Start and run your own art gallery

Do you have a passion for art?

If you have a love for art you may have considered opening an art gallery to showcase the work of various artists. If managed successfully you could generate a reasonable income by taking a commission from artwork sold. The more effort you put into promoting the art you are selling, the more you will sell, thus the more more financialy rewarding it will be, as well as the enjoyment you receive from dealing with the artists you would like to represent and the artwork they produce.

An art gallery owner does not have to confine themselves to promoting just paintings. Works of art come in all shapes and forms. You could also promote the work of sculptors and photographers, even craftwork such as jewellry. pottery or woodwork.

Often the key to succeeding as an art gallery owner lies in the type of art you specialise in.

If the idea of opening a ‘bricks and mortar’ gallery is a little bit daunting, you could always consider establishing an online gallery first and selling artwork via a website. This would be another option but would still require a reasonable investment to ensure that your website projects a professional image and is e-commerce enabled to be able to sell online.

To start an art gallery business there are a number of things to consider. A good business plan should be the first step you should take. Also, it would be wise to get all the information and advice you can from someone who has already established a successful art gallery.

A good reference for anyone aspiring to be an art gallery owner is ‘How to Start and run a commercial art gallery’ written by Edward Winkleman. It’s a comprehensive volume which describes the day-to-day tasks of running a commercial gallery.

Divided into two sections the book covers the steps involved in first setting up a commercial art gallery and also what is involved in running the gallery as a legitimate business. This book successfully combines a sound business approach with a recognition of the importance of passion and individuality in making a gallery a successful venture.

Chapters include information on how to write a business plan, how to find start-up capital, how to find the ideal location for your gallery, and how to renovate and make effective use of the gallery space. Plus you’ll also find information on how to manage your business cash flow, promote and grow the business, attract and retain artists and clients, hire and manage staff, as well as how to represent your artists in a professional manner. The book also includes sample forms, helpful tips from veteran collectors, a large section on art fairs, and a directory of art dealers associations.

The author Edward Winkleman has impeccable credentials. He successfully co-founded his own Plus Ultra Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The gallery name was changed in 2006 to the ‘Winkleman Gallery’ and have often participated in art fairs such as ARCO, Art Chicago, Pulse, Aqua, and NADA, and artists they represent have exhibited in some of the world’s most important venues. He is very knowledgeable about his business and his book should be first on your list for research.

With sufficient knowledge of the artists you would like to deal with, and the artwork you would like to sell, plus how to be prepared on what you can expect running an art gallery business, with dedication and passion for your new business you should be able to establish your own successful art gallery and reap the rewards that being an art gallery owner can bring.