In a perfect world, gallery curators could allow the art to speak for itself. Unfortunately, many people have been predisposed to see art galleries as stuffy and boring. You know nothing could be further from the truth, but how do you convince potential visitors to give art a chance?
Good art can only get you so far. The true connoisseurs will come around regardless, but to draw in the casual consumer, you have to engage them with the ambience of your gallery. Ambience is really just a fancy word for atmosphere, and to achieve that, you need to think about how you engage the senses of the customer.
You need visually appealing art. That’s a given. You also should make sure you have welcoming lighting and wall colors. Is it warm, or is it cold and clinical? Is there something about your gallery that subconsciously makes viewers think of waiting rooms, because that’s not good. Go for soft lights and cream colors, with floors that aren’t too shiny.
Smell is a sense people use constantly, but it can be easy to overlook when designing ambience. Consider going with essential oils to help people in your gallery relax. These oils are all about putting their users in a peaceful state. Something subtle will do the trick without them even realizing it.
It can be easy to feel like gimmicks are below your gallery, but something as simple as finger food can make the place more welcoming. It creates a more holistic experience for visitors, and if they particularly enjoy some of the food, their mind will associate it with your art gallery.
What kind of floors do you use? Whatever the type, from simple carpet to intricate hardwood, this will form an impression and contribute to the overall ambience. No choice is inherently negative, but all choices will bring something different, so decide based on the atmosphere you want.
Maybe art is meant to be viewed in absolute silence, and maybe this will work for some dedicated consumers, but most people want some type of background noise, at least. Go with soft music, just enough for them to be at ease.
The art in your gallery is still, at its core, the most important thing. You have art that’s worth viewing, so all you need is some combination of essential oils, refreshments and music to create a delightful ambience to get people through the doors.