How to Prepare Your Studio for Art Collector Visits

art studio While many artists still prefer traditional gallery representation over self promotion, nowadays, more and more artists are choosing to represent themselves and are taking their careers into their own hands.

Self promotion and networking skills are critical in building long-term success and if done correctly, can create relationships with life-long art collectors.

Understanding how to professionally conduct a studio visit will impress your prospective clients and collectors and enhance your sales. The following guest article is filled with tips to help you prepare your studio for visitors…

Guest author: ArtBistro. The following article was originally posted on ArtBistro

When someone is interested in your work, set up a studio visit to show them your work. Give them two meeting times to choose from and stay flexible to other times if it doesn’t work out.

  • If the appointment is more than a week away call (or email) them the week of the appointment to confirm.
  • If the appointment is within a week, call (or email) them the day before and confirm.
  • Make sure directions to the studio are clear and the visitor has your phone number.
  • Be on time if you are traveling, or be ready for early arrival if they are traveling.
Preparation Will Help you Relax:

woman in lotus yoga pose

Remember that this studio visit is not just a review of your work but they are also assessing you as a person to see if you are easy to work with and/or would fit with their planned show or gallery.

  • Be yourself, but be prepared.
  • Before talking about your work, the curator/visitor will want to know about yourself.
  • Prepare a short statement noting some background information and highlighting a recent accomplishment.
  • Ask the them a get-to-know-you question or two to see if you have anything in common.
  • Relax, and enjoy this opportunity to get to know someone new.

The conversation will turn to your work and your abilities. Know beforehand what you want to get across about your abilities and work. Make the most of your conversation by going beyond just answering the question and working in your skill as an artist.

arts and crafts studio

Politicians do this, and they aren’t much smarter than you, are they? Do this by making short statements about achievement or abilities that you posses, and then provide a specific example to illustrate that statement.

  • For example: My work is about the perception of spatial relationships. The objects in my last installation are placed so that the objects furthest away from the viewer are smaller than they normally would be, thus exaggerating the perception of distance.

This may sound canned but it is an effective way to communicate what you want about your work and it also highlights your abilities. After practice, this will come naturally. Write down beforehand what you want to get across and practice this. You can slightly adjust your answers to their questions. The more prepped you are, the better you will do.

Wrapping up:alarm clocks

  • Stick to the schedule.
  • Don’t take up more time than the curator/collector/visitor has allotted for.
  • On the other hand, if you hit it off and are having a great time talking, don’t cut it short.
  • Leave a good impression and be sure to thank them for their time and consideration. Most importantly, express your interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.
  • Ask when you might meet again or hear from them.

Good Luck!

What do YOU do to prepare for studio visits? Please share your advice in the comment section…we all learn from each other! Thanks ~Lori 🙂


Please check out these related articles and let me know what you think!

10 Tips to Bring Visitors to Your Art Fair Booth or Open Studio

7 Unique Ways to Approach a Gallery for Art Representation

You Are in Charge of Your Own Art Career

5 Reasons Why Artists Need Social Media and Eye Opening Stats to Back it Up!

Newsletter Art Marketing Tips that Work!

5 Common Traits of Successful Artists

Finding Your Own Artistic Voice

The Visual Artist’s Challenge II: Balancing Self Promotion & Gallery Representation

Brand Yourself as an Artist on Twitter

How to “Jump-Start” Your Art Career!

When Are You Ready to Call Yourself a Professional Artist?

Do Artists Need Commercial Gallery Representation?

2014-03-05T09:46:30+00:00 February 21st, 2011|Art Business Tips, Fine Art Tips, General, Lori's Featured Articles|21 Comments


  1. Matt February 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I find this article very interesting. I was shocked the other day when I was chatting with another artist and she told me she never had anyone over to her studio. I have between 2 to 8 people per week in my studio. It’s a fun experience. They are usually so attentive when I talk about my process and how I create my art. Every artists should focus at promoting their studio to their local market. It’s totally worth it !!
    Great job Lori !

    • Lori McNee February 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Hi Matt,

      It is a nice surprise finding you here in the comments. I would love to hear more about how you conduct your studio visits…hint, hint. You are a great marketer and I bet you have some unique techniques. Glad you liked this little post.

      Thanks again for the comment-
      Lori 🙂

  2. Lucinda Howe February 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hi, Lori and ArtBistro,

    Thanks for the suggestions. If all I have to do is be smarter than a politician, this shouldn’t be hard, right?

    I’d like to add a few other suggestions…
    • Offer something to drink, not necessarily alcoholic… just offering a glass of sparkling water or a cup of tea makes you seem welcoming.
    • You’ll want to clean up your studio, of course, but leave some work in progress in sight. People love to see HOW you work.
    • Be prepared to make a sale. Don’t be caught without your blank invoices, credit card machine, and wrapping materials.
    • Be sure the visitor leaves with something more than a business card. It could be a brochure restating your skills and artist intent, photos of work in which the visitor is interested, or a handmade greeting card.

    Thanks again for getting me thinking about studio visits. I’m off to extend some invitations.

    • Lori McNee February 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Great additions, Lucinda! Thanks so much for sharing your suggestions. Your tips will make a potential collector feel very comfortable and special.

