Have you ever walked into a coffee shop or café to get your daily caffeine fix and seen the walls adorned with lovely artwork? Many artists make a decent income selling artwork through coffee shops, and you could too if you follow this simple plan:
1. Find the art-loving coffee shops in your area
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The first step is to compile of list of local shops that feature art on the walls. This fact-finding mission may include several lunch dates—but I’m sure you won’t object! Hunt down the shops that stock art on the walls, and try to prioritize shops that features styles/mediums and price ranges that match your work.
2. Prepare your pitch
You don’t just want to walk in off the street and start talking art to the person behind the counter—chances are they’re not the owner and they won’t know anything about getting your work on the walls. It’s best if you begin by putting together a solid package. Make sure you have a short bio about you and your work, a small portfolio of previous work, and 3-5 examples of the work you have available for hanging.
If you can find an email address, you could email your package through, with a note telling the owner you really like his/her establishment and you think your work could be a good fit. Otherwise, call the café/coffee shop, explain who you are and ask when would be a good time to come in and show the owner/manager your work.
3. Pick art that will appeal to your audience
If the manager of the coffee shop likes your work, you’ll be able to go in and hang it up for all the patrons to see. Most coffee shop owners will keep the artwork in rotation, so something new is always going up.
When choosing the pieces to go on the walls, think about the intended audience—what kinds of people frequent the café? Steer clear of subjects that may offend parents or turn off certain customers, since this will only cause trouble for the café and will mean you won’t get invited back.
Choose pieces that create a nice balance of size and colors, but don’t try TOO hard to “fit in.” A bold piece or an unusual size will draw attention to your work.
In addition, make sure when your work is hung that it includes a label with your name, the title of the piece, a price, and contact details, such as a website address and phone numbers.
4. Promote your art
Most people who go into coffee shops aren’t actually thinking about purchasing art, so displaying your pieces might be more about getting your name in front of more eyeballs than about actually selling pieces, but that doesn’t mean you should just hang your art and forget about it.
List the coffee shop on your website as an exhibitor. Invite your Facebook friends to go along and have a look. Frequent the coffee shop while your work is on display and talk to the patrons. Leave a stack of business cards or leaflets on the counter.
Like any other method of art promotion, successfully displaying and selling your artwork through coffee shops and cafes will take time and active effort on your part to make it successful. But for the right artist, it can be a great way to get your name recognized in your local community, and sell more work!