind of art you want to show off to the public.
You will need to think about whether this is more like showing off a still life or a landscape painting, or if it’s closer to depicting human figures.
Second, how much energy you intend to use when interacting with people. If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to contain yourself, then better to go casual than dress up too extravagantly that won’t fit your mood.
Choose something simple and neutral so that your attention can remain mostly on displaying the artwork rather than looking good. (We have tips here for designing your own look.)
Make sure your hair and makeup match and look professional. There may be people watching you as you display your work, which sets a positive tone for your artistic self-expression.
Research the exhibition space
The next step is to do some research into what kind of art galleries exist and where they are located. There are many ways to find out about professional artist spaces. You can visit your local university, look up online listing sites such as Google or Yelp, search for “artist groups” at community centers and museums, read reviews online and talk to people around you who may know of an event being hosted by an artist group.
If there isn’t one yet, start creating something artistic! Most major cities have free arts events that artists organize to get exposure – check these out.
By exposing yourself to different styles and media, you will learn more about how to use those tools in your own work. Take notes, chat with other attendees, and see what you can take from it. Some things might not be usable, but you never know — you could inspire someone else.
Tell your friends about the exhibition
Before you even approach an art gallery with the intention of exhibiting your work, you must first tell your loved ones that you want to do this!
By telling your family and close friends that you’re planning to exhibit at an event or in a show, they can help you promote the exhibition by talking about it and sharing the advertisement with others.
Their praise will also boost your confidence as an artist!
Publicising your upcoming exhibition is a good way to gain some attention for your work and get feedback from people who may be able to offer tips or suggestions. You could even use social media to advertise your exhibition (though make sure you’ve done all the necessary business formalities first).
Give the gallery your best business card
While many people spend their time talking about artistic expression, having it is another thing entirely. Some of the most powerful images we have ever seen were not made by professional artists, they were crafted by someone with little or no art training.
Getting into an exhibition is more than just showing your work and waiting for people to invite you along. Being prepared for your visit means making sure your materials are very well organized and displayed, and that you greet visitors with a friendly face and voice.
If you’re never quite sure what to do next after you show your work, there are several types of events held during an exhibition where attendees can share tips and tricks or even get some help putting together new pieces.
There will be informal conversations, as well as question-and-answer sessions which may focus on how to improve your painting, drawing, or sculpting skills, or on how to market yourself as an artist.
Arrive early to get a good seat
The first thing you need to do when attending an art exhibition is arrive early! This will give you time to take notes, look up information about the artists, and prepare yourself for what you will see.
Artists usually set up their own displays and materials before the show starts so there’s nothing you can easily grab off of shelves or stalls. It’s best to familiarise yourself with how they work and find something similar so that you can cater for it while staying within the rules.
If possible, try to visit the artist’s studio – some are even run as charities which is great to learn more about creativity. You could also check out other exhibitions at the same venue and get some ideas from them.