Thanks for the detailed inquiry!
I've done research at exhibiting in 3 different cities. They are similar in their offerings. The opportunity is to exhibit work on the walls of some City designated public spaces, such as City Hall. They have on-going, well lighted exhibits and replace the exhibits approximately monthly. They are not attended exhibits, not even an opening night event, as I understand it. IIRC the City takes no percentage from any sales of this type (except, of course for sales tax). My prices are very competitive.
I've been a fairly successful business owner for well over 20 years and have learned a bit about sales and marketing in that time. Some of the nuances of photography sales are a bit murky due to the particulars of the art market place and the economic constraints in which most now live.
I figure it’s probably exposure, maybe good, but my key concern is about who may notice. On the one hand, there are a lot of people who come and go through City Hall, including notably attorneys and their clients, and anyone with business with the City. Regulars would know about the on going art exhibits. But it’s the kind of place where many have other concerns and are not receptive to art, following the concept known as “Pearls before breakfast.”
In addition, a museum director hinted I would have a better opportunity to get works shown there if I did a show at City Hall first. So it might be a stepping-stone kind of opportunity.
The bad news is that the City takes no responsibility for goods left at the site. Someone could walk off with one or all of my 6’ long spectacular framed panos and no one would try to stop them.
So while I might I accept the risk, I’d like to hear from someone who has tried this kind of venue.