Take Over a Vacant Storefront–Legally

IMG_0560I have subscribed to Alyson’s newsletter for years and it is full of wonderful tips. This one seemed so perfect for Coos Bay I just had to share it.

From Alyson B. Stansfield, The Art Biz Coach

“This economy is producing surprising opportunities for those who are willing to think outside of the box. Take for instance, artists in the United Kingdom who are turning vacant storefronts into what are being called “pop-up galleries.” The name aptly describes art spaces that show up out of nowhere and then, Poof!, disappear after an exhibit closes.

The spaces for pop-up galleries are given to artists and curators to exhibit art at no charge. The arrangement is a win-win-win for all involved. First, these phantom galleries are a solution for landlords and property managers who try to keep empty spaces attractive to potential renters. Second, city leaders embrace them because they make shopping areas more appealing and bring in new visitors. Finally, pop-up galleries are another chance for artists to show their work in an art world witnessing the demise of numerous galleries and exhibit spaces. As an artist trying to build a reputation, you want to get your work out there as often as possible.

Why not steal this idea and take over a vacant storefront as an exhibit space?

To gain access to these promising art venues, keep your eyes peeled in high-traffic areas. Unoccupied spaces usually have signs in the windows with a number to call about leasing. Rehearse your proposal and pick up the phone. The worst that can happen is that someone can say No.

Know This . . .
There are opportunities in this economy if you’re open to thinking differently.

Think About This . . .
Are there empty commercial spaces in your town?

Do This . . .
Take over a storefront–legally. If you organize an exhibit in a temporary space, remember that you’re a guest of the landlord. Your gallery is open only as long as his or her generosity lasts. Be a good tenant in every way and accept the limits of the agreement. Building owners know the local commercial real estate market well and would likely recommend other locations if you work well together.”


2 thoughts on “Take Over a Vacant Storefront–Legally

  1. This is a great story and concept that I will be sure to pass along to those I know. I’m not sure how receptive an idea it would be in the U.S.A., where money talks as the saying goes. I still think it is a great concept worth trying. You never know till you ask and the worst anyone can say at that point to you is, “NO”!

    • Thank you Vivian, for your comment, and I agree, if they say no, where are you? Exactly where you were before asking. There is a win/win component to this in that they are getting color and interest generated in their space (while it would normally sit empty) which could facilitate future rentals.

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