Real World Ways to Sell Your Art: Approaching Local Coffee Shops

While some artists may feel it is a bit ‘beneath’ them to have their artwork displayed and sold at Coffee Shops or Bars, ACB experts advise all artists to find opportunities offline! With so many websites where you can sell art, so many portfolio sites, it can be so hard to be found and frustrating to spend hours on SEO, keywords, and the like. Nothing beats good old fashioned going out into the world and talking to real people!

So, how does one approach and secure a space in one of your local businesses?

First, make a targeted list of relevant coffee shops, bars and restaurants which either currently have artwork selling/hanging there or which seem to fit with your genre of artwork. This may seem obvious, it probably is, but if you take the time to really look for the right locations, you won’t waste time later approaching people who are simply not interested. It also feels bad to get rejected, so spare your feelings too by doing your homework!

Next: you don’t just want to walk in off the street and start talking art to the person behind the counter—chances are they’re not the owner and they won’t know anything about getting your work on the walls. It’s best if you begin by putting together a solid portfolio. Make sure you have a short bio about you and your work and 3-5 examples of the work you have available for hanging.

If you can find an email address, send your work through, with a note telling the owner you really like his/her establishment and you think your work could be a good fit. Otherwise, call the shop and ask when would be a good time to come in and show the owner/manager your work.

Once your art work is up, don’t feel like your hard work is over! A lot of people won’t necessarily be seeking to buy art, or sadly even pay attention to it, so here is where you need to promote yourself. Go in and take photos of the work installed, and photos of people sitting around the artwork too; put them on your artist Facebook page and your personal one too. Encourage friends to spread the word, put a link to the establishment on your website, Tweet about it and, of course, include it in your newsletter!

Don’t be shy – if you see someone interested in your work, feel free to introduce yourself. After all, people do like a good story behind the piece they are admiring. Ask if you can leave business cards or flyers at the cafe too.

And, because we are super kind people, we have picked Tina We Salute You in Dalston as a starting point. They are always on the lookout for new artwork to display and are super trendy!

GOOD LUCK! Leave us comments if you have questions or tips to share!

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