On With the Show: Alternate Art Show Venues by Paul Dorrell

Restaurant Art & Alternative Art Gallery Options

2015 Artist's & Graphic Designer's MarketJust because you haven’t landed a gallery yet, doesn’t mean you can’t show and find buyers for your art. You just have to consider some alternative art gallery possibilities. In his article “On With the Show,” gallery owner Paul Dorrell suggests some art venue options that you may not have considered before. Read an excerpt from the article below, or read the complete gallery article in the 2015 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market or on ArtistsMarketOnline.com.

Keep creating and good luck!


On With the Show: Alternate Art Show Venues by Paul Dorrell

If you’re not in a thriving gallery yet, how do you get your work before the public? Easy. In fact, here’s a list of possibilities.

Going Corporate

Every corporation has a group of art lovers within and potential clients throughout. There are thousands of corporations in this country and in most other nations, for that matter. This means that, no matter where you live, there are several corporations in relative proximity to you. Choose the ones you want to work with, and contact the person responsible for displaying art. Sometimes this is an executive assistant, sometimes an office manager. Of course most corporations have never done this. Great! This is your chance to introduce them to something new.

. . . .

Food for the Soul

alternative art show venue

Ask owners of well-lit, well-patronized restaurants about exhibiting your art.

Any restaurant that’s well-lit and well-patronized will do. Talk to the owner. Chances are, if he’s not exhibiting art, he’ll be thrilled to have your work there—assuming he responds to it. If he doesn’t, talk him into it anyway. You’re not selling to the owner, who may have no appreciation of art whatsoever, but to his customers. They’re the ones you want to reach. Try to choose a restaurant with a steady flow of patrons because that will make sales more likely.

. . . .

Take It to City Hall

Many city halls and administrative buildings are open to exhibiting art. You may not get many sales, but at least a hall or building is a venue and a line on your résumé. If you’re a painter but aren’t allowed to hang work on the walls, use easels. If you can’t afford to buy easels, build some. Lumber is cheap and, anyway, your easel designs will likely be more interesting than those of the store-bought variety.

A Menu of Venues

Churches, university galleries, upscale bookstores, upscale hair salons, hotels, architecture firms, interior design firms, law firms, convention centers, airports, private clubs or some socialite’s home—these are all possible locations for a showing. You don’t know any rich socialites? Tap someone who does. This may lead to introductions, which may lead to interest, which may lead to sales.

Try a Co-Op

You could always try to start a cooperative gallery if you like. These galleries are essential to the art world and for over a century have contributed to America’s understanding of, and coming to terms with, art. These galleries are fascinating, can be a great deal of fun—and almost always lose money.

. . . .

Whether it succeeds or fails, opening a cooperative gallery can teach you valuable lessons about the art world in general, the art business in particular and the challenges of both. If the cooperative doesn’t fold, everyone gets along swimmingly, and you even turn a profit, please tell me how you did this. It’s rare.

Paul Dorrell founded Leopold Gallery in 1991. His clients include Warner Bros., H&R Block, the Mayo Clinic, and thousands of private collectors. He has written for numerous art magazines and spoken at venues such as the Rhode Island School of Design and the Art Students League of New York. To learn more about Dorrell and his work, go to www.leopoldgallery.com.

This article has been excerpted from  the April 2013 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Used with the kind permission of The Artist’s Magazine, a publication of F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. Visit www.theartistsmagazine.com to subscribe. To learn more about Dorrell’s book Living the Artist’s Life (Updated & Revised): A Guide to Growing, Persevering and Succeeding in the Art World, go to www.livingtheartistslife.com. Purchase it there or at our improved online store, www.northlightshop.com.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *