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How To Make a New Friend at a Museum or Art Gallery

How to start a conversation with a stranger in a Museum or Art Gallery

An art gallery or museum can be an excellent place to meet somebody.  There is always something to look at and comment upon to start the conversation. People can talk as much as they like without disturbing the other patrons. If the conversation tapers off the silences to not to be uncomfortable. The course of action has been broken down into a simple step by step process consisting of seven steps

Step one:  Make eye contact
Step two: Smile (a simple natural smile will make you seem friendly and approachable)
Step three:  Comment on the art or the exhibit
Step four:  Introduce yourself (this signals the other person that this is a conversation and not just a passing comment)
Step five: Ask for their opinion on an exhibit
Step Six:  Give the person a complement
Step seven: Ask a get to know you questions

Suggested question that may be appropriate for a museum setting are:

Who was the most influential teacher you had?
What did you do to get pocket money as a child?
If you could see any deceased musician perform who would you chose?
What do you know how to say in a foreign language?
Where is the prettiest place that you have been?
If you had an extra hour every day what would you do with it?
When was the first time you saw the ocean?
If you where an artist what medium would you work in?
What is the best adaptation of a book to a movie?
If you were to write a novel what would it be about?
When you are 80-years-old, what do you think will matter to you the most?
If you had a $1,000,000 to give away, how would you do it?
If you had your own TV network what would you put on it?
What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
What would you buy from a thrift store?
If you had to act your age what behavior would you change?
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
Would you want to be famous if you could not be rich?
If you could instantly overcome one of your fears, what would it be?
Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
What culture not your own do you respect?

It is unlikely that you will need to get to step seven before the conversation is rolling along under its own momentum.

A sample exchange might look like this.
Jamie is at a established gallery looking at a larger mounted photograph when Chris walks and looks at the same photograph:

Jamie looks over at Chris and smiles.
Jamie: “I really like the way that the darker colors contrast with the bright yellows and the blue sky.”
Chris: “Yea, I have to wonder what this picture would look like in black and white.”
Jamie: “I think it would rob the picture of it’s impact. By the way, may name is  Jamie.”
Chris: ”Hi Jamie, My name is Chris”
Jamie: “I really like you jacket, it is a classic”
Chris: “Thanks. It was a gift from my sister”
Jamie: looks back at the photograph and says “what is the best photograph you have taken?”
Chris: “Well, I am not a photographer but I do have some good pictures of my trip Montreal. “
Jamie: “Tell me about it.”
Chris: “Well,  I am not usually awake to see the sunrise but…”

Sometime the arts crowd has a reputation for being a little bit pretentious. Do not try to pretend you are something you are not.  The is nothing wrong with saying something like “I am new to modern art, I am trying to expand my horizons” Most people are happy to teach what they know to someone else. The is especially true for a pretentious person who is looking for a chance to show off how much they know.

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