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The right approach: Brent Wear found walls for hanging at Portland's Clinton Corner Café.
Guest Writer

Get out there and find a venue
Coffeehouse art
by Francy Bozarth

t's an interesting yet logical progression. Independent coffeehouses everywhere have developed a taste for local art.

Now when you go get your "cuppa joe," you're also often treated to a mini-showing of local artists. It's not something most chains have chosen to do and that gives those independent cafés a chance to shine as well as establish their own identity.

The art runs the gamut from good ol' standbys – landscapes, for example – to the disturbingly bizarre, such as photos of one-eyed kitties or, yes, paintings on black velvet.

For the artist, this is good thing. Patrons out to relax and have a cup of coffee anyhow are naturally going to let their eyes stray to the artwork. The artist gains exposure, if not increased sales.

Brent Wear, recently showcased at the Clinton Corner Café in Portland, said the owner approached him and asked him to display his art. Wear works in mixed media and paints brightly colored pictures of whimsical birds in imaginative situations. (Look for the "corn dog" wrapper in his pictures.)

Carolyn LeVee, owner/operator of Wilsonville Coffee Co., keeps works of a family friend on the walls of her shop. These are of the landscape variety.

Violet's Café owner Lisa Carkner works with a curator and takes submissions from artists. While the eastside Portland establishment has some requirements an artist might want to know about, they do display a wide variety of work. A recent Violet's showing consisted of Halloween-themed art.

So, if you're an artist, how might you go about getting your artwork displayed in such a setting?

• Locate the coffeehouses in your area that do rotational showcases. Get out and visit several before you take the next step.
• Approach the owner/manager at a convenient time (i.e. not during the morning rush!).
• Consider setting up an appointment if no time seems to be good.
• Bring a portfolio of your work to share and be ready to discuss it.
• Convert your work to jpeg or gif in case the owner would prefer to see electronic samples.
• Talk to other artists for tips, suggestions and ideas.
• Whatever your style of art, there's a showcase somewhere that is appropriate, so be persistent in your search.

Now, go do your research, get out there, and find a venue for your art.

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