If you want to sell your art – here are some warning signs when checking out a gallery that I found very frustrating. I have had pretty good luck with galleries and shops selling my jewelry but there’s always that “one” bad experience you don’t see coming.
Remember that this is business and not a friendship so you have every right to ask questions and be comfortable with the answers.
- Ask how much foot traffic there is
- How many people are coming to buy the type of art you make,
- How successful is the advertising,
- How do they promote the artists, if you need to pull your art for a show – can you do that,
- When should you expect to be paid if you sell something. If the contract says at the end of the month make sure it doesn’t wind up being sent out on a quarterly basis. Get a verbal confirmation.
- Ask anything that you feel you need to – don’t be shy or fear that you aren’t going to appear nice.
Look around the gallery – is it cluttered, can you see all the pieces really well, is it organized? What does it feel like to you? Is this your style? Your gut will tell you a lot about a place – listen to it!!!
Are the owners/managers organized and can explain the terms to you clearly? One big red flag is someone with a lot of big ideas that is talking fast or you aren’t getting a word in. They may be great ideas but if there are too many, then that means not a lot is getting done. Sometimes people have so many ideas about a business that they can’t focus on a few. (I suffer from this as well and I’m learning to really focus on the “to do list” that is most important.) It’s not good when you have other people’s art that gets caught in the confusion.
If you feel at any time, uncomfortable or taken advantage of – get out! There are more opportunities out there and selling art is hard enough than to complicate it with a frustrating gallery partnership.
If you remain businesslike, then don’t worry if this experience may hurt you or if you’ll get “bad press”.