Would you like to exhibit your art?

You have been painting for a while and you are beginning to think that you might like to exhibit your work. Where should you start and what are some of the things you should think about? Here are a few tips and suggestions to get you started. Start local -Join a local art organization. Many times they have members shows. They are sometimes juried, but sometimes they have members shows that all the members can participate in. It doesn't matter that the art organization is not a group of botanical artists. Look for a local watercolor group. Go to art exhibits to see what is being shown in your area. Are they showing abstracts while you are painting realism? Doing some research can help you decide where your work will best fit in. The more at you see the better you can prepare yourself for future events. Local shows provide the following advantages:

• You can hand deliver the work and pick up- no shipping fees

• You can attend the opening • Your friends and family can attend the opening and if they can't make it the day of the opening they can see the show at another time.

• You can invite acquaintances to the show who have shown interest in your work. • You will meet other artists who will support you and visa versa

• You are more likely to get local press because small time newspapers are always looking to showcase what is happening in area.

• Jury fees and membership fees are usually affordable as are the commissions.

There are many local venues that are not traditional gallery spaces but offer opportunities to exhibit your work. Here are a few ideas:

• Any office that has a waiting room needs art! Doctors Lawyers and Professional offices often have art on their walls. I find that the art is either awful or pretty good. Is there an office that you could spruce up? The office gets a face lift and you get exposure by having a discrete sign and promotional material nearby. You can rotate paintings as you sell work or having something new to show.

• Coffee shops, restaurants, and even beauty salons are great places for people to gather. After my first solo show I had so many pieces that didn't sell ( more about that later!) that I was storing them in my studio. It got so overcrowded that I needed to find storage. A friend of mine owned a beauty salon and asked me if she could have a few pieces to show. At first I didn't think it was a good idea, but I figured I needed to move them out of the studio and no one was seeing them except me. My friend loved my work and was a actually really good at talking about it, showing ti to people and ending upsetting a bunch of paintings right off the wall. I gave her a commission for each sale which gave her more incentive to keep selling.

• Your local library may be a fantastic place for you to display your work. Perhaps you have a small collection of smaller works that might go nicely in a display case or a series of paintings that could go into the children's section for story time.

In the beginning you should focus on exposing your art to people, not on selling you work. If you focus on how many pieces you sell, you will be disappointed and feel that all your hard work has gone unnoticed. If you sell a piece or even a few pieces, this is a bonus. What you are really after is making a name for yourself, getting exposure, creating a following and gaining experience. Do you have any experience with a local solo or group show? Are there any other venues that you have used and want to share? I would love to hear from you and I am sure the readers would also.