Do’s and Don’ts of a Saavy Gallery Visitor

We love all of our gallery visitors–seasoned art regulars and newbies alike.  With this post, we wanted to share a few tips on visiting receptions that will make everyone look like an art world pro:

DO–Take your time to go around and look at the artwork.  Many shows are up for only a short amount of time before the work is sold or goes back to the artist, so enjoy your time with it to the fullest. But,

DON’T–stop in a way that totally blocks the flow, especially if you are taking a moment to talk to someone (totally OK–openings are social events!) instead of focusing on the artwork in front of you.  Make sure other visitors can see the artwork, too.  Also,

DON’T–stand by the food table the entire time.  Usually these goodies are provided by the artists and are meant to last for a multi-hour, many-guest reception.  Definitely help yourself to a nibble and a glass of wine, but don’t burn through the artist’s entire supply!

DO–Seek the artist out to ask him or her a question or provide a comment.  Artists work hard to get to that opening reception, many spend a year (or more!) preparing for a show, so they definitely want to hear your feedback!  However,

DON’T–Monopolize the artist.  A good rule of thumb is 2-5 minutes–do you see all those other people standing around you?  They want to say hello to the artist, too! Also,

DON’T–Start showing your own artwork or photos on a phone, camera, or in a portfolio.  This is the exhibiting artist’s time to shine, don’t try and steal their show!

DO–Buy something!  Selling artwork is how artists make a living.  If you see something you like, inquire about it.  If it’s out of your price range, no one will bully you into a sale, but you might be able to negotiate a layaway plan or buy the piece unframed (for less $$) or be shown a less expensive piece that you like as well.


4 responses to “Do’s and Don’ts of a Saavy Gallery Visitor

  1. Anne Nicholson

    Ugh.. Let people go to art shows and do what they do… We’re gonna have art lovers, food table surfers and everyone in between. Do you really want to dissuade anyone from coming to see your show? Do you want to tell them they’re moving too slowly?
    I think not.
    Each art show is different.
    Deal with it…

    • Hi Anne, we definitely want everyone coming to our shows! While what you say is true–there will always be all types of people coming through our gallery and others. I, however, would hate to be the person inadvertently committing a faux pas and thought that some of our readers might feel the same way, too! This post is for them.

  2. I think this is a helpful post. There are some people out there that maybe don’t go to shows because they don’t know how to act, or what is acceptable.