Everything Artists Need to Know About Working with Local Art Galleries: A Comprehensive FAQ Guide
Written by Mike Anthony (Goodson Gallery)
8 Commonly Asked Questions about working with Art Galleries as an artist — ANSWERED!
- “I am a new artist how do I get into local Galleries?”
- “What are my chances of selling in a local Gallery?”
- “What are common commissions for selling Art in a Gallery?”
- “Do I need to have an agent when approaching Galleries?”
- “On Average how long will an Art Galleries showcase my work?”
- “What happens if my art does not sell? Is there fees?”
- “What can I do to get more out of being in an Art Gallery?”
- “What are Alternatives to selling in Art Galleries?”
I am a new artist how do I get my work into local galleries?
As a new artist, here are some steps you can take to get your work into local galleries:
- Research galleries: Do your research to find local galleries that showcase work similar to your style and medium. This will help you target the right galleries to approach.
- Build a body of work: Develop a strong and cohesive body of work that represents your style and artistic vision. This will help you showcase your talent and professionalism when you approach galleries.
- Create a portfolio: Put together a portfolio of your work that includes high-quality photographs or digital images, along with an artist statement and resume. This will help galleries assess your work and determine if it’s a good fit for their exhibition space.
- Approach galleries: Contact the galleries you’re interested in working with and ask about their submission guidelines. Some galleries may prefer email submissions, while others may require an in-person appointment. It’s best to arrive in person and introduce yourself to the owner when possible.
- Attend events: Attend gallery openings and events to network with other artists and gallery owners. This can help you build relationships and increase your chances of getting noticed by galleries.
Remember that getting your work into galleries can take time and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you receive rejections and keep working on your craft. Over time, your hard work and dedication will pay off!
2. What are my chances of Selling art in a local Gallery?
The chances of an artist selling their art in a local gallery can vary based on several factors, including the artist’s skill level, the quality of their artwork, the demand for their particular style or medium, the reputation and clientele of the gallery, and the current market conditions. It’s important to note that selling art in a gallery is not guaranteed, and artists may need to build relationships with galleries over time and develop a consistent body of work before making sales. Additionally, galleries typically take a commission on sales, which can range from 20–50% or more, so artists should factor this into their pricing and financial planning.
3. What are common commissions% for selling art in a Gallery?
The commission percentage that an artist should expect to give away when selling their artwork at a local gallery can vary depending on the specific gallery and the artist-gallery agreement. In general, commission percentages typically range from 20% to 50% or more, with the average commission rate being around 40%. It’s important for artists to carefully review and negotiate the terms of their agreement with the gallery, including the commission rate, before exhibiting their work to ensure that they are comfortable with the terms and that they can make a profit on their sales.
4. Do I need to have an Agent before approaching Galleries?
Having an agent can be helpful for artists when approaching galleries, as the agent can use their industry knowledge and connections to promote the artist’s work and negotiate favorable terms on their behalf. However, not all artists have agents, and it is possible to approach galleries independently. Whether or not to have an agent ultimately depends on the artist’s goals, resources, and personal preferences.
It’s important for artists to carefully research and choose an agent who has experience and a good reputation in the art industry. An agent can help an artist with a range of services, such as finding exhibition opportunities, marketing their work, and negotiating contracts with galleries. However, an agent typically takes a percentage of the artist’s earnings as compensation, which can range from 10% to 50% or more, so artists should factor this into their financial planning.
Ultimately, the decision to work with an agent is a personal one that should be based on an artist’s specific needs and goals. Some artists may prefer to work independently, while others may benefit from the additional support and guidance an agent can provide.
5. How long do will an Art Gallery showcase my work on average?
The length of time that art galleries put an artist’s work on display can vary depending on the gallery and the exhibition.
In some cases, galleries may host a one-night or weekend event, such as an opening reception or art fair, where artwork is on display for a short period of time. In other cases, exhibitions may last for several weeks or months, with the artwork on display for the duration of the exhibition.
6. What happens if my Art does not sell? Are there fees?
If your artwork doesn’t sell at a gallery, the specific terms and conditions of the agreement you have with the gallery will determine what happens next. Generally, there may be fees associated with exhibiting your work, such as installation and promotional costs, that the artist is responsible for regardless of whether or not the artwork sells. However, this can vary depending on the gallery and the terms of the agreement.
Some galleries may charge a commission fee for exhibiting your work, which is a percentage of the sale price of your artwork. If the artwork doesn’t sell, you may not owe a commission fee, but you should check the agreement to be sure.
In some cases, galleries may have a policy that allows unsold artwork to be returned to the artist, while in other cases the artwork may remain on display until the end of the exhibition period.
7. What can I do to get more out of being in an Art Gallery?
Being in an art gallery is a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work and connect with the local art community. To get the most out of this experience, there are several things you can do. First, attending the gallery’s showing events can be an excellent way to network with other artists, meet local collectors, and get a better understanding of the gallery’s overall vibe and style. Additionally, taking photo opportunities of your work in the gallery and sharing them on your social media channels can help promote your work to a wider audience and potentially attract the attention of other galleries or local journalists. Be sure to tag the gallery and use relevant hashtags to maximize exposure.
Another way to get more out of being in an art gallery is to participate in gallery-sponsored events, such as artist talks, workshops, or artist-led tours of the exhibition. These types of events can provide additional opportunities to connect with other artists and art enthusiasts, learn new skills, and gain insight into the inner workings of the gallery.
8. What are the alternatives to selling your art in a Gallery?
There are several alternatives to art galleries for selling your art, including:
- Online marketplaces: There are many online platforms such as Etsy, Artfinder, and Saatchi Art that allow artists to sell their work directly to buyers.
- Social media: Artists can use social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to showcase their work and connect with potential buyers.
- Art fairs and markets: Participating in art fairs and markets can provide artists with a direct opportunity to sell their work to buyers and engage with their audience.
- Commissioned work: Artists can create custom pieces for clients, such as portraits or murals, and sell them directly to the buyer.
- Licensing and merchandising: Artists can license their work for use on products such as apparel, home decor, and stationery, or create their own merchandise to sell.