Getting art exhibitions often requires a combination of being prepared, effectively communicating talent and persevering in locating opportunities. Originality is another important factor since galleries typically want fresh, exciting works by emerging artists. Since galleries only have a limited amount of display space and usually only make a profit when pieces sell, they also tend to pick artistic exhibits that contain pieces patrons are likely to purchase. Working their way up from displays at corporations and fairs to smaller, then larger galleries can often help artists achieve their ultimate goal of getting art exhibitions in the exact venues they want.
To get started, artists should plan ahead by preparing a collection for a summer outdoor art fair at a local park; they should also be prepared to actually work on their art there, as this can attract attention. The fees that parks charge artists tend to be quite small in comparison to many gallery fees. A proper covering to protect artwork in case of rain will be necessary, but if the crowds are fair and include target buyers, the extra preparation may be worthwhile. If possible, artists should have brochures and business cards to hand out to interested browsers. An artist may even be fortunate enough to have a reporter with a local newspaper do a story on him or her, which may bring recognition and possible gallery offers.
Artists can consider getting art exhibitions at corporations either by selling or renting their work. Approaching the human resources department is usually best, but artists should make sure their work fits in with a particular corporation's branding colors and image. If artists are not having luck getting art exhibitions in corporations, they could try tasteful restaurants. Actually getting work displayed somewhere is better than it sitting unsold in a studio.
When artists are ready to ask gallery owners about exhibiting their work, they should be sure to target the ones that fit their style and what they have to offer potential buyers. While it can be possible to set up an appointment with a gallery owner over the phone or email, getting art exhibitions at smaller galleries may be more effective if the artists walk in looking professional and carrying a tasteful portfolio of their collection. Being at the right place at the right time can pay off, and an owner who can see an artist face to face as well as view his or her work in a portfolio book or on a laptop is likely to give more consideration than he or she would by email or a phone call.
Of course, if a gallery's website or door sign specifically states no contact without a phone call or email, then an artist showing up announced with work in hand is not a good idea. Once artists have been successful at getting art exhibitions at smaller galleries, they can often move on to bigger venues. They should keep in touch with all of the gallery owners they've worked with so they will have them as references when looking for larger exhibition sites for their original collections.