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HomeArticlesApproaching a Gallery with your Arts: 13 Important Questions you should Ask

Approaching a Gallery with your Arts: 13 Important Questions you should Ask

Approaching a Gallery with your Arts is not hard as you assume!

You’ve reached the point in your artistic career where you have a body of work, are seriously considering selling your paintings, and believe that exhibiting in an art gallery is the next step. How do you start the process of getting your work displayed in an art gallery?

It’s crucial to first understand the process of dealing with and approaching a gallery with your arts. It takes some encouragement, but once you grasp the procedure and muster the guts, there won’t be any issues. Of course, each art gallery will operate a bit differently, and many have their own set of rules, but they all function in much the same ways and approaching a gallery with your arts is easy!

approaching a gallery with your arts

Commission or Outright Sale

Through a gallery, you can sell your work in two different ways. The gallery has the option of purchasing the painting in advance or on a commission basis. Most agreements between galleries and artists are commission-based.

Your artwork will be on show in the gallery for a predetermined amount of time if you receive a commission. Up until the artwork sells, neither you nor the gallery makes any money. At this time, the sale was divided between the two parties in accordance with the commission arrangement outlined in the gallery contract.

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Typical Sales Commission

Art galleries often demand between 30 and 40% of each sale. It simply depends on the particular gallery and the regional art market whether some are pricier and some are lower.

It might be difficult for artists to understand that galleries also need to be profitable. It can be upsetting to learn that someone else received 40% of a sale of your work, but you must keep in mind that they also have expenses. For your art to be viewed, galleries must cover the costs of electricity, rent, and labor expenditures in addition to taxes and marketing. If they do an excellent job of promoting for you, both of you will profit from it.

approaching a gallery with your arts

Gallery Agreements: What to know before Approaching a Gallery with your Arts

In order to safeguard both parties and make sure that everyone is aware of expectations, galleries enter into agreements with artists. While smaller, gift shop-style galleries may have more relaxed agreements, other large galleries have quite strict contracts. In either case, it’s crucial that you comprehend the entire agreement before you sign it.

Here are some inquiries to which you ought to have the answers:

  1. How long do you anticipate the piece will be on display?
  2. When must you begin studying the art?
  3. Will your artwork be featured in a long-term exhibit or a short-term one?
  4. When an artwork is on exhibit, who is responsible for any damages?
  5. What is the commission to the gallery?
  6. How long till you receive payment following a sale?
  7. What happens to any artwork that is unsold?
  8. Will there be sales at the gallery? If so, do you divide the savings?
  9. Can you sell your artwork while exhibiting at the gallery, or is your contract exclusive?
  10. What happens if a client requests that you create an original item specifically for them?
  11. In what ways will the gallery promote you?
  12. What are the requirements for your marketing?
  13. Do you typically receive an inventory report? (Always take a list of the pieces you took with you, along with the retail and post-commission costs.)

Have a trusted friend or your lawyer review the contract if it looks overly complicated before you sign it. Make sure to thoroughly read everything because some of the small print may have a major impact on how you experience the gallery.

Steps for Approaching a Gallery with your Arts

There are a few approaches you might use when you’re ready approaching a gallery with your arts. Don’t be afraid to ask for representation, even if you don’t feel confident doing so. Owners of galleries are constantly looking for fresh talent to display. As the saying goes, the worst they can say is “no,” and you won’t know unless you ask.

  1. Approaching a gallery with your arts can be either of the two ways: “either go in cold and in person” with some images of your paintings, or call ahead to make an appointment.
  2. Sending an email to request an appointment is another choice of approaching a gallery with your arts. Include a few thumbnail images of your work or a link to your website (though this relies on your email being enticing enough for the person to click through to your website).
  3. The “traditional” manner of showing up at the gallery is preferred by many artists. This provides you the chance to get to know the gallery’s owner or manager and gives you the opportunity to win them over with your personality and your art.
  4. They are highly likely to spend the time to look at your artwork if it is original, imaginative, and well-executed.
  5. On weekends or in the evenings, avoid appearing. Instead, pick a time when the company is less crowded, like a weekday afternoon.
  6. Don’t steal original works of art. Having one or two small pieces in the car may be convenient, but carrying a canvas through the entrance is unattractive. Bring a printed copy of your portfolio or a few copies of your work instead.
  7. Take on the “persona” of an artist. In the realm of art, appearances and first impressions count for a lot, so you’re marketing both your art and yourself at the same time. While being your eccentric artist self, dress nicely.

For larger galleries, it might be best to call and request an appointment. It’s sometimes best to not assume that the decision maker will have time to speak with a potential artist because they might not always be available.

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Who Determines the Price?

Once more, every gallery is unique, but generally speaking, gallery owners collaborate with artists to find a retail price that both of you are happy with. They frequently have opinions on how much the piece is worth on the art market, so you may often tell them what you would like to get after commission.

One of the most awkward discussions to have when approaching a gallery with your arts can be this one. Pricing is not often an artist’s strong suit and can be a sensitive topic. But you also have to understand that most gallery owners are familiar with the local art market because of their extensive expertise.

You should be conscious of the fact that certain people will try to take advantage of you as an artist. Be on the lookout for duplicitous gallery owners, stay alert, and never consent to anything that makes you uncomfortable without first consulting outside counsel. There are both excellent and subpar gallery proprietors. Your task is to eliminate the undesirables.

approaching a gallery with your arts

Frequently Asked Questions about Gallery Agreement

Can you enter a Gallery by yourself?

Entry to practically all commercial art galleries is free. That alone should persuade you that this is only an exquisite repository of ideas that you are free to explore.

What is the 70/30 guideline in art?

Large shapes make up 70% of the painting, while little shapes make up 30%. (details of the scooters.) The observer would not know where to look and the artwork would become pretty boring if this composition was split into 50/50 of each.

Should Galleries charge a fee for Admission?

Admission is free to visit non-museum art galleries that sell works of art. Additionally, many art museums—whether or not they bear the name of a gallery—don't charge a fee for general entry. For special exhibits, there are entry prices, nevertheless.

What should I say at an Art Opening?

1. Request an introduction to the gallery owner from the artist.
2. Request that the artist discuss you and your artwork with the gallery owner.
3. By yourself, introduce yourself to the gallery owner, identify yourself as the artist's friend, and suggest that since they enjoy the artist's work, they might also be interested in yours.


Final words on approaching a gallery with your arts, simply put, there is no assurance that your artwork will sell in a gallery. Much of it relies on the number of patrons the gallery receives, the amount of promotion they conduct, and how many people are interested in purchasing your work.

Some painters have excellent gallery sales. They have spent the effort to select the best galleries for their particular style of work, price it fairly, and provide a finished product (such as framing) that buyers adore. Other artists may find that the intimate setting of art fairs is a better market for their work since they do not fare as well in the gallery setting.



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