For the seasoned artist who dreams of opening and running a successful gallery, the sky is the limit when it comes to getting excellent exposure for your art as well as for other peoples' masterpieces. Unfortunately, not all art galleries are successful and many are forced to close their doors thanks to a lack of interest, revenue, or both. If you've considered starting a gallery on your own, here are a few tips to help you make it a successful and profitable one.
You can't just hang some paintings on the wall and expect paying patrons to flood through the doors. Marketing, networking, and integrating your gallery into the community are keys to being sustainable. Advertise at local concerts, in magazines, and even at local restaurants. Get to know your neighbors near where the gallery will be. Perhaps the coffee shop next door would be interested in offering a discount for people who attend your grand opening, or the sandwich shop across the street could offer a special art-themed menu on your big day. Get creative about how you can involve other people and businesses around you to get everyone excited about the gallery.
Most small galleries offer paintings and sculptures for sale to the general public. This puts money in the pocket of the artist and it also provides the gallery with some extra revenue. Constantly changing gallery exhibits are a great way to keep people excited about coming back, but you definitely need some anchor pieces that will be part of the gallery's personality and serve as a kind of mascot. Consider a large sculpture or a collection of similarly-themed paintings to hang in the main entryway to be a permanent fixture. These pieces can reflect the personality and style of the gallery and will always be there to greet guests. It also gives the sense that your gallery is here to stay.
Aside from your art gallery being a place where people can view and buy pieces of art, branching out will not only keep your business afloat, but it'll also keep things interesting. Consider offering painting and crafts classes on certain days or evenings of the week. Host special events that will get people excited about coming back, such as special lectures, live artist demonstrations, or even live music and wine tastings. Provide services to customers like art appraisals and restoration services if possible. Anything you can do to expand your gallery outside of the art-viewing format will help you be more viable and more financially successful for the long term.
To get a feel for successful art galleries, visit galleries like Calgary Editions Gallery.