Tips & Tools: Exhibiting & Gallery Tips


Communicate promptly, clearly and professionally. Acknowledge receipts of emails.

Appear in person at all your openings, on time – if humanly possible. Bring a bottle of wine or a dish, it shows you care.

Always get a signed contract when you deliver art for shows.

Drop off and pick up your works on the agreed upon times. Communicate if you have to be late.

Help promote the show, send emails, give out cards or flyers, invite friends.

Support the galleries who show your work – buy something, anything – even if it is just a card. When you buy a gift for someone, shop there first.

Do go over the gallery’s commission up front. This is how a gallery pays it’s rent, enabling them to show your work. Commissions are standard, so figure that in when pricing your work.

Do follow through with any commitments of art you have made, whether creating new pieces for a show or delivering specific agreed-upon pieces.


Don’t ship or deliver your work in bad shape. Pack it properly if shipping – (there are a ton of how-tos on the web). Make sure frames are solid, un-chipped,  glass is clean, canvas edges are painted and the hanging hardware is attached properly and securely.

Don’t whine or complain about your art’s placement in the show. Many things are involved when hanging a show that you may not be aware of – wall structure, lighting, grouping, etc.

Bad mouth or gossip about other artists, curators or galleries – word will get around.

Don’t quibble with a small gallery when they ask for a small fee to help pay for promotion or reception supplies (after they have accepted your work to the show). Many galleries are struggling to pay huge retail rents, insurance and employees. Without any galleries you wouldn’t be able to show your work!

Don’t commit works to an exhibit and then cancel at the last minute, or try to pick up work to stick in another show before the prior one is over. It is unprofessional and in bad form.

Don’t continue to work with a gallery if you are not happy with them.  Talk to other artists who have shown at the gallery (privately) and get people’s true feedback. If you are concerned about a gallery, this site – Gallery Ratings – is a great source of feedback, a kind of report card for artists on galleries. Just a few to stay away from: Any affiliation of White Walls or Shooting Gallery (San Francisco), curator Justin Giarla; Pink Zeppelin Gallery (Berlin), Auguste Clown Gallery (Australia).

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