Sell More Art at Your Next Art Show Fundraiser with Online Sales

Elysian Koglmeier | July 24, 2023

Screenshot from Michigan Medicine's Gifts of Art program Public Profile on Artwork Archive. Artwork shown by Katie Mongoven.

If you’re new to selling your art online, learn how Artwork Archive can boost results for your nonprofit's exhibitions. 

During the pandemic, many art sales went online–purchases from galleries, auctions, e-commerce sites, fundraisers, artist websites, etc. Prior to 2020, the slow-moving art world was hesitant to move to online sales, but the recent success has led to increased adoption.

The shift online is here to stay according to Art Basel’s 2022 Art Market Report

The Artwork Archive team works with artists, collectors, and organizations around the world to digitize, organize, and showcase their art. We’ve seen many of our clients pivot online over the past few years and witnessed impressive results. For instance, Arts and Health at Duke University tripled their art sales when they brought their annual Winterfest art show online. 

“Our online presence with Artwork Archive was a lot more successful than we thought it could be. Now, we're busting at the seams. We're too successful.” – Jennifer Collins-Mancour, Visual Arts Coordinator for Arts & Health at Duke at Duke University Hospital 

Inspired by clients like Duke University, we gathered best practices for boosting your fundraising efforts with online art sales. 


Expand your reach. Leverage technology to extend beyond your gallery walls. 

A benefit of bringing your art show online is that you are not reliant on just foot traffic. Since pivoting to online exhibitions, galleries and arts nonprofits have seen a significant increase in their artwork sales. 

“We are not limited to physical space. If people can’t get into the building, they can still buy art by contacting us on our Artwork Archive Public Profile. I’m even telling artists to share available artwork that we are not exhibiting because our online sales are growing so quickly.” – Jennifer Collins-Mancour, Visual Arts Coordinator for Arts & Health at Duke at Duke University Hospital 

With virtual exhibitions, artists can show (and sell) more artworks than they would in a physical show. Before going online, the artists participating in the Winter Park Paint Out only had a 4x8 foot display area in the Albin Polasek Museum. Artists were limited to displaying small works so that they could sell multiple pieces. There wasn’t space for bigger works. 

Promote discoverability and grow your digital audience. 

By bringing your art show online, you’ll create new relationships–near and far. Art enthusiasts can discover your exhibit through a Google search or a hashtag on social media. Your exhibit will continue to have a life and web presence beyond its install dates.

The University Art Museum at New Mexico State University turned on its Artwork Archive Public Profile and within a week, they saw increased traffic to their website. 

Children’s Hospital Colorado has not only increased their art sales with their Public Profile, they’ve also connected with new artists excited to collaborate with the hospital. 

Screenshot from the University Art Museum at New Mexico State University's exhibition on their Public Profile.


What is an Artwork Archive Public Profile? 

“People are responding more to our Artwork Archive Public Profile than to our website because it's a much more dynamic platform. We've even gotten queries that aren't related to our visual art program.”  – Jennifer Collins-Mancour, Visual Arts Coordinator for Arts & Health at Duke at Duke University Hospital 

The Public Profile is an invaluable asset for any arts organization looking to showcase their collection, boost SEO, gain additional exposure, and encourage engagement. The Public Profile is linked directly to your art inventory so the information you put into your Artwork Archive database can be easily shared outward. It is also hosted on Artwork Archive’s Discovery platform where collectors, buyers and art lovers of all types search for art. 

Check out examples of Artwork Archive clients selling artwork on their Public Profile:


Use website embeds to make your fundraising more resilient.

Your Artwork Archive Public Profile works in tandem with your website–complementing your existing web presence. To integrate your Public Profile into your website all you have to do is copy and paste one line of code into your HTML.

With the website embed you maintain control of your branding while Artwork Archive populates your artwork information and images.

Winter Park Paint Out worked alongside the Artwork Archive team to achieve the functionality and look and feel that they needed for their art events. They embedded their annual shows, collections, and artist profiles into their website

And with the website embed, you have access to critical data like traffic and demographics via platforms like Google Analytics. You'll be able to report on the number of visits to and clicks through your show as well as provide insight into who is visiting the exhibit–all of which is helpful data for grant applications and cultivating support from leadership. 

Screenshot from Winter Park Paint Out's website embed–connecting their Artwork Archive account to their website to populate artwork and artist information.


Don’t overwhelm your potential buyers. Instead, guide them through your available artworks with Collections.

“We have over 400 paintings in our virtual exhibition and sale. That’s a lot of art to see in one online visit—it’s a bit overwhelming. So we decided to create a series of smaller collections, grouping similar works together by size or subject matter,” states Hal Stringer, head of the Winter Park Paint Out.  He continues: “Visitors can view the entire show or just paintings in areas they really enjoy.”

