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Exhibiting your work

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At one point or another, all artistic endeavors involve reaching out to others: professionals, art lovers and especially, the general public. The means: exhibiting!


  • Your hobbies include watercolours, oil painting or calligraphy, and you would like to get some objective opinions, maybe even sell some of your creations.

  • You are a professional, or about to become one. You need to make a name for yourself, get people talking...and of course, market your work.

Where to exhibit?

  • Virtual art galleries on the Internet: These are growing at lightning speed. Use them to exhibit your pictures and productions and sell original models (via a secure payment). Have your work appear for extended periods of time, opt for homepage exposure...even create your own personal website: everything is possible, for a fee. These sites will request a subscription fee (€30-50 per year, on average) and charge you for the right to exhibit your work (€1-5 per work proposed), or else will take a modest percentage of your sales (10-15%).

The advantage

This is an excellent way to exhibit at a low cost and reach a large audience. Some online art galleries also act as real exhibition spaces.

  • Galleries: These exhibit your work for free and cover all of the costs inherent to the organisation and promotion of the event (invitations, catalogue, scenography, private viewing, etc.) On the other hand, they receive approximately 50% of your sales. At the end of the exhibition, some galleries will agree to conserve your work on consignment for one year.


  • Municipal, community or private museums: These host a number of temporary exhibitions. While the sale of your items is not possible in such venues, you can agree to meet potential clients elsewhere to complete your transactions.


  • Intermediate locations: This trend, consisting of presenting one's work to a public which is on hand for another reason, is all the rage! Castles, abbeys, tourist offices, corporate headquarters and even restaurants welcome the work of artists. Some establishments will request a percentage of your sales, but others will let you exhibit for free. Tourist offices, for example, are happy to exhibit the work of artists which is flattering to the local heritage.


  • Trade shows and fairs: By renting a space and paying a right to exhibit (or a percentage of sales), the artist is sure to benefit from the promotion of organisers. The latter reserve the right to choose from the pool of artists as they please.


  • Open houses: Many communities and associations organise events to showcase arts and crafts. These exhibitions either take place on the street (the artist rents a space for a few euros per meter), or in the gardens of local residents who volunteer to host the event.


And that's not all...contemporary art centres (whose goal is to promote artistic trends), alternative venues (combining exhibitions with "happenings" produced by plastic artists, dancers, etc.), private exhibitions, a special evening in a friend's or an art lover's flat, etc.

How do you get started?

  • Step 1: Find a location. Pinpoint the spaces available in your city and go online to check events calendars or directories which consolidate information on exhibition venues.

  • Step 2: Make sure the venue is in line with your style. Many galleries prefer the genre which helped to build their reputation...and which will please their regular visitors.

  • Step 3: Prepare your portfolio. Once you've chosen a venue, call the venue or check out its website to find out which documents you'll need to provide (CV, pictures of your work, press clippings, etc.). You can make the rounds of restaurants and pubs with your portfolio in hand.

Tip: Be visible…on the Internet

A website or blog will serve as a business card when looking for a venue, and will allow you to display your work, communicate with visitors, gather reviews and even stimulate debate. It's your very first personal exhibition!