5 Tips for Hosting an Art Salon

CONVERSATIONS ON ART- 5 Tips for Planning an Art Salon

Host an art salon easily with these five tips.

1. Send out invitations to art creators and appreciators.

I got introduced to the wonderful thing that is pingg earlier this year, but of course there is always evite or cocodot among other online invitations to email. Then again, if you have time, there is something so delicious about opening the mailbox and finding a handmade invitation. This time, we went digital and enjoyed watching people comment and respond.

At art salons, go for small bites like squares of chocolate.

2. Make the evening fun by serving nibbles rather than plates.

The art salon is all about sharing your craft, so if you bake or cook, then go for the gusto. However, I’m here to tell you simple is classic and never goes out of style. For our first art salon, we served red vino and a host of chocolates. It was fun putting together the chocolate bar and incorporating favorites like Super Chile Chocolate Toffee Tiles, Almond Milk Chocolate and Sea Salt, and Wooloomooloo squares of chocolate along with bite-sized brownie squares. The best is when one of your guests brings a bottle of port… (Thanks Caroline!)

When planning an art salon evening, consider your space and how guests will mix and mingle.

3. Consider your space.

Do you have a small apartment or a rambling house with a big living room? Keep in mind that from your list of invitees, probably only 15% will come and that includes people who RSVP yes but something comes up at the last minute. I never let the fact that our living room is small get in the way of how many people to invite over for parties, but for a salon, you may want to consider the ramifications of mood. A smaller get-together lends itself to a more intimate ambiance. When sharing personal work, this is sometimes a great way to dive into getting together on a more regular basis to share creative work.

It's always a treat at our art salon for musicians like Karl Digerness to play an original song.Invite a mix of musicians and poets to an art salon. Poet Jay Rubin reads new work.

4. It’s all in the blending.

Writers. Poets. Musicians. Studio Artists. Each brings such a great flavor to the salon at large. We had a fantastic blend with everything from original essays to poems and songs played on guitar. I think what’s particularly important here is ample time for each artist to share their work and then receive feedback. People want to respond, calling out a line in the poem that stood out or asking what influenced the musical riff.  So if you end up having a larger group, then you might want to ask for only one or two songs or poems shared. If the group is smaller (and if there is no dearth of work present) consider suggesting time slots.

So much truth here: without music life would be a mistake.

5. Rinse and Repeat.

Did you have fun? Meet or hear from artists whose work made you laugh or take pause? Are you wondering if there’s a CD in the works? Can I encourage you to think of this as both an evening of entertainment, revelry and art appreciation as well as an opportunity for creating community? When I think back to Hemingway, Stein and Pound or to Kerouac and Ginsberg, what comes to mind is proximity, frequency and friendship as much as a heaping amount of individual talent. Art is sharpened against the whetstone of being shared and discussed, giving the artist extra ears to “hear” their creation through the perspective of the listener and audience. At an art salon, you come away a little more engaged in the creative spark waiting to be ignited in the unseen bits of the world all around you. 


  1. This is such a great idea! So inspiring. And what a great way to encourage and sharpen one’s craft in the presence of like-minded individuals. I really want to try this. (Now as to who I could invite…what are the odds than any of these British footballers are closet painters and poets?)

    p.s. In the English department at college, we girls were always struck by the reference to ‘contemporaries’ of the past–as above, Hemingway, Stein, Picasso, Ginsberg and Kerouac–and we always wondered at how such gifted, prestigious talents found each other. We liked to refer to ourselves as contemporaries from that point forth: ‘My contemporary Natalie has recently been working on…’ ‘My contemporary Sharona finds great humor in…’ A salon is a perfect meeting of minds.

  2. I like how you say that you would want to serve small nibbles instead of large dishes at an art party. It would probably be better to have something to snack on. My sister is planning an art party, so she’ll have to serve small plates.

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