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How To - Artwork in a Coffee Shop

Kakao, a chocolate and coffee shop in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, hosted my work in Jan. 2019

Lena Garcia’s Experience showing artwork in a Coffee Shop -

Overall: Scary/Stretching/Great experience.

How do you get ready, make the connection and actually hang your art work up in a public place? It was a great experience and I thought I would share what I learned.

1 - Create and photograph artwork

I didn’t have all the pieces finished when I talked with the coffee shop,Kakao, but I had many paintings finished and photographed so they would know my style of artwork. I also have a website where they could view the artwork.

2- Talk with owners of Coffee Shop

I set up a time to chat and express interest in hanging artwork. My main question was to see if my style art would fit in their venue. This was nerve wracking… I was scared that they might not like it... or that they wouldn't think my work was quality enough... BUT I also wanted my work to fit at their venue. So that is where I tried to stay focused. if the answer was "no" it wasn't a comment on my art, but that this wasn't the right place to display it.

3- Yes! It would fit!

At Kakao, they did think this would be an addition to their venue and would fit their style. So then we had some business to talk about:

Talked Dates - install/take down - opening party??

Talked expectations - some shops will take a commission, some will receive payment for purchased work, some will host a party for you, some want to sign a contract (how long, no liability, who can touch art...) all are good things to discuss.

Talked about an Opening Party - who provide what

(other things I would have asked - who exactly is my point person? what supplies for hanging will be provided? What can I use to attach my titles to wall?)

4- Finish art/Gather supplies

Finish painting! (I know... obvious, but now that there was a deadline I needed to really focus on how to finish the pieces I wanted to show)

Create a title and set a price for each painting

Lacquer my artwork

I decided to frame all my artwork. Jerry’s Artorama sold frames for decent price that I attached to artwork.

Bought business cards with website address that I could also use as title/price cards.

Artist Statement - to post with my artwork

Gather the tools and buy any supplies I needed, like spiderwire (a type of fishing line) to hang work

Activity for kids at opening party - craft/coloring (I was inviting a lot of friends who have kids, so wanted there to be something for the kids to do)

5- Invite Friends

Evite and social Media - Sent an evite to most everyone I know - figured even if they didn’t come, they would want to know that it happened :) Tried to send out a month in advance and then a reminder a week out.

6- Install

Transporting paintings - be sure they are safe. I used the boxes that the frames came in to put my finished paintings in. Worked like a charm.

Coffee shop provided one person to help, my husband and I also helped. I brought scissors/staple gun/hammer/fishing wire - anything I could think of that might help hang the pictures. The coffee shop provided Spiderwire (fishing line) to hang the work.

7- Opening Party -SUPER encouraging! I think I will always ask for a party - either opening or closing. It was so fun to talk with people and get feedback.

8- Leaving the art

Also leave business cards with a stand that can be near the cash register.

Promote on social media - I’m not very good at this... but trying to get better :)

9- Take Down artwork

Discuss who might be able to help take down art

I was able to do most by myself, but it was nice to have someone hold while I clipped the strings.

10- Time to reflect - what worked, what didn’t, what sold/what had the most “buzz”. Anything I can do different/better??

What about you? Have you had a different experience hanging your art in a public place?

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Dec 16, 2019

Thanks for a glimpse inside the mind of an artist displaying her work! Interesting :)

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