Hal uses Artwork Archive’s Collections to make thematic groupings like “Winter Park Classics,” “Sun, Surf and Sand,” and “Good Things Come in Small Frames.” The latter is a smart and accessible collection that caters to a new audience with a lower price point.

We’ve also seen institutions create specific retail Collections for reproductions and other purchases. The Mask Alive! Museum & Cultural Center created an online Mercado Collection featuring works from the Cultural Coalition artist collective. Funds raised through the purchase of Mercado artwork support the artists and the continued growth of the Mask Alive! Museum & Cultural Center.

Screenshot from The Mask Alive! Museum & Cultural Center online Mercado Collection hosted on their Artwork Archive Public Profile. See it here.

Use online tools to avoid a one-and-done purchase and keep your buyers coming back for more.

Organizations that are hosting online events are struggling with how to make them interesting over time. Hal shares that Winter Park Paint Out didn’t want to just “post a bunch of paintings and call it a day.”

This is how Winter Park keeps things interesting virtually: 

Every day the portfolio on their Public Profile is sorted randomly. This way exposure is fair for every artist. No one is favored by other sorting functions like name or size. “Every day people go to our page and see something fresh. Repeat visitors stay engaged with new painting selections to enjoy,” asserts Hal. 

Winter Park Paint Out also created a four-week email campaign. Each email has a different collection and featured artists. “We’re using the information that we already have in our Artwork Archive account. And we can link to the collections and artist pages that have been embedded,” shares Hal. 

You can also add QR codes to your physical wall labels that direct visitors to your online presence. The exhibition will be saved in their phone's browser and they'll be able to return to your show long after they stepped foot in your gallery. 


Make it easy for buyers to make a purchase online. 

We’ve increased our sales in such a short amount of time. We’re constantly responding to queries for the temporary shows.”– Jennifer Collins-Mancour, Visual Arts Coordinator for Arts & Health at Duke at Duke University Hospital 

Artwork Archive tools like Purchase buttons can increase sales. When selling artworks on your Public Profile, make sure to include Purchase buttons so that your buyers are directed to your e-commerce site or an online payment processing site like Square. 

If you don’t have a payment system in place, you can include an Inquire button on the artwork record so that potential buyers can contact you directly.  The purchase request will go into your Artwork Archive Inbox. You can then communicate with the buyer to set up the purchase and shipping. 

Tip: Did you know that the interested buyers that come through your Public Profile, Website Embed and Private Room Purchase & Inquire buttons will also be saved in your Contacts? This can help you cultivate potential benefactors by building strong (purchasing) relationships.


Make your life easier with online tools. 

You don’t have to be dependent on a large staff or group of volunteers with online shows. Here are a few tools in Artwork Archive that will streamline your workflow.

Artist Upload: When organizing art shows, a lot of time can be spent requesting and organizing artwork and artist information. With the Artist Upload Tool, you’ll save time and administrative headaches. Artists can upload their artwork images, details and contact information directly into your Organization account. UVA Health and Michigan Medicine both use an online artist submission form to request and receive artist works and information for their shows.

Private Rooms: If a buyer shows interest in a particular artist or body of artwork beyond what is exhibited, you can curate a private viewing room to share with them. Private Rooms are a professional and easy way to share artworks, their details, and artist biographical information. They help accelerate the client’s decision-making process and can drive sales with Purchase buttons.

Online Invoicing: Save time by generating an invoice directly from your Artwork Archive account. You’ll get paid faster and have a more complete sales record. 

Paypal Integration: Connect your Artwork Archive account to your Paypal so that online payments will go directly to your PayPal account. Your payments will automatically be recorded on your invoices in your Artwork Archive account. 

Sales Tracking: Use your Artwork Archive account to track all sales and buyer information. Create revenue reports and utilize the sales data for your accounting throughout the year. 

And all of this information will be available to you and your colleagues at any time. Since Artwork Archive is cloud-based you can access your account from anywhere at any time. 


To recap, what are the perks of bringing your art shows online? 

  • Artists are able to show (and sell) more work. 

  • You no longer have to be dependent on foot traffic in your space and can sell art beyond your geographical boundaries.

  • Your fundraising will be more resilient. You’ll be able to do more without more staff. 

  • Streamline your workflow. Online tools take administrative tasks off of your plate. 

  • Archive for posterity so teammates don’t have to recreate the wheel in future years.

Want to bring your exhibitions online, but can't due to your outdated collection management system? Give Artwork Archive a try with our free trial or schedule a demo.

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