ETIQUETTE FOR ATTENDING ART EVENTS: 12 TIPS

There are many types of art events happening all over a city at a given time. There are art shows, gallery openings, demonstrations, meet-and-greets, auctions, exhibitions, and much more. In this article, we will share a few basic tips that will help you navigate the world of art with ease and pleasure.

ETIQUETTE FOR ATTENDING ART EVENTS: 12 TIPS1.. When attending the show of a living artist, do not express any dislike for his or her art, unless you are working the event as a professional critic. The artist may be near and it would be like criticizing a hostess at her own party. It is also common courtesy and consideration for viewers who may be seeing the work for the first time. By sharing negative views, you will be decreasing the positive energy of the event.

This does not mean you must lie when asked your opinion. Instead, it means you should find something positive to say. Even in the ugliest of art or the most disappointing of shows, there is a positive. And a lady is always capable of finding it.

2.. Do not criticize someone for their opinion on an art piece. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. So, make sure to honor every voice. And remember: art is subjective. Many critics of the past have been proven wrong about the value of an artwork.

3.. Do not touch the art, unless it is encouraged by the artist or staff. There are so many ways an art piece can be ruined with a just touch. So, please keep your hands away from the art.

4.. Do not get drunk. And do not arrive drunk or high on drugs. This is a basic courtesy that should be followed at all social events, not just art ones. Just imagine the horror of drunkenly wobbling through an exhibition and then stumbling into a sculpture.

5.. Do not take too much food or wine. Some galleries offer free food and/or wine at their events. Please do not fill your plate with a mountain of hors d’oeuvres. And do not return multiple times for glasses of wine. The event may have a limited amount of food and wine. So, be considerate of other visitors who may want to enjoy refreshments as well.

6.. Do not monopolize the time of the artist or staff, especially if you have no intention of buying. Remember, others may want to speak to them as well. So, keep your conversation brief.

7.. Be graceful. If you are someone who talks with you hands, practice speaking with less movements at such events. You do not want to accidentally knock an art piece or throw wine around the room.

8.. Speak quietly. Don’t be the loud person in the room. At an art event, there are usually many people talking and trying to be heard at once. So, when speaking, get close enough to your listeners to be heard without shouting.

9.. If you are speaking to more than one person on a topic that is not the art piece in front of you, do not stand too long in front of the art. Other people may want to see it up close.

10.. Never criticize someone for their expression or lack thereof. Not everyone is able to express their opinions. Not everyone knows how to discuss art. And not everyone enjoys speaking. None of these inabilities give you the right to be obnoxious or to feel superior. So, please avoid criticizing and excluding. Instead, focus on teaching, inspiring, bringing together, and sharing your passion with others.

11.. Dress appropriately. There are many art events happening all over the city, at any given time. You can find them in acclaimed museums, in parking lots, in historical mansions, on boardwalks, and even on the beach. So, always dress appropriately for the location, time, and day of the event.

Usually, the opening night of an art show in an acclaimed museum, gallery, or mansion is the most formal. Visitors tend to wear business or cocktail attire to the show. If you received a written invitation, look for the dress code section for guidance.

12.. Do a quick study of the artist and/or art movement before attending an event. This is more of a suggestion for improving socialization skills than an etiquette tip. By doing a quick study, you are less likely to be caught surprised and you will be able to speak more intelligently about the art and artist.


If you want to see an art gallery opening night, please watch the video below. It’s the opening night of Maddox Art Gallery’s new 3,750 square foot contemporary art gallery in Mayfair, London. You’ll see top artists, their curator James Nicholls, and some celebrity patrons like Tamara Ecclestone.