As you are opening up your new space, or refurbishing a well loved coffee shop, you may be looking at the walls of your business and scratching your head. What is the best way to create the décor you are looking for, while also not spending a bundle on Ikea stylized photos? Depending on your location it might be time to put out an ad for display space in your café. Local artists will love the ability to have exposure of their beloved art and also have the chance to sell some of their pieces to your clientele. A lot of time artists will approach cafes offering to showcase their art, but if you are not interested in what is being brought to you, or you have yet to have an offer, no fear, there are plenty of ways to get art in your shop. In this article we will cover your motivation, the artist’s motivation, and how to get these fantastic pieces in your café.
Art connoisseur? Supporter of your artsy community? Best friend of an aspiring artist? These are all excellent intrinsic motivations for displaying art in your coffee shop that benefits both your taste and the community. If you identify in any of these categories, feel free to skip this section because you are ready to display some art! However, if you find yourself still on the fence about displaying local art pieces, there are a few monetary benefits to having this artistic décor.
The first is rather obvious, instead of spending bundles of money on displaying art on the empty walls of your café, having a local artist decorate your space with their art, for sale, is an effective way to liven up your space. On top of this, as a café owner you can choose to have the art hung free of cost, or request a commission fee on the art that is sold. As a café owner you might also notice as interest in the art peaks, or the artist themselves has a bit of a following, you can host a night for the artist. A displaying night, much like a gallery viewing, can happen during or after hours of your café and give the artist a chance to promote their work, while you sell tasty beverages and maybe a specialty drink. A viewing and the commission on art sold could turn your café a nice profit, and support a young budding artist who is looking for stronger name recognition. If you become known as a hub for art, and viewings, you can also choose to rotate your artists and display new images in your café. This will peak interests in artist’s communities, and also provide your space a revolving fresh look.
Now that you have been sold on the idea of displaying a few pieces in your café, just to see how it goes, you might wonder what is in it for the artist? And how do I justify charging a commission on sales? Young artists looking to establish themselves in a very competitive industry are constantly looking for ways to not only sell their art but almost as importantly, establish their name in the community. If you are in a hub of art, your wall space becomes a competitive market for display. Your artists should be encouraged to feature your coffee shop and their art on their personal websites and social media outlets, directing customers to their art, and your coffee. Having a place to physically display their art can increase their sales and visibility, there are many more coffee shops than art galleries. Your clientele is also more frequent, stays for longer periods of time, and will in part choose your coffee shop because of the décor that your artist has created. These elements make your space valuable and marketable to artists. In turn, it gives the artist the opportunity to develop their pitch, how they plan to sell and display their art in galleries, on you, who might be more empathetic and willing to display. Many artist advice blogs and articles encourage coffee shop displaying as “selling art in the real world” and highly encourage artists to cater to the coffee shop in terms of what they display.
It’s good for you, it’s good for the artist, now how do I get people to come to my space with their art. Before you go ahead and place a “looking for display art” on your window, take a minute and look around your space. What art would fit best with your shop and your clientele, is it hip and trendy? Edgy and vibrant? Subdued and refined? Knowing what you are looking for will help narrow down your artist. You can either put out a blanket “call for artists” on your own social media, online listings, and even displayed on your coffee shop, or you can do a little research around your local community. Is there a community college, university, or art specific class that you can put up an advert? Is there an artist selling their unique pieces on the street that you have noticed? These are excellent places to start, and once you have begun displaying more unique displays in your shop, there will be more interest in the artist community to display. When artists are scouting places to display, a big indicator that the coffee shop is art friendly is art hanging with the artist credited and a price for sale listed. This way they now the owner is accepting artist pitches and will inquire with a portfolio of their art.
There are many reasons why selling art through your coffee shop can benefit you and your business, displaying these unique pieces connects you with your community, helps the narrative of your café, and promotes more business. By establishing your business as an art friendly café, you enhance the experience of the customer and the artist, and take a major stress and cost out of decorating your coffee shop.