Build Your Art Business Locally

The easiest place to sell your work might be near your home. Use these tips to meet local business people, contacts and collectors.


Artist Lisa Jaworski demonstrates at a local art fair


Meet local collectors

Your hometown can be a great place to sell. Participating in local art shows, fairs and exhibitions helps you present your work in a live setting. It’s a perfect opportunity to meet people in your community, and is often the point of first contact.

Making art sales usually takes time and multiple exposures. When you deliberately work to become known as a local artist, you can develop a reputation, become known and remembered. That sets you up to cultivate sales (and repeat sales) to locals who have come to know and appreciate you as an artist and the work that you create.

Have an open studio

Bring local shoppers right to your own studio door by participating in an open studio or artwalk event. This helps you build a collector base that you can get to know in person, which is a very powerful thing. Gather email addresses and mailing addresses to grow your list. Then stay in touch through email marketing and send invitations to these interested parties for future sales.

Join an art community

Art councils, artist salons and other groups can provide support, resources and assistance. And you can make some very good friends at this type of event as well. They will help you learn about local exhibition opportunities, fairs and festivals or a co-op gallery that will help sell your work. Other artists often act as sounding boards, and may give you feedback about their experience with local venues.

Attend a business networking group

These popular groups are where business people meet each other for the purpose of furthering their own businesses, as well as giving referrals to others. Do you want to meet local interior designers who are looking for artists like you? Or perhaps a realtor who may be able to bring you in on a home staging project with your art? This is a great way to come to know all types of people who have their own networks of contacts.

Some of them might know others are are a perfect match for your creative business. You should be willing to “pay it forward” and recommend resources and give referrals as well, which is the essence of networking.

Connect with local businesses

Banks, coffee shops, libraries and theaters are places where art can be displayed. Make a point to meet business owners and speak with them about showing your art, even if it is a new concept to them. When you get some interest, consider suggesting an informal “opening” and send out invitations. That will bring potential customers through their doors for both of you. See this example of an artist who turned local business connections into a money-making opportunity.

Get some local press

Writers and reporters always need material for stories, and artists are interesting people! Put together great photos of your work, and a compelling story for their readers. You can reach out to press members through email, or check these tips to get noticed.

Once you get exposure through a local or regional magazine or newspaper, stay in touch with the reporter. If they know you as an expert who has fascinating things to say, they will likely use you again as a source.


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