More Articles

The Value of Art In Situ

The Pain and Power of Tough Criticism

How to Build Profitable Relationships with Galleries

New Technologies for the Studio Artist

A Distinctive Body of Work

How I Got My Art Placed on TV and Movie Sets

Video Marketing & Artists: A Match Made in Heaven

Tips for Promoting Your Art on Instagram

Selling Art in the Wholesale Marketplace

What Do You Want as an Artist?

Is Your Art Priced Correctly?

Boost Your Art Marketing with Printed Materials

Collection Strategies for Artists

Problems Getting Paid? How to Never Get Stiffed Again

What’s Going Right with Your Art Business?

How Artists are Using 3D Printing

Goals Matter: Pointers for a Productive Year

How to Create Successful Art Events

Social Media Tips from Lori McNee

Why You Fail to Sell Your Art at Festivals and Fairs

My Studio Mascot

Move Towards Your Destination

What Your Customers Can Teach You

Collaborating on Art? Why You Need a Contract

Connecting with a Niche Market

Increase Your Art Sales by Making an Emotional Connection

Will Your Great Idea Translate into a Great Business?

How to Balance Art & Life

Give Yourself a Promotion

4 Ways Booth Signage can Draw a Crowd

Secrets of a Successful Open Studio

The Thrills of Networking Within A Local Artist Community

Partner with Your Galleries to Sell More Art

The Artist Doesn’t Always Know Best

Protect Yourself from Art Scams

Put Your Business Cards Away

How to Deal with those Dreaded Shipping Costs

Luck vs. Opportunity

How to Get Accepted by the Press

Artists are Entrepreneurs

How to Promote and Sell Art on Instagram

Playing Up

Is Fear Running Your Art Business?

What I Learned by being a Gallery Owner

How to Get Rejected by the Press

Art with a Healing Touch

Art and the Struggle with Depression

Are You at a Loss for Words?

Avoid these 7 Mistakes when Photographing Art

How a Hard Look at Business Changed an Artist's Life

7 Reasons Why Your Art Marketing Isn’t Working

What to Do when your Show is Slow

Working Smarter to Sell Your Art

Top Tips for a Successful Open Studio

What's the Back Story on Your Art?

10 Free Ways Artists Can Get Publicity

Selling Art with Confidence

The Power of Repeat Sales

6 Ways to Sabotage Your Art Business

5 Steps to Gaining Referral Business

It's Not All About the Money

Consistency is Key to Making Art Sales

Should You Quit Your Day Job?

6 Display Tips to Increase Your Art Sales

Making a Profit with Your Art

What Blue-Chip Galleries Can Teach Us About Social Media Networking

Artists Need A Business Plan

Your Greatest Asset in Finding Gallery Representation

Hiding Away


The Personal Touch

Sell Your Art into the Corporate Market

Tell Your Story, Sell More Art

The Price is Right

Confessions of a Professional Art Gallery Closer

How to Create Raving Fans by Telling the Story of Your Art

Burnout & Its (Sometimes Surprising) Consequences

How to Get Into A Gallery, and Succeed With A Gallery

The Power of Persistence

Build a Budget for Success: How I Tripled My Income in 2 Weeks

Learning to Sell Art: Investing in Yourself

Top Traits of Successful Artists

What Makes Art Remarkable?

Working for Free

The Evolution (and Re-Evolution) of An Art Business

Ann Rea: Artist, Entrepreneur, Instant Success

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Become An Artist?

8 Ways to Improve Your Online Portfolio

Artists, Do You Need an Agent?

The Power of Consultative Selling

How to Make Your Customers Fall in Love with You

Artist Housing Projects

The Pinterest Guide to Selling Art Online

Artists Who Sell: How to Write a Killer Sales Page (and why)

The 5 Biggest Mistakes that Artists Make on Their Blogs and How You Can Avoid Them

Business Plans for Artists: Here, I Did It for You!

How to Write An Artist's Statement That Doesn't Suck

How to Make Your Art Stand Out Online?

