Operating an Art Gallery

Art is charming and exciting; it makes us consider and engage in the ideas around us, and it brings people together to discuss the natural human characteristic: how we think about a representation. Like everything else, however, art needs a space to facilitate its communication to the public.


We can find art in literally everywhere: it can be on the street, at a house, or, simply, at a gallery. Art galleries seem to be the heart of aesthetics. Many artists and art galleries prefer to not talk about what possibly can deform art: money. Yet, it is crucial for artists to continue to create and for art galleries to operate. Will Gompertz, the arts editor of BBC, says in his book, Think Like an Artist, "whatever they do, it is, for one thing, to survive."


Sadly not all artists and art galleries are rich. Small art gallery owners make an average salary of $55,000, and the higher end of salaries is about $94,000 a year. Gallery owners and their teams do so much for the art community. Artists keep creating, yet there are very few buyers. Galleries choose an artist to represent, then they open an exhibition with them and greatly contribute to their publicity. It is like a managership for an actor. They create a persona for the artist.


Just like any other service supplier, galleries get their money in different ways. Sometimes, when a displayed art piece gets sold, artists and galleries share the profits. The rate varies and goes up to 50 percent. When the artist is less-known, or the gallery is struggling with sales, they find another way to earn money. Basically, when the artist's piece is displayed, they get the rent. The rent includes any publicity, like on social media and press.


Most museums, zoos, and festivals require an entry fee. Visitors pay some price competent with what museums ask. This only applies to big galleries like The Metropolitan Museum. They do not sell pieces, but earn enough to operate on entry fees. Pera Museum and Arter in Istanbul are examples of galleries operating under entry fees.


The Met


Sometimes galleries become such a common place for art enthusiasts that they just want to sit down and chat while in awe of the surroundings. Salt Gallery in Galata caught that spark and it offers a massive, nicely decorated cafe. It is an option for non-art lovers too. Their cafes look the best; anyone can agree with that.


Salt Galata


Most visitors also buy something from the souvenir shop, where are many delightful small gifts and take-home pieces meant to bring up memories of their visit. Some art galleries sell cloth bags, postcards, copies of the artworks, and books.

Even though there are many ways art galleries can make money, the economy does not work the best for them. Day by day, the number of collectors, souvenir shop buyers, and gallery and cafe visitors is decreasing. They try to make the best use of social media accounts. Many have more than a few employees working on social media, PR, and HR.


Galleries do so much and get so little nowadays. Their marketing business is improving, but people only follow them online, not in person. Small and indie art galleries are in the wedge of bankruptcy. The number of exhibits they can open is not near the number that they could before the global pandemic. The owner of the MARINARO art gallery, Lauren Marinaro, stated that as a team they are working on Instagram along with in person activities during the post-pandemic. Surely, the pandemic brings lots of responsibilities for them like they don’t have enough.


Works Cited:

Gompertz, Will. “Think Like an Artist”


"How do Art Galleries Make Money? The Role of Galleries in the Art World" ArtyPod, https://artypod.com/how-do-art-galleries-make-money/


"Common Misconceptions Artists Have About Galleries" Art Business, https://www.artbusiness.com/misconceptions-artists-have-about-galleries.html


Russo, Laura. "How Do Small Art Galleries Make Money?" Laura Russo, https://www.laurarusso.com/how-do-small-art-galleries-make-money/

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