      Good luck with yours, let us know how it all goes!
      Lori 🙂

  3. Jackie Garner February 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Good post, Lori. Here are a few of my top tips:
    (1) My studio has shared parking space with two neighbours so I give them advance notice that someone will be visiting. A dispute over parking is not a good first impression for a client. Fortunately my neighbours are easygoing, but it’s better not to abuse their good will.
    (2) I hang work in the hallway so visitors can see my art straight away, and I have a display area permanently set up in the studio itself. (Yes, I know I’m lucky to have a studio big enough for this.) If there’s a piece that the client is specifically coming to view I’ll put it prominantly on an easel, a range of other work that they might like goes on the display screens.
    (3) I tidy myself up as well as my studio! I’m not advocating a business suit, but neither are paint splattered clothes appropriate. I want to present a professional image and that means artwork, studio, publicity and person are all important. They all reflect upon each other.

    Opening a studio is a great experience; good for clients and artists.

    • Lori McNee February 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

      Great tips, Jackie! I might have to compile some of these comments and form them into another post someday. I love great comments, and your suggestions are wonderful. Yes, dress for success!

      Thanks so much-
      Lori 🙂

  4. Clara Berta March 31, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Love all the comments and I recommend creating an open studio perhaps twice a year and invite your friends/fans to visit your studio to check out your work. I am planning to do one possibly next month. Also thinking about a spring show to share my students art works. Keep up the great work and looking forward to your next blog!

    • Lori McNee March 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

      Hello Clara, it is great to see you here! Thank you for sharing a comment. I wish I could have an open studio, but I have a gallery here in my hometown and they wont allow it. I need to work around that, but have not had the time to deal. Thanks again for stopping by.

      Best – Lori 🙂

  5. Dora November 7, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Sounds great for people who have a roomy work area, but what about those of us who are not so lucky? I’d love to have a home show of some kind. My teeny studio is in my basement with the laundry room! Any ideas?

  6. Peggy Martinez November 15, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Dora,

    I also have a small studio, that was my daughters bedroom. My art “stuff” is spilling into other rooms including the dining room. I don’t feel comfortable inviting prospects over, as 50% of the time I have art stuff all over. I recently received a request from a top Executive that I’ve known to see what I have available in person. This is an exception that I’m willing to make. If I could afford an outside studio I would, I love interacting with people and to make my art/ studio more accessible.

    • Lori McNee November 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Peggy,

      I spent many years creating at my kitchen table…and those are great memories. Thanks for the comment!

      Happy creating-

  7. Randy Bosch January 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Great advice, Lori! Thanks for sharing it again!

    • Lori McNee January 27, 2012 at 12:46 am

      You are very welcome Randy. Thanks for stopping by again.

      Lori 🙂

  8. Rosalie October 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Hi. I found in my area that a gallery where I live have refused to show my work after I had a one off studio sale. Have others had this experience? It has made me reluctant to do it again.

    • Lori McNee October 10, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Hello Rosalie,

      Yes, I have the same situation in my hometown. My gallery will not allow me to have home studio shows. I have to go out of the state to do so! In fact, I will be sharing a studio show with 5 other female artists at one of their homes in Utah…I live in Idaho! I am looking forward to it. My gallery can’t complain about it either. 😉

      Good luck,

  9. Meredith November 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Good article. I have looked for similar articles online, but always seem to have a hard time finding anything that could help those of us with unusual studio circumstances. Perhaps we could get an article pulled together to help with ideas dealing with less than idea studios for visits, as well as tips for easily and affordably customizing these spaces.

    Like Peggy and Dora mentioned above, my studio is in my home. I used to have a lovely space in a commercial building with a retail front which was perfect for having people over. But my new situation is that I’ve moved into my 2-1/2 garage. Walls have been built inside of it creating two smaller rooms. We did this years ago when using the space for other reasons. I haven’t had the time or money to convert the space into the “perfect” workable studio yet. I lack insulation on the roll up garage doors, although ive made due with some temporary fixes. I lack free wall space, and only have one window. There is no regular entry door into the studio, and the garage is situated on the side of the house with a long driveway that goes down a hill. The second arame door is smaller however, made for a golf cart. So perhaps that could work as an entrance if its not too cold out.

    I also live in a very small town about 50 miles from the center of Austin, TX. I think having a studio open house would only attract the local small town folks, and frankly I couldn’t begin to estimate what sort of interest I mind be able to garner. I realize its something you start small and grow with each consecutive open house.

    So does anyone have any comments or ideas about studio visits in home studios, ways to concerts these spaces (especially garages) into workable studios, and how to garner interest in a small, maybe not completely art savvy community.

    Thanks for a great article and all who take part in the comments! It’s wonderful learning from each other.

    • Lori McNee December 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Hello Meredith,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment and for your patience while waiting for my reply.

      It sounds like you want to spruce up your garage for some studio events. I have a few suggestions…since you don’t have wall space, you might want to invest in some Pro Panels This would quickly convert your garage into a hanging display. If this is beyond your budget, you can go to the lumberyard and buy 4×8 sheets of lattice wood panels. You can hinge them together and prop them up and hang your art with S hooks. Also, if your floor is ugly, you can buy some cheap indoor/outdoor carpeting at a discount warehouse. You can roll it up and reuse it again for the next event. Inexpensive folding tables with tablecloths can serve as a display for smaller works and for brochures, notecards, etc.

      I hope this helps!

      Have fun,

  10. Lucy Chen November 25, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you for the advice, Lori. How do we get the words out that our studio is open for visits in the first place?

Comments are closed.