Dos and Don’ts When Visiting an Art Gallery

Art galleries are special places to visit, like museums. The rules of visiting a museum apply here. You don’t want to touch any art or hang around for too long, giving other people a time-limited experience with the gallery. And you certainly don’t want to repeat disastrous mishaps in art history.

1. Do Take a Step Back Before Viewing the Artwork

Artwork is the first thing we notice when we enter a gallery, so waiting until we’ve walked around, taken everything in, and then chosen what we want to view correctly is an absolute must. We want to give other people a chance to enjoy the space and art in it. And we want to enjoy the art and space too. Art galleries are for looking, not for touching.

2. Don’t Interrupt When People Are Viewing Just One Piece

Amazing sculptures, paintings, and installations typically take longer than a few minutes to view. It isn’t fair to break up the viewing time that people have arranged for themselves, mainly if there isn’t a lot of other artwork on display.

3. Do Turn Off Your Cell Phone

Cell phone use is generally frowned upon in art galleries. Even if you’re not having a conversation, you’re taking up special attention to your gadget. Let the gallery be the place you put your phone on silent.

4. Don’t Lean on the Artwork

If art is on display and you can touch it, you should really not lean on it. This is no different than leaning on a wall. It isn’t polite and will not be appreciated or tolerated by museum guards.

5. Don’t Touch the Artwork

Artwork is delicate. It’s the same as petting a dog. If you don’t want to touch it, you probably shouldn’t. If you do, make sure you’re wearing clean and dry hands and feet. A good rule of thumb is: if you’re not into touching artwork, don’t force others to either.

6. Don’t Text While Viewing

Viewing is one of those all-consuming acts that you’ll want to commit to fully and not be distracted by your cell phone, especially since you’ll want to look at the artwork differently than you would in your Instagram feed.

7. Don’t Rest Your Bag on the Artwork

It’s not just bags that you shouldn’t put on the artwork. Be careful with your coat and bag, in general. Don’t let any surface come in contact with the artwork.

8. Don’t Talk Loudly

Art galleries are typically quiet places. If you’re trying to host a meaningful conversation, this is not the place. A gallery is a place to see art. It isn’t the place to talk about how wonderful your latest brainstorming session was.

9. Don’t Put Your Kids Up on the Artwork

Put down the selfie stick, and don’t let your kids engage with the art in the same way. A special place for art is for viewing. Not for climbing. There are plenty of places for your kids to get their hands dirty, jump and play. Let art be art.

10. Don’t Take Pictures Without Permission

It’s common courtesy to ask before you take a picture of a painting or sculpture. And it’s not just a courtesy; it’s also common sense. Some work is protected by copyright, and you shouldn’t be snapping pictures everywhere you go. If you’re at a museum, of course, you should ask. But most art galleries don’t allow photography in the gallery at all.


Art galleries are beautiful, unique, beautiful places to visit. We want to engage with the art rather than let the art engage with us. We want to give other people a chance to engage with the art. So be careful not to engage with art in a way that makes you, other people, or the art itself uncomfortable.

Maya Gallery is the finest gallery for aesthetic paintings, bronze statues, and jewelry collections in Santa Fe for traditional and contemporary discerning art enthusiasts. We are home to numerous pieces of artwork and sculptures that embody the spirit of the Southwest. As a gallery featuring contemporary art in Santa Fe, we’re proud to represent some of the area’s most esteemed artists and sculptors. Head to one of the best art galleries in Santa Fe for your next unique find.

Skip to content