Types of Galleries
As you search for the perfect gallery, it’s important to understand the different types of spaces and how they operate. The route you choose depends on your needs, the type of work you do, your long-term goals and the audience you’re trying to reach.
Retail or Commercial Galleries The goal of the retail gallery is to sell and promote the work of artists while turning a profit. Retail galleries take a commission of 40 to 50 percent.
Co-op Galleries Co-ops exist to sell and promote artists’ work, but they’re run by artists. Members exhibit their own work in exchange for a fee, which covers the gallery’s overhead. Some co-ops also take a commission of 20 to 30 percent to cover expenses. Members share the responsibilities of gallery-sitting, sales, housekeeping and maintenance.
Rental Galleries The rental gallery makes its profit primarily through renting space to artists and therefore may not take a commission on sales (or it will take only a very small commission). Some rental spaces provide publicity for artists, while others don’t. Showing in this type of gallery is risky. Rental galleries are sometimes thought of as “vanity galleries” and, consequently, don’t have the credibility that other galleries enjoy.
Nonprofit Galleries Nonprofit spaces will provide you with an opportunity to sell your work and gain publicity but won’t market your work aggressively, because their goals aren’t necessarily sales-oriented. Nonprofits generally take a commission of 20 to 30 percent.
Museums Though major museums primarily show work by established artists, many small museums are open to emerging artists.
Art Consultancies Consultants act as liaisons between fine artists and buyers. Most take a commission on sales. Some maintain small gallery spaces and show work to clients by appointment.
Alternative Spaces: Where to Show in the Beginning
- Corporate Offices
- City Offices
- Other venues: Churches, university galleries, libraries, upscale bookstores, upscale hair salons, architecture firms, interior design firms, law offices, convention centers, airports and private clubs.
MORE RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS