By Jena Connolly | 27 November, 2015
Trying to exhibit work outside of your studio or flat to get fresh eyes on it? Galleries can seem the natural next step. However with the sheer number of artists trying to get into galleries and the limitations of wall space within each venue, it can be extremely difficult for emerging artists to break onto the gallery scene.In the meantime you can build up to approaching galleries, grow your exhibition experience, and support yourself as a professional artist in other exhibition spaces we often forget.
The Local Cafe
Many independent cafes hang art on their walls to brighten their venue and reflect their decor and target audience. The majority are happy to have small labels next to works and promotional leaflets for the artist on their counters. Keep an eye out at any of the cafe’s local to your studio and ask to speak with the Manager about whether they might be interested in hanging your works. You never know who will see your work over their next coffee.
Weekend and seasonal markets occur regularly and are a great way to access a varied audience, gather feedback, and gauge which works are popular. If the stall fare is a little steep don’t be afraid to share a space with other artists.
Libraries and publicly owned venues
Public libraries like to support the people of the local area and often fill their walls with artwork or photography based on landmarks or historic events of the surrounding area. If your work focuses on the landscape or people in the area surrounding the local library it may be worth enquiring as to whether they would be interested in the work gracing their walls.
Although the majority of art fair stands are run by galleries, increasingly artists are choosing to independently rent stands for their work, and in some cases fairs can be entirely void of galleries and purely for artist self representation (such as The Other Art Fair). Fairs are a great way to discover which of your works appeal to a mass audience, gather a readership, and make a few sales. If the stand fare is a little steep don’t be afraid to share a space with other artists.
Many artists forget about the wall space within offices and commercial spaces. Offices are regularly needing furnishing and the majority of spaces end up relying on prints from IKEA where they would rather original work from a local artist.
Don’t let not getting into a gallery stop you developing your practice. Get exhibiting in different spaces and build your CV and readership before approaching more galleries in the type of spaces listed above. Remember in the arts there is more than one way to make it as a professional artist.
Banner Image Source: Stocksnap Free Stock Images, Image by: Markus Spiske
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