Whether a seasoned pro or new on the scene, having your work printed and on display is always exciting. And while not everyone will have gallery exhibits in their careers, opportunities to show your work locally still abound. 

Places like cafes, restaurants and waiting rooms of businesses like doctors offices or dental units often decorate their walls by showing local art. Securing a spot on the walls can often be accomplished by a simple email or visit to the establishment and inquiring about their artist selection process. 

While having a show up can have its benefits, there are also some other issues to consider. Below are a few pros and cons of coffee shop shows. 

Pro: Visibility

Regardless of whether or not you make any sales, having a public exhibit will expose your work and name to new audiences.

Someone going in for a coffee may not be looking to spend a few hundred bucks on an impulse. But, if they like your work, they may remember you in the future when looking to decorate or buy a gift.

Make sure to include a small biography and photo of yourself somewhere within the show so that people can find out more about you. This can hopefully help lead interested parties to your website and social media channels. 

Photo by Melissa Mullin on Unsplash

Con: Financial risk

Regardless of the medium you print on, you’re going to have to incur some upfront costs before your show. Common methods of display for exhibits are canvas, framed prints and metal prints — all of which are going to put a dent in your wallet with no promise of return on investment.

Make sure you can financially withstand the print costs without assuming that they will all sell. Additionally, some establishments will want to take a commission of any sales made. Be sure to ask about this beforehand so that you can adjust your pricing accordingly if needed. 

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

Pro: Potential income

With any exhibit, the chance to make some money on product sales is obviously a common aspiration. Exposing your work to people outside of your social media network is helpful for gaining new clients.

To maximize this potential you can think about the time of year that you want to have a show. Does your work appeal to summer tourists? Or will the lead up to Christmas be a good selling period? Regardless, it always feels good to mark pieces as sold and know that you’ve earned some income for your efforts!

Con: Wear and tear

Putting your work up for a matter of weeks or months in a public space makes it vulnerable to damage. This is a risk you have to consider when exhibiting your work. In bustling coffee shops or cafes, your work can be bumped, brushed up on, touched by sticky fingers or even knocked off the wall. You may have a piece that sits in direct sun all day. You also have to account for transportation and hanging which are also times when pieces can be accidentally damaged. 

Overall, having your work on display and for sale can be a great experience and opportunity. It can expose your images to new audiences while making you some profit in the process. Just keep in mind that there’s no guarantee to making sales, and your work could be damaged. You have to be willing to take a bit of a risk financially.