Where Do Art & Business Brands Come Together?

“I’m looking to post art in my shop…

Where do art and business meet brand awareness to create sales? I recently came across the following question in a group I’m part of on the Alignable.com platform. I came up with quick 6 questions to help art and business connect and sell art!

“Hey, I am looking to post art in my shop for purchase. Does anyone know where I could get some artist who wants to show their work?”

This is such a real and common question from someone who own or manages a business and appreciates art—or more precisely—wants the effect art creates in their environment! 

This question sets up the perfect illustration of BRAND AWARENESS

It’s great that you want to “showcase” art in your restaurant. 

However, is it a realistic request to ask artists to donate or loan art to hang in your store? Here are 6 questions to help art and business connect to sell more. Consider these before asking an artist to provide art for your local shop, restaurant, or other location—especially if you are asking for free art.

WHY would an artist want to put art in your shop? 

What will they actually get out of it? Do people in your shop buy art? Do they buy art when they go out to dinner? Do they hang out looking at art?

What kind of creations, pictures, sculpture or artwork do you want in your store?

Are you thinking just any random art will do the trick? Do you have something in mind? Is there something you like or a specific reason for the art? 

Why do you even want art in your store?

Does art improve the look or feel? Does it create a special vibe or environment in your shop? Are you a patron of the arts perhaps? Do you like to talk about art or have art shows with wine tastings after hours?

Pen and ink illustration of doallar sign

Who pays?

Who is going to pay for framing or mounting to protect the artwork? Whose insurance pays for a picture or painting that is stolen or destroyed? Is a sculpture covered by your insurance, if you don’t own it? Who is liable for hanging art correctly, or paying damages to art or insuring customers if it falls off the wall?

Do your customers buy art?

What kind of customers do you bring into your shop, and do they buy art in ANY form? This is a bit of a trick question because we ALL buy artwork these days. And we all talk about artwork all of the time. 

And the final question…

Of the 3 parties involved here, how will each benefit—and in particular, the art creators—from this creative partnership?

Now THIS ONE might sound like I am an artist with a chip on my shoulder, but I assure you, I am not! 

There are 3 parties investing here. Artists do the work of creating and supplying you with quality artwork. The owner pays for the location to display the work. And customers invest time and money. 

If you break down this scenario, your customers are paying you for the location and the privilege of enjoying themselves. They expect to get something out of this through a nice environment, some good looking art on the walls perhaps, and great service. The owner gets their money, and if he does a good job, they help market for him too. Each party agreeing to benefit from what the other has to offer. 

Now introduce the artist providing artwork and you create a more complex triangle of service. Does her benefit outweigh the risk and expense of providing artwork? Does she actually get ANY benefit at all?

There IS an answer to this—a positive solution to the whole partnership!

There IS a creative solution! 

Pause from all the discussion above and let’s go back to the original request. Ask yourself what kind of art the local people in general—and specifically your customers—are buying. 

DO they hang comic books? Movie posters? Or family portraits in their home? Pictures, paintings, sculptures—ART that appeals to your local customers probably will have the extra benefit of appealing to new customers too. Hanging art in your restaurant doesn’t make you a benefactor of the artist! Bringing more people into your shop is the goal of decorating. And that is the REAL reason you want art in your shop! It’s marketing, not selling art!

Unless you already have a style, a look, a target customer and a special vibe in your shop that is a compliment to the artists work. 

Now ask, “How much are those customers spending on art, or on luxury, on collectibles, on local products, or on impulse purchases?” 


As an owner, you need to be able to sell the artist on the idea that the art you display will benefit them. And if you don’t have a creative plan for how the creator will make money from this business partnership, then you can be sure they will not!

Here are some specific solutions that CAN benefit the artist:

  • In tourist areas, a local artist may hang art on your walls AND have an easel in front of your shop where they are welcomed to come and paint and sell prints or postcards or sign books of their art. Schedule times when business is slow for the artist to be there. 
  • In a small town, high school art clubs or a caricature artist may hang art on your walls and pickup clients for local portrait drawings, or host group meetings in your space as a thank you!
  • A Local photographer may hang portraits of famous local people, or local scenes. Have business cards in the waiting area, and a contract in place for them to be the first on the call list to photograph parties or events at your location. Hire them to shoot your google business profile images and come by once each quarter for a fresh profile shot to put on social media. Or hire them to photograph your food for your menus and make art from the photos that go on your walls!
  • In beautiful historic districts, a real estate photographer might be sponsored by an agent to post large prints of homes for sale (or sold) in the area with the agency and artist both noted on the frame. This is ideal if your coffee or bagel or donut shop is the meeting place for that real estate agent. 
  • As a business owner you can host specific events or parties around showcasing art at your venue, like a wine tasting, or a pastry tasting, and promote the artwork and artist on social media along with the event. Make it clear that the art is for sale, or the artist is for hire!
  • In the city you might find a street artist looking for an opportunity to express himself on a wall inside—or outside of your shop. 

Okay, those are my ideas for getting artwork into your shop! Similar ideas work if you are a mechanic and want art in your shop… who is the local car photographer? Street photographer? Or senior portrait photographer? Or maybe there is a local kid who draws great pics of cars.

Whatever your business, if you want to add creativity and promote local creators, answer the 6 questions to help art and business connect to sell more. You’ll know what to do next—but if you don’t, I’m here to help!

Dollar sign - art money for creative business

If you like the artwork, make sure the artist is getting paid!

And Finally…

You should know that artists invest their time and money and countless hours to practice their art. How about buying the first piece in good will, and then talking about it with your customers? Tell them about the artist, refer the artist… then ask them to hang more pieces for sale in your venue! You will be their best friend because you honor their creative work and effort where it counts, your (and their) wallet!

If you like the artwork, make sure the artist is getting paid!

I would love to connect with more artists and entrepreneurs. You can connect with Daniel Rg Crandall and 1Train1 for more information, creative strategy sessions, invitations, speaking engagements, training, or other help here , or on Alignable.com … or let me know the other places you go to find creative support, training, strategy, or advice!

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