Art Business 101: Taking Responsibility


So far, we’ve talked about creating, funding, and promoting your art event. You’ve done all the work and installed the art. What should you expect? Speaking from experience, you should expect nothing. In my exhibits so far, attendance has ranged from 20 people to over 100. Sometimes, I sell work; sometimes, I don’t. In 27% of my exhibits, including my most high-profile showing to date, I sold nothing.

There are things about your show that will work, and things that won’t. You may have under-budgeted for the costs you have to bear. You may have chosen a bad day or time for an art show. You may have under-promoted or misdirected your efforts to a saturated market. You may have brought too much or too little art to meet the demand.

Take a deep breath. Keep in mind that you created the situation, the good, the bad, and the ugly. You also created the art, which was either suited to market preferences or not. Be gentle with yourself, but take responsibility for the end result. Instead of blaming others, resolve to improve the elements you can control. Learn from the things that worked and the things that didn’t. Try to be as objective as possible.

gallery-party-crowdDid people not come to your show? Did people not buy your art? Change some of the variables and try again. Don’t forget that there is always room for improvement, both in your event planning and in your art. Find a way to fill real market needs while maintaining your unique brand.