Gallery Relationships 101

Want to sell your work through galleries? These three tips will help you start a beautiful business relationship.


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1.  Be pleasant to work with. This might seem obvious, but it deserves a closer look. It’s not unusual for artists to look at galleries as adversaries, complaining about the terms of their contract or the percentage of their take. Yet, galleries have many expenses and work hard to promote artists. They may not be raking in those huge profits you assume that they are earning.

An art gallery owner recently made the comment, “I used to work with an artist and sold quite a bit of his work, but he’s so egotistical and annoying. I won’t be doing any business with him anymore. Life is too short. There are plenty of other artists to choose from and I’d rather represent artists whom I genuinely like.”

Take a look at the relationships you are building with the staff of galleries who carry your art. Are you making every effort to be as engaged, helpful and responsive as you can? It won’t go unnoticed.

2.  Follow Up. Staying in touch with your galleries gives you important feedback that can help your marketing, and can lead to more opportunities such as commissions. Is your work selling? Do they need information from you to help them present your work more effectively? Touch base to make sure that everything is going smoothly and provide any assistance you can to help close sales.

3.  Promote your galleries. There are many activities that artists can undertake that help drive traffic to their galleries, and help sell their art. Are your galleries listed on your website, with a link to their site? Do you list their address and phone? This is a basic.

Step up your involvement by sending press releases to their local newspapers and magazines, mailing postcards for their openings that include your art, doing artist appearances or even considering co-op advertising. Talk over ways that you can work together to create sales. When  you help them do their job, and they help you sell your art, it’s a Win/Win relationship.


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