top of page

7 Steps to Getting Your Artwork in a Gallery in the next 6 months

Updated: Jan 12

With the use of the internet, artists truly no longer need art galleries to make money or become renowned for their work. Between social media, and the amazing websites we have for ecommerce, art galleries have lost a bit of their coveted luster. If selling your art online is your sole focus, you'll definitely want to check out my article: 7 Practical Ways to Start Making Money as an Artist

However, if you, like me, still enjoy the idea of having your art on display in a REAL art gallery, then look no further. Here are some practical ways to get those paintings of yours featured in an art gallery in 2024!

1.) Be realistic, but dream big. You have to want this, because it ain't as easy as it sounds. It's not extremely difficult to accomplish this goal, but you have to be prepared for a little bit of work, patience, and maybe some rejection. It's just like auditioning. You usually can't just show up and get cast in a hit television series at the drop of a hat. Start small and local, and work your way up. Also remember that not all art galleries will be the right for you.

2.) Be prepared. Did anyone else start singing "Be Prepared" from Disney's Lion King in their head? ...No? Just me? ...Anyways... Here are some ways to prep before diving in:

  • Do you have a nice collection put together? This is your chance to highlight your best work, but make sure it's cohesive. Having an oil painting of a city scape, then a black and white sketch of a dog, then an abstract modern acrylic painting is not the best place to start in presenting your artwork. If you have 5 really nice acrylic landscapes, put that together in a lovely collective portfolio. Speaking of portfolios, regardless of what medium you are in, you'll usually need to have a practical way to showcase and present your work other than your website and social media. Portfolios are simply over-sized binders with clear sleeves. Professional looking sleeves should preferably be large, with a black cardstock insert. This will give your work a clean and neat presentation while allowing your work to "pop". If you have sculptures or large paintings, putting large high quality photos of your work with beautiful lighting in your portfolio is ideal. I recommend this easy-to-carry 24"x36" portfolio by Itoya.

  • Do you have a website? This is the epitome of professionalism for serious artists.

  • Do you have a nice social media account? This adds weight to getting accepted into artistic industries these days. If you have a large social media following, even better! If the gallery is business savvy, they know when you announce that your artwork is featured in their gallery to your followers, that will draw people in! People = $$$. That's a win for you, and a win for the art gallery.

3.) Start local. If you live in a small town that does not have many options for art galleries, start looking into the next biggest city within reasonable driving distance. When I say big, I don't mean a HUGE city where the competition will drown you. Look for art galleries in a decent city with a healthy economy and population before trying to submit your work to a gallery in, let's say, NYC.

4.) Find the right art gallery for yourself and your niche. You'll notice most art galleries have a certain feel and theme to them. Down where I live in Florida, a large portion of art galleries feature local beach themed art. Within this niche are upscale art galleries that feature realistic oil paintings of a beach sunset, and other art galleries feature funny paintings of flamingos sipping margaritas. See what I'm getting at? You'll probably need to gravitate towards the art galleries that feature artwork that's similar to yours.

5.) Network. Network. Network. If a gallery you admire is having an open house, GO! Try to meet the manager or gallery owner. Get their business card, and tell them how much you enjoy visiting their gallery. If your town has a local art guild or art class, JOIN! Submerse yourself in this field. It sounds cliché, but it's true- it's not WHAT you know it's WHO you know. Getting plugged in and connected is invaluable. Statistics say that 70% of people get jobs because of someone they know. That applies here too. The more you create opportunities for yourself, the faster you will succeed in getting your foot in the door of a gallery.

6.) Pivot and perfect your niche. Now, this may be an unpopular opinion, but if you really want to have a good chance at selling your art in a gallery, you may have to pivot a little. I love drawing realistic portraits of people who inspire me, such as Audrey Hepburn, and Billie Holiday. However, that's not as much of a demand for that kind of art where I live - from galleries or from costumers. You have to put yourself in the customer's shoes. What kind of art are people in your area looking for? What would they like to see on display in their home or office? In the past, I've had to pivot my art by drawing seashells, local flowers/plants, and landscapes. Doing so created exactly what my local gallery was looking for, and my art was SELLING. Also make note of what's on trend. What type of picture frames are popular in home decor magazines? What kind of colors?

If you sell, and keep selling, the gallery will love you, and you'll have a much greater chance of them continuing to feature you.

7.) Do your homework. Once you have found some art galleries that match a similar tone of your artwork, get familiar with them. Look at their website as well as their social media. Sign up for their newsletters if possible. Sometimes the information of whether or not they are accepting new artists is on their website or Facebook page. Not sure? Give them a call and ask when they are accepting applications for new artists. If you've been networking, you'll probably have this information literally fall into your lap at some point. I do not recommend cold selling your art by showing up at a gallery doorstep with your portfolio. This just isn't how the industry works. If you are applying to submit your artwork to a gallery, make sure to take great care in following their specific instructions. This is not the time to get lackadaisical. Upon getting accepted, make sure you get to know the gallery's terms and conditions (try to find this out before applying if possible). Read the contract thoroughly. Some good questions to consider before committing:

  • If you sell an art piece, are you required to replace that art piece with a new one of similar style and size?

  • How much of a percentage is the gallery taking? What will your percentage be?

  • Will there be any type of conflict of interest if you sell your other artwork elsewhere?

  • Are you required to have your artwork in that gallery for a specific amount of time?

Get advice from a legal professional if you have to. You could save yourself some headaches in the long run by reading and understanding all the fine print.

So there you have it! Regardless of today's technology, having your artwork in an actual gallery still has it's perks! This is an excellent way to get exposure locally, which may lead to people following you on your social media, which may lead to more sales of your work! Also, don't limit yourself to your typical downtown art gallery. Keep your eye out for art contests with your city's schools, clubs, and societies as well! (Extra tip: Sometimes chic little coffee shops like having local art on their wall too!)

Best of luck to you in your art journey!

Cheers! xoxo

DISCLOSURE: I do use affiliate links on here, meaning if you purchase anything through my affiliate links I receive a commission at no additional cost to you. My opinions and views are never swayed because of this. I only recommend products that I love!



bottom of page