Build Strong Gallery Relationships | Artsy Shark

by Carolyn Edlund

Your business relationships with art galleries should be trusting, positive and profitable.

Art Gallery

Galleries are in business to sell art. You as the artist have a lot at your disposal which can assist your galleries in doing this. When you act as a good partner, you will not only help the gallery with sales; you will build trust and become an important element of their success.

The gallery staff needs your assistance in order to maximize sales, because you know more about your own artwork than anyone else. Share information and collateral you have for this purpose, such as:

Your artist story

What makes your work special? How does it emotionally resonate with buyers? What is unusual or complex about your technique? Do you have a particular concept or message behind your work? Create a document to share with the gallery that includes your artist statement and other vital information to help them build interest in your work and close the sale. A list of selling points or features and benefits can provide powerful reasons why their patrons should purchase your art.

Display and care

Do you have suggestions on how to present your art to its best advantage? Can your paintings hang in different ways? Does your sculpture look best on a lighted base? Provide full instructions, and options so they can make the most of the presentation. And, include information about care of  your art or installation that can be  passed on to collectors.

Visual collateral

One of your greatest marketing assets is a set of excellent photos of your work. These can be used by the gallery in advertising, press interviews, for printing postcards or for their gallery blog. Imagine if you provided incredible photographs of your art in both low and high resolution files for their use. Your work might end up as the image they use to promote an opening, a sale or event at their gallery!

Signage and photographs may be used in a display of your work. This might be a photo of yourself working in the studio, or artwork in progress to help viewers understand how your work is made. When you clearly demonstrate complex, difficult or unusual techniques or show special or rare materials, it can help increase the perceived value of a work of art.

Personal appearance

Another way to assist your galleries is to be available for an opening, event or artist talk at their gallery. One gallery regularly sponsored Saturday morning “Coffee with the Artist” events where artists spoke about their background and inspiration, and engaged in conversation with gallery visitors, and always drew a crowd.

Online support

When your galleries announce upcoming shows, do you make it a point to share this news through social media and on your website? The more you help them, the more reciprocation you will see.

Does your artist website list your galleries? Show the name, address and phone number of the gallery, and include a live link. That link should lead to the page on their website that shows your work.

Press outreach

Mentioning your galleries in an interview is always a good idea, since they are a go-to place to see your artwork. But what if you went above and beyond, and contacted local press in your gallery’s town on their behalf? Send a press release announcing that your work will be exhibited in their space. Include essential information for visitors, and add a quote of your own.

Then, share announcements and news about your galleries in emails that go out to your subscriber list, inviting them to attend your next opening or appearance. Write a blog post about your gallery with news and future events. Follow your galleries on social media, then comment and share their posts to your audience. And, let the gallery know what you have done on their behalf. Ask them about other ways you can be a good partner to them by promoting and marketing together.

Partnerships go both ways

What can galleries do for artists who act as good partners? They can feature the artist’s work in a window, or promote them through a poster, a print or online advertisement or in a direct mailing or an email blast. They may invite you to make an appearance or give a talk. Or they could commit to increasing your exposure by giving your art additional space in the gallery, especially if you have been responsible for helping to bring traffic and buyers in.

Over time, artists and gallerists can develop very strong relationships and friendships too. Working together towards a common goal and finding ways to help the other party succeed is smart business.

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