How To Go Virtual For Artists

The art market was already well on its way to transferring online before this pandemic hit, but this crisis has accelerated the transition. Small and medium brick and mortar galleries have been disappearing for decades. Currently, artists can represent and sell their art independently under their own conditions online or show their work in a virtual gallery. 


Curating a visual portfolio is essential to transitioning online. We understand that for some artists the shift online might feel like unchartered territory, presenting new and unique challenges. 


What are some strategies to cope with the changes?

Consider taking advantage of social media platforms to display individual pieces. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, Youtube, and Twitter are perfect for sharing work, developing an artistic persona, selling pieces, marketing your services, and touching broader audiences. Once your work is posted, your followers can share your artwork with their followers using retweets or reposts. You can also post links that redirect your followers to your own personal website. The easiest way to construct a website is through a website design software such as Squarespace or Wix.


You can grow and deepen your connection to your audience by hosting an artist talk online and posting videos of yourself working on a piece, whether that’s painting, molding clay or performance. Many artists have realized that by livestreaming a portion of their creation process, they can get people excited to see the finished product. You can use features like Facebook or Instagram Live to live-stream yourself creating or talking. If you use Instagram Live, your followers can send you questions to answer in real time. This is an intimate, interactive way to engage with your audience.  Artists are also very popular on the video sharing app Tik Tok, which enables you to edit 15-60 second clips of your process and release them to a global community. Check out this guide to Art on Tik Tok.


For larger projects or multiple pieces, consider displaying your artwork in online galleries. Many online gallery hosting sites give artists the ability to customize their gallery in the way they feel is most appropriate. Many artists feel like they have more autonomy and control in the design and construction of their galleries in an online format. Move virtual furniture around, create separate rooms for separate pieces, and even adjust the lighting to give your gallery the perfect feel. When you’re done, mount your artwork to the virtual walls and share the link so the world can see. Some online gallery hosting sites even allow you to sell artwork directly from your virtual gallery.  


What services can be helpful?

Keep in mind: whenever you plan an event, you should immediately submit it to be featured on our Arts Oasis calendar.


Squarespace offers elegant, professional designs to display artist portfolios. The website creation is easy to follow and customizable. Their personal website plan costs $12 per month if purchased annually, and there are 50% discounts available to students. You are also required to purchase a domain name for $20.


Wix is a more beginner-friendly website builder with modern templates that are highly customizable. Squarespace is equally modern but not quite as easy to navigate. Wix's main advantage is the free plan, but their designs are less appealing than Squarespace.


Platforms to host online exhibitions: 

Kunstmatrix art.spaces: 


Art Steps: 


There are plenty of ways to sell your work online. A lot of artists sell their work through Instagram. If you want to use Instagram Shopping, first convert your profile to a Business Profile. A step-by-step guide on how to do this can be found here. Check out this step-by-step guide to selling art using Instagram shopping. More Instagram selling info and tips can be found here.

If you don't want to create a business profile, advertise the work that is for sale on Instagram by sharing stories and posts and then linking your artist website in your Instagram Bio. Encourage people to buy your work through your website. Many websites offer an e-commerce plan including Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. 

More info on websites that offer e-commerce features can be found at Website Builder.

Tips on how to use Instagram LIVE to show you working or talking about your work can be found here.


Steps to maintaining a business/brand Instagram account:

Create a new brand-only Instagram account or use your personal one. 

Post daily on your feed and story to advertise your upcoming classes/events. 

Use apps like Canva, PicsArt, or Adobe Spark to create aesthetically cohesive content. 

Use Planoly to plan what you will be posting.  

You can even use Instagram’s LIVE feature to record yourself and your talent and share it to people for free and get them excited about your business. When you’ve ended your LIVE session, you can keep it for 24 hours or share it to Instagram’s IGTV featured option. 

Read more about business accounts.


Keep in mind--if you want to be paid for your work, it’s best to stick to sharing your instructional videos through Eventbrite and Zoom or other video platforms listed below. If you’d like to host a panel or discussion event, maybe even with other artists, you can utilize one of the popular video conferencing platforms. Alternatively to Zoom, there is also Skype and Google Meets. Below is a comparison of the top three group video platforms. These platforms are also useful for Art Educators transitioning online.


Google Meets 

·       Free and unlimited until September 2020

·       After September 2020, it will have a 60 minute time limit and a 100 participant limit

·       Available on iOS, Web, Chromebook, and Android

·       You’re able to admit/accept or deny people from entering your meeting 

·       You can send people a link to invite them to your meeting

·       16 people can be displayed at once on the screen 

·       Alternative plans available for $10 and $20 a month 

·       Can share screen 

·       Recording available



·       Free version allows up to 100 participants and calls limited to 40 minutes

·       Alternative plans available for $14.99 and $19.99 a month 

·       Known security issues 

·       49 people can be displayed at once on the screen

·       Can share screen 

·       Recording available 

·       You’re able to admit/accept or deny people from  entering your meeting

·       Can change virtual background 

·       Offered “Webinars” And “Meetings” 



·       Offers majority of its services completely free

·       Available across Windows, iOS, Android and Mac

·       50 participant limit 

·       Can share screen 

·       Recording available 

·       Some say it makes your computer run slower 

Check out these helpful tips for how to host a digital event through a video conference platform.

How to Receive Payments:

When someone is interested in taking your class, you can give them your PayPal (ex., Venmo (ex. @NallaT) or Cash App (ex. $NallaT) handle for them to send payment to. Once you’ve received the payment, you can keep track of people who have signed up with a list and then send your Zoom or Google Meet link to only people who have signed up AND paid for the class. 


How to Sign Up for Venmo 

1.  Download one of our mobile apps: iOS & Android (Venmo does not have a Windows app)

2.  Open the app

3.  Choose your sign up method and create a secure password between 8 and 32 characters long 

4.  Verify your phone number and email address 

5.  Add and verify your bank account 


How to Sign Up for PayPal

1.  Go to 

2.  Click sign up button in upper right 

3.  Choose personal or business account 

4.  Fill out your information 

5.  Create password 

6.  Link your bank account info 


How to Sign Up for Cash App 

1.  Search for Cash App in your device’s App Store

2.  Click the Cash App by Square Inc. app with a green picture with a money symbol. 

3.  If it isn’t downloading, you might not have enough Storage on your phone so you may need to delete other apps you are not using. 

4.  Open the app when it’s done downloading

5.  Enter information 

6.  It will send you confirmation code, enter this code 

7.  Click the circle button in the upper right corner 

8.  This will bring you to the page where you can add a profile picture and your name and your handle which you will give to people to send you money 

9.  Adjust info under the Privacy & Security and Notification tabs to your liking 

10. You must give people your handle name with a “$” in front of it always, so they can correctly locate you to send money