By Carolyn Edlund, Guest Blogger – Galleries can be of great assistance to artists. They are your representatives, who display, market and sell your work to collectors. They have contacts and existing customers to whom they can recommend your art. And, they may provide feedback and guidance to help you present a portfolio of artwork that will sell to their audience.
This type of service saves you a lot of time and effort. Your galleries earn their commission by providing a venue, hanging your work, dealing with customers and closing sales. But once you contract to work with a gallery, do you merely hand over your artwork and wait for checks? Hardly. There is more to do, because your galleries will get the best results when you act as a good partner to them.
Relationships are a two-way street. You as the artist can enhance your importance to a gallery, and provide assistance to them by being pro-active. Take these actions to help enable your galleries to sell more of your work:
Refer Clients to Them – Let the public know that the gallery represents you, and recommend that they visit the gallery to view and purchase your art. Include the name of your gallery when you post on social media, in your email newsletters and on your blog. Mention your galleries prominently on your art website, and include their address and phone number. Link to their website – preferably the page where your art is shown.
Make an Appearance – Showing up at openings where your work is being displayed is a must. But appearances can go beyond that. Some galleries have a “meet the artist” series where you may join visitors for coffee and conversation. Others may invite artists to give a talk about their technique or other aspect of their work. Consider having a conversation with your galleries on ways that you can participate in person. The face-to-face connection is powerful. Many collectors love to tell others that they have met the artist in person and have come to know them.
Provide Great Photos – Do you have excellent photos of your artwork, or photos of yourself working in the studio? Make the gallery staff aware that you will be happy to provide these. Compelling images of your art may be used by the gallery on promotional postcards, in ads or even in magazine articles. When you assist your gallery in their marketing efforts, both of you win.
Tell Your Story – The more information the gallery staff has about you, the more they can tell their collectors about your inspiration, technique and background. Is your work based on an amazing concept? How does it relate emotionally to collectors? Have a concise but interesting story written down for use by gallery staff when making the sale.
Share Selling Points – Galleries need lots of information to sell your work, and you should provide this without being asked. What type of materials are you using? Is this an heirloom which will last for hundreds of years? Is there any special care that your work needs? Can it be cleaned easily? Are there special installation instructions? Will it fade in sunlight? Is it tarnish resistant? Archival? Impervious to moisture? Consider carefully what buyers need to know in order to commit to making the purchase, and make a list of selling points. Include this when shipping or delivering your art to the gallery, so they can answer questions knowledgeably and share the benefits of owning your art.
Add Extra Value – Sometimes, small things can increase the perceived value of your work. An original signature on your art is important, of course. A Certificate of Authenticity also acts to convey that the work is from the hand of the artist. Small touches such as an artist’s chop on a piece of two-dimensional art, or words incised on the bottom of a handmade ceramic pot can add value as well.
Plan how you can build solid relationships with your current galleries. Are you providing information, resources and service to them that will help both of you succeed? Each step you take to build that win/win relationship will pay off for your art business.
This article post is a summary of one of the courses which will be presented at the Art Business Workshop. This workshop is being conducted by The Arts Business Institute. This workshop event is co-sponsored by Skidmore College Entrepreneurial Artist Initiative & Saratoga Arts. The Art Business Workshop will be held on April 9th and 10th, 2016. This event will be held at the Saratoga Arts at the Arts Center, 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, New York 12866. For further information on this event and an outline of all of the courses http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/saratoga-springs-new-york.
Carolyn Edlund is the founder of ArtsyShark.com and the Executive Director of the Arts Business Institute. She will be speaking about Gallery Relationships and other art business topics at the upcoming “Arts Business Workshop for the Entrepreneurial Artist” taking place at Saratoga Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York on April 9-10, 2016. This event is co-sponsored by Skidmore College. Students and alumni of Skidmore will be admitted to the workshop at no charge, by contacting Elizabeth Dubben at firstname.lastname@example.org.