How to Start an Art Show with No Money – Part 2: Find a Venue

Here’s another fairly easy one.  What you need is a relatively clean space (or just clean walls) somewhere you can hold a publicly-assessible event and invite people.  The first Curious Sound Objects show (video here) was held in the event space of my co-working building (Industry Lab - Cambridge, MA).  I think I got lucky with this one, the space is sizable, and the people friendly, and because I’m a paying member (it’s where I work), it was also free.  Also, you’ll want to decide wether a one day show or a 


Here were some of the challenges in that particular space:

Since it is a space accessible to the members during the day, people have lunch, and meetings, and sometimes smaller events, so the “gallery” was hard to maintain as a perfect gallery space for very long.  In order to be professional about an art show, there were “gallery hours” during the two weeks following the opening where people could come by and see the pieces. The arrangement of the show was multiple pedestals spread out to fill the space.

Understandably, in order to accommodate the daily activities, sometimes the pedestals with the artwork would get moved to the sides and I would move them back during “gallery hours.”  Considering the space was free, and the opening night turn out was fantastic, this was a small inconvenience, but something you should keep in mind if you set up your show in such a space.  I think co-working spaces are a great first time venue because there is a built-in audience and it builds community. In fact, Industry Lab has an artist in residence program


If your art show consists of wall mounted pieces (paintings, photographs, etc.) then your options are greater, coffee shops, office lobbies, anywhere with clean walls will do.  Make sure with the people in charge before making holes in the walls etc.


The subsequent two shows were at a local brewery, and the fourth was the first extended gallery show. Separate posts about the positives and challenges with those venues to come.  Sign up for the mailing list and get them delivered straight to your inbox! You can also ask any questions you may have about the topic.



Check out:

How to start an Art Show with No Money Part 1 - Pick a Theme