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Making Art Work: A Venue For You (Part One)

“Making Art Work” Series:

A venue for you: Artists and the Public Space – Part One


“Welcome to the “Making Art Work” Series! Through this accumulating and growing collection of resource articles, we hope to give insight and suggestions to artists in their journey to becoming their most successful creative selves! These articles also serve as key content for our Grumbacher Art Program.”

As an independent artist and art instructor, finding ways to interact with the public and getting your name out there can be a challenge. Even in the digital age of the internet, developing real life interactions with your surroundings can be just as beneficial as getting a few hundred likes on a social media post. Connections require a human experience, and there is no better way to get a grass roots following than interacting with the people you live near, a task that is certainly easier said than done!


Where does one begin? This article aims to answer those questions and more by laying out the groundwork that many artists have used to establish themselves in their respective communities.


  A pitch in a pinch: Writing a pitch or general overview of your idea is a great start! A pitch should help you clarify what you want to do, what it would take to make it happen, and how it would benefit a venue AND yourself. It can be as simple as “I would like to show my work at your venue for the month of January, with a night to teach people what I do. I would charge this much and I can give the venue this much from what I make.”


Assess your resources: The next time you are on your way to work or running errands, give yourself a goal of finding places you haven’t been to before. Or better yet, take note of the places you find yourself frequenting and supporting in your normal routine. Build a list and begin figuring out which places could be a potential venue for you to host an art class or gallery event. You might surprise yourself with how many places you go to where you know the owner, or have friends that help manage or work in a space you might be able to utilize! Once you have a hearty list at the ready, all you have to do is ask!


 It never hurts to ask: Find [ ] and speak with the manager/owner of the venue you wish to hold classes at. The conversation doesn’t have to be a power point presentation, but you should present what you want to do at their venue. 


  Meet in the middle: Know that most establishments will be interested in your proposal based on what it can offer their business. Will you be able to bring in foot traffic? Will you be opening the space up to new potential customers? Will this be fun for an already existing customer base? These are questions that will be considered in the process, especially if you are approaching a venue or space that you are not already familiar with.


Set the expectations: Be sure all details of your idea are presented, arranged and agreed upon. The time of the event, the date, the cost, the split of proceeds (if applicable) and the amount of work before and after the event are all aspects that should be addressed and understood before going forward.


When in doubt, get it in writing: It may seem intimidating, but arranging a very straightforward contract that both parties can read and sign off on is a very professional method of establishing expectations, as well as safeguarding everyone involved. It doesn’t have to be a novel, just a written overview of what you have discussed. Both parties should sign a copy for their records. This is to protect both parties involved, and is a smart decision for everyone.


This is a great beginning guide to get you started, but have no fear! Check back for part two of this article series, which will delve further into more specific examples of places to reach out to, business practices and more regarding holding classes at a venue!  Be sure to check back for more tips, tricks and artistic topics at!