36 Simple Ways to Find Art Collectors on the Cheap

There are many ways to find art collectors

Conditions make this the best time to act. Home buying, home loan refi rates, consumer confidence, and the stock market are the best in years. Now is the time to start making new plans to get your career trajectory pointing up. As they say in the stock market, you’re looking for the hockey stick pattern on the growth chart.

Here’s a my formula to make the most of this list. I dare you to turn an idea from the list into a lucrative activity. You only lose if you don’t try.

Barney Davey’s Formula for Simple Success

Find one new thing and learn to do it. Repeat doing the thing to improve results. Then find, learn and do another new thing. That’s it. Grow from there.

Barney Davey's Formula for Simple Success

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe

Below is your list of 36 Ways to Find Art Collectors on the Cheap.

I know they’re going to help you. You need to believe and act with smarts, passion, and persistence. Please add your suggestions in the comments. I’d especially love to learn if one of these suggestions takes wings for you.

  1. Ask a family member to buy or introduce you to someone who might buy your work, or help your career in some other way.
  2. Ask a friend or colleague to buy or introduce you to someone who might buy your art, or help your career in some other way.
  3. Befriend an interior decorator.
  4. Seek influencers. You know who they are, the ones people always go to for advice.
  5. Write an op-ed column for your local newspaper.
  6. Give a talk at an upscale 55+ housing development.
  7. Put art on consignment in alternative spaces, e.g., salons, spas.
  8. Pitch all the furniture stores in your area.
  9. Paint your car. Turn it into an art car.
  10. Alternatively, do a wild vehicle wrap on your car. (Okay, not cheap, but it could be fantastic!)
  11. Buy a list of potential collectors and send them a series of targeted postcards.
  12. Get listed in every local phone book and local directory on and offline.
  13. Go to the Chamber of Commerce social meetings. (The boring business meetings are not worth it.)
  14. Become a shooter in a local charity, especially arts-related ones.
  15. Start a Meetup group to visit local galleries or wineries.
  16. Never leave home or studio without promotional materials or at least business cards. You never know when you’ll meet your next collector prospect.
  17. Rehearse your answer to the ubiquitous question, “What do you do?” Know how to follow up with more comments about your business. Be excited.
  18. Learn to learn about new people you meet. Be curious. Ask questions. Show interest. They will return the favor.
  19. Create a portfolio using to use as a gift to highly targeted prospects. Bluntly put, most artists would be fools not use this service. You can order 20 copies of a 25-page 8.25″ x 10.75″ glossy portfolio for just over $100 shipped in the U.S. Give them out selectively as gifts to encourage referrals, or impress top prospects.
  20. Practice asking for referrals. Learn how you can reciprocate to make it compelling.
  21. Arrange interviews with local radio hosts on a relevant subject you’ve studied, e.g., the benefit of the 1930s WPA arts projects and how it relates to today.
  22. Send a personal thank you to everyone who shows an interest, buys your work, or does a favor for you.
  23. Get the email address of everyone you meet. Send a note and offer to put them on your mailing list with a chance to get an advanced purchase discount on your next new print or free quarterly drawing for a print.
  24. Host an hor’s d’ oeuvres, wine, and art party at someone else’s home or office.
  25. Have an e-commerce means of selling your art that you control fully, i.e., sell directly from your Web site or blog.
  26. Start a newsletter about art/cultural events in your area. Get every email address you can get. Be relentless. Become the go-to person who knows the local/regional arts scene.
  27. Rent an empty retail space and have an “art happening” with other artists and musicians.
  28. Let your imagination run free and do something you would never do. For instance, cold call a local business to show them your art. If you have prints, offer them as business gifts.
  29. Find those talented people who are not interior design professionals, but who always seem to be helping others with working on their home decorating.
  30. Pitch ideas for stories or decorating or other themes involving your art to local morning TV talk shows. Do you have any idea how many people they need to book each week to keep the content fresh and audience interested?
  31. Be interesting. Learn to tell some art-related stories. Talk about how Picasso was eccentric or anecdotes about artists you admire and why.
  32. Learn to talk about how you come up with ideas for your art and how it makes you think and feel to produce the result.
  33. Don’t be shy about asking someone to buy. Often they need to be reassured; it is a good suggestion, and they are waiting for you to lead the sale for them.
  34. Get local picture framers to carry your work and recommend it.
  35. Have an annual party for collectors and friends.
  36. Do something exciting, or charitable, or both and publicize in as many ways as possible.

Learn to be your own best agent and marketer

No one can talk about your art the way you do. No one can be as passionate about your artwork as you are. Get connected and transfer how you feel to your collectors. Build a collector base, one person, at a time, and you set a rock-solid foundation for lasting art career success.

Any artist can use one or more of these ways to find art collectors and turn it into a career-changing action

You have the power and capability to be the captain and steward of your art career. You can decide you are going to pursue lofty, achievable goals. There is no limit to the amount of good one turned on person can make happen.


The Guide to Art-related Careers
Learn about art-related Careers.


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  1. Hi Barney! Here’s another – I am working with vacation rental homes in my area as show / sell space. The pieces can rotate per season too.
    Thanks for all the tips here! How did you know I was working on this very thing?! 🙂

  2. Hi Barney,
    Thank you for all your ideas! I think teaching classes is another great way for you to showcase your knowledge and let people get to know you as an artist.
    Here’s to 2015!

    1. Excellent suggestion. Teach them to paint and create the connection that turns them into a collector. Many people love to learn to paint without the idea of becoming a full-time artist. They just want to explore their creativity. Talk about an interested audience, this would certainly qualify.

  3. great article Barney.
    build lasting relationships with your collectors. deliver exceptional customer service. your collectors are your greatest advocate. get testimonials from them. go above and beyond. give them more than they anticipate and they will want to give back to you

  4. Dave, very useful. Love the idea of . How do I locate a list of galleries that build relationships in the community. People buy from people. Relationships is key to me. Thoughts?

    1. I am not clear on what you are asking about galleries that build relationships in the community. Regardless, I doubt any such list exists. The only way I suggest to find galleries is research. Any list you would find will not tell you whether the gallery carries work appropriate to your work. You never know that without the doing your own research.

  5. Thank you so much for this list! I had no idea there were so many ways to reach collectors and potential buyers. You’ve presented lots of ideas I haven’t explored, and I’m happy to see that there are also a few things on the list I have implemented already. A great post!

  6. These are great, I’m shy when it comes to selling my art. I think getting my art out in the community would open things up for me. Thanks!

  7. Awesome tips! I’m a romanian freelancer mural artist living in the Netherlands and once I have a sealed deal with a client, I mention a 10 sometimes 20 percent discount,( depending on the work), if the client gets me another client with whom at the end of the initial project I seal a deal.

  8. I have done many of the things you suggest, but my favorite has become high end art fairs. After many years of slow sales through galleries, I started doing the art fairs. People that will pay an admission fee to enter an art fair are more likely to buy art.

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