Millions of people are passionate about art. And most artists are
passionate about having their work admired and appreciated -- and occasionally
purchased. So what is their medium? An art gallery, of course. Gallery owners
have the rewarding career of bringing art and people together.
A love of art is necessary in order to be a successful art gallery
owner. In fact, many owners are artists themselves.
An idea was sprouting in the minds of Vincent M. Grech and some of his
friends. Grech, a painter, wanted to open a gallery to give emerging artists
of all media a chance to exhibit their work.
"I thought it would be a great life experience to be able to open a gallery
exhibiting art by friends, other artists and myself," Grech says.
That vision is now a gallery in Chicago. Grech also has a website where
visitors can view his artwork.
But finding time to run the gallery, organize exhibits, work his day job
and continue to create works of art is, well...difficult at times. "I can't
even begin [to say] how hard it is for me to do this," says Grech.
"It wouldn't be so hard if I didn't have to work my day job -- murals,
faux finishing, gilding, wall finishes, etc. I work during the day. I then
go to the gallery and work on future exhibits and paint in the basement until
12 or 1 a.m."
Planning an exhibit takes thoughtful consideration and plenty of work.
First, Grech has to find a group of artists that clearly complement each
other. Once the date has been chosen for the exhibit, he contacts all the
artists and sends them information packets.
Then it's time to contact the audience. Grech begins making postcards for
the mailing list. The postcards are printed, given labels and stamps and then
sent out. Making posters is also an effective marketing strategy. Grech displays
them in as many stores as possible.
Time to prepare the gallery! "I fill holes and repaint the walls. Then
I'm ready to collect the art from the artist so I can then begin hanging the
work," says Grech.
Each art piece needs a label. Grech gets busy on that, placing each label
next to the work. Then he has to sweep and mop the floors. Promotional packets
are sent to various newspapers. Now Grech can buy refreshments for the opening
Operating an art gallery is challenging, yet certainly rewarding. In today's
information age, many gallery owners are using the Internet as an effective
marketing tool as well.
In fact, strictly online galleries are becoming increasingly popular.
Jeff Johnston is the owner of an online art gallery. Beginning an online
gallery didn't occur to him until he began researching the Internet for a
virtual community of artists. He came up with next to nothing.
This was the birth of his site. Although it's a part-time job for Johnston,
he refers to it as his passion and business. Johnston is dedicated to building
a site where artists can display their work.
"I spend anywhere from 10 hours a week to 40 hours, depending on the need,"
Johnston strongly believes in the benefits of an online gallery. "The audience
size of a physical gallery is limited to people who are in the area, whereas
an online gallery is not limited in any way," says Johnston.
"Anyone in the world can come to my gallery. In fact, we have quite an
audience in Japan. At least three percent of our visitors are coming to us
from Japan. A physical gallery...could not possibly hope to get visitors from
Japan on a regular basis."
For Johnston, the online gallery truly is a labor of love. "The artists
own their display area, and I do not charge a commission for the sale of any
artwork," he says.
"I do make money at the gallery through sponsor ads and a small set-up
and design fee, but the artist gets all the benefits of being on the Net without
having to give up any profit of their own."
Johnston is thinking ahead, as most successful owners do. "I have a lot
of plans for the future of the art gallery. My first priority is getting the
capability for credit card processing online, as there seems [to be] a huge
demand for the ability to sell art and reproductions by the artists."
A passion for art, business know-how and public relations skills are all
helpful in opening a successful art gallery. Computer skills are necessary
if you're considering an online gallery.
Both traditional galleries and online galleries have particular benefits.
Many artists and art buyers believe that there is no substitute for seeing
a work of art physically there in front of you. But an artist can certainly
obtain a larger audience by displaying over the Internet.
Traditional and virtual gallery owners do share a similar vision, however.
That is to display interesting works of art to an interested public. Gallery
owners love art. And this is what keeps them going.
How Does an Art Gallery Owner Spend Their Workday?
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