Don’t Forget Your Coffee Shops

When you’re starting out your career as a fine artist, it’s easy to tell yourself there’s no way you can display your art in a gallery.  Whether it’s because you think it’s not good enough or you don’t have the patience to wait a year (which is the average time between commitment by a gallery and the actual show), in the end your work just keeps piling up, unseen, in your studio.  But there are dozens of other venues that you can use and all it takes a little footwork and some persuasive talking.

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Coffee shops see so many visitors every day, which makes them the perfect place to display your work.  Many coffee shops make it their goal to display local artwork on month-long rotations.  All you have to do is bring in a portfolio of your work to show the managing barista.  Another great thing about coffee shops is that people come there for a variety of reasons: to pick up their morning cup of energy, to meet with friends, or to study for big tests.  This means that people are constantly coming in and out and staying for long periods of time, which gives them a lot of time to admire your work.  One word to the wise: stay away from the national chains.  Many times they are already given the work they’re supposed to display.  Instead choose local chains, which thrive on repeat customers.

coffee shop art

coffee shop art

With the sustainable and local food culture coming back to the bigger cities, small-business restaurants are always eager to fill their walls with local artwork.  Pop into those vegetarian restaurants, mom and pop diners, or upscale eateries and show off your portfolio.  And don’t worry, they generally don’t require your work to be food related.  By showing your work at a restaurant, your opening can be a big event for the town.  Free wine or a cheese platter is a great way to mark the start of your show.  Plus, you can invite all of your friends and family to come out for dinner that night, which the restaurant owners will love.

art opening

If you want to sell more than your work, bookmarks or note cards are great things to leave at the counters.  Many baristas are more than happy to sell your stuff for you.  And how many times have you gone to the coffee shop and forgotten your bookmark?  Okay, maybe not that often but so many people who go to coffee shops love to read so you’ll be hitting the right market.

Funky Large Paper Clips or Bookmarks...Set of Three

So as the snow melts away, get your walking shoes on and travel your town.  Find those little establishments that are always a local favorite and see if you can get your work out of your studio and into the public!