To begin with getting the venue is the easy part. Most proprietors of eateries are more than happy to exhibit your art work because it doesn't cost them anything to decorate and as is the case of some establishments they regularly showcase local art. Your job is to make the contact by simply noticing places with either other artists work on the walls or nothing. Either scenario is an invitation to you. Approach the proprietor or manager and enquire. Many times you will be asked to e-mail images for review and then you will be placed in the queue of accepted work.
Secondly, and very importantly, be very clear about your expectations and those of the venue. Things like size and number of art works to be displayed as well as hanging systems and whether or not you can attach labels or hangers for your business cards to the walls. Also the best time for hanging so as not to disrupt their business.
Show up on time and do your best to hang quickly.
Last but not least, type a little agreement between you and the proprietor/agent. I like to use the word agreement because it sounds friendlier than contract. You should have who will be responsible for collecting money for sales, how you will be paid, if there is any commission, dates for length of exhibit, and a short liability clause. Also attach a list of all artwork you will be hanging with pertanent identification and value of each piece this makes things easier for all concerned.
Now all that said it probably sounds like a lot of work. Well, I'm not gonna lie, it is, and the best laid plans can go awry. Take for instance, my experience yesterday, which I had thought was actually going to take place the day before that obviously was a miscommunication. I must say I had been in sporadic contact with the agent for 6 months prior via email. These are some of the chances one takes and I guess I learned to be a little more diligent with .
I didn't really look at the walls which were cement so there was a moment of consternation as it was discovered the screws we tried to use were not the right ones. Fortunately, I had some cement nails and was able to utilize some previous holes. Consequently the exhibit has taken on a rather assymetrical air.
The good news is that the show is hung, I've had some favorable feedback already, and everyone has been nice. In addition I had a wonderful time chatting about the real life of artists with Patrick McCardle, his wife, and Sharkey on Saturday night.