Creative Living Works

Why you should never pay to exhibit

never pay to exhibit

If your are an artist trying to get noticed by the right people, never pay to exhibit your art or be featured in a publication. This will actually hurt your reputation in the art world, not help it. Entry fees are different - they often cover the administrative costs of selecting artwork. The key word there is selecting. Even if the person reaching out to you says they found you based on the quality of your work - this is often untrue. They probably paid for your contact information and haven’t even looked at your portfolio.

Galleries that ask you to pay to exhibit do not care if your work sells, they have already made their money. In fact many will mention that they will not take a commission. At first glance, that sounds like a great deal, in reality - it means they are betting that your work won’t sell.

Beyond the loss of cash and the waste of time, the reputation of these vanity galleries are such they that the inclusion on your CV may turn serious galleries and collectors away. The same can be said for books like “International Contemporary Artists Vol XII” that will seem to be selecting work based on applications, but the truth is, you agree to pay - you're in. This concept devalues your work. In some cases they may go as far as saying there is no fee, but when you read the fine print, you are required to buy book(s) at a hefty price tag.

You are not alone if you have fallen into one of these traps, the important part is to learn from it and to erase the trail from your CV and website. Knowledge is power so sharing this article will help other artists avoid these situations. A good place to consult for authentic calls to art is the CLW white list.

Here is a growing list of known pay-to-exhibit or pay-to-be-published names to avoid. If you know of more instances, please comment below.


  • 100 Contemporary Artists
  • American Art Collector, Alcove Books
  • Art Addiction
  • Art & Beyond Publications
  • Art Biennial
  • Art-Competition
  • Art Connoisseurs
  • ArtExpo
  • ArtNetwork
  • Artoteque
  • Artist Portfolio Magazine
  • ARTslant
  • Artspecifier
  • Artavita
  • Artery NYC
  • Art Unlimited
  • Best of Artists
  • The Genius of Art
  • Inspiration- International Art Book
  • International Prize Canaletto
  • International Contemporary Artists (ICA Publishing)
  • LarkGallery Online
  • Manu Sol Publications
  • Masters of Today
  • Modern Art Community
  • New York Art Group
  • The New Collectors Book
  • Show Artists
  • Studio 25N LLC
  • Working Artist Org.
  • World Art Vision
  • World Wide Art Books

New York:

  • A. Jain Marunouchi Gallery
  • Ashok Jain Gallery
  • Agora Gallery
  • Art Fairs International
  • Artifact
  • Amsterdam Whitney Gallery
  • Baboo Gallery
  • Beijing Arts Space
  • The Broadway Gallery NYC
  • Chelsea International Fine Art Competition
  • Contemporary Art Network
  • Creative Concept Inc
  • Ico Gallery
  • New Art Center
  • NY Arts Magazine
  • NY Art Marathon
  • Viridian Artists
  • World Art Media


  • Art LA
  • The Artists' Alley
  • Galiara
  • Gallery Godo
  • Global Art Foundation
  • James Gray Gallery
  • Laguna Art
  • NorbertEllen Gallery
  • Townley Gallery
  • World Art Foundation


  • 3C Gallery
  • Amsterdam Showcase
  • Art
  • ArtworkX of Mann
  • Barcelona International Art Fair
  • Barcelona Showcase
  • Bienniale Internationals Dell'Arte Contemporanea 
  • The Brick Lane Gallery
  • Camden Art Gallery
  • Contemporary Art of Excellence
  • EAGL Gallery
  • First International Italian Biennale of Creativity
  • Florence Biennale
  • Gabriel Fine Art
  • Gallery Gora
  • Galerie 64 Atelier
  • Global Art Agency
  • Investable Artists
  • Iugte
  • La Galleria
  • Marziart Internationale Galerie
  • New Art Awards
  • Oxford International Art Fair
  • Palm Art Award
  • Parallax Art Fair
  • Paris O15
  • Primo Piano LivinGallery
  • Printspace Gallery
  • Queen Gallery
  • Rotterdam International Art Fair
  • Temporary Gallery
  • Tokyo International Art Fair
  • Vienna Showcase
  • Whitepeaks Fine Art

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