10 Strategies to Improve Your Art Sales

Social Sharing on Artist Websites & Online Galleries

Why Artists Should Avoid Gallery Representation

5 Art Pricing Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

How to Research Your Online Art Market

The Crowdfunding Guide for Artists: Part 1

12 Things all Starving Artists Believe

Personal Branding for Artists

How Paula Manning Lewis Has Sold More Than 30,000 Pieces of Art

How to Build An Art Business While Working a Day Job

Painting Terms

Mixing Colors

The Benefits of Buying Art Online

Beginning Your Journey as an Artist

Art for Art's Sake

Top Tips for a Successful Open Studio


Melinda Cootsona

Melinda Cootsona
Guest blogger Melinda Cootsona is a recognized authority in staging a successful Open Studio. Over the last 11 years she has hosted over 15 Open Studios, routinely grossing as much as $20,000. Her book Open Your Studio: Nine Steps to A Successful Art Event has been a #1 bestseller on Amazon.

Open Studios are a wonderful way to begin and augment your artistic career. For those of you who are thinking of participating but are uncertain, let me encourage you to do so. Open Studios can be a very rewarding event and a great transition to becoming a "professional' or full-time artist.

Here are a few helpful hints for both new and experienced Open Studio participants including the top two mistakes that I see many artists make. Let's start by getting the mistakes out of the way:

#1 Mistake at Open Studio Events

Inconsistent and/or Inappropriate Pricing.

Let's face it: most artists hate putting a price on their work. Emotionally it feels like taking a loved one and turning them into a product. But in order to actually sell our work, it's a step we must take. Getting the right price for your art is a big key to your sales, so take a deep breath and begin to look at your work objectively.

Too often artists either overprice, or surprisingly, underprice their work. And very frequently their pricing is inconsistent. Paintings (for example) of similar size and subject can vary by hundreds of dollars, which will completely confuse a potential buyer. Typically this discrepancy is because the artist has priced their work emotionally instead of objectively.

The easiest way to objectively price two-dimensional work is by size. This step is clearly and simply outlined in my book, Open Your Studio – Nine Steps to a Successful Art Event. Options for other mediums are also included, but the most important concept for everyone to remember is to price your work appropriately and consistently.

#1 Mistake at Open Studio Events

No, that's not a typo. I just couldn't decide which mistake is of greater importance, so I decided they were tied.

Lack of Artist Interaction With The Public

I know, I know, we paint, throw clay, bead, weld, design, draw, glue, and shoot film; if we wanted to use words to describe what we do we'd be writers! Unfortunately, in most circumstances, art does not sell itself. In my seminars I have found that many artists are shy about speaking with the public. If you have similar feelings, you are not alone. However, now IS the time to talk about what you do.

Very often the best "sales pitch" is to simply talk about your work and inform the potential buyer about some part of your process. The important concept here is to engage with your visitors. Find a story or technical aspect of your work to share that you can comfortably discuss. Stories sell art. You may even consider posting a story next to your work about why or how you created it. Consider having friends or relatives on hand who can also help you communicate with your visitors.

And now for some tips:

Create Simple Dynamic Displays

Just like a good gallery or retail store, your work should be attractively and professionally displayed. This can be done with very little expense on your part. Here are three ideas for simple displays:


Hollow-Core Door Screen

Hollow-Core Door Screen


Three (or more) hollow-core doors hinged together to form a "zig-zag" double-sided wall or screen. This is the best most flexible display for two-dimensional work that I have found, and can be assembled from items found at any lumber store. The doors can be painted any color and re-used for years to come.


Multi-Leveled Table Displays

Multi-Level Table Displays


For three-dimensional work consider using tables with various height boxes on top. Cover the boxes with black or white cloths and display your pieces on each of the different levels.


Table Top Easels

Table Top Easels


Small paintings on small easels are a great sales tool for clients who say they have "run out of wall space". Let them know there are other ways of displaying art than hanging it on the wall.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about hosting your best Open Studios yet. My goal is to take the mystery out of the Open Studios process and to help each artist attract the most visitors, boost their sales, and host their best event to date.


  • Always paint and create from the heart
  • Create what you want to create and what speaks to you.
  • People will see the passion in your work.
  • Have a fabulous and successful Open Studio!

To find more insights into Open Studios, creativity, and the life of an artist please visit Melinda's blog.

Carolyn EdlundThis article is courtesy of
Carolyn Edlund, founder of Artsy Shark, is a business writer, speaker and consultant for artists. She is the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute, presenting at art business workshops throughout the United States. Carolyn works with artists every day in strategy sessions designed to help them structure their businesses, set and reach their goals. Find out more about scheduling your own business consultation with Carolyn here: window