...serenity in motion

Forming equitable (equal) relationships with galleries, what do you get for your commission.

I spent the last two days with owners of The Trails End Gallery in Chewelah WA.  Tim Neilsen invited an organization I am a part of to do a show and I was invited to stay in their home.  We had several conversations about partnerships and shared goals on a local township scale.  We also discussed equitable relationships between business owners such as a gallery director and artists.

As artists, we are used to paying commissions to galleries.  Some ask a considerable chunk more than others, but they offer more bang for their portion than others.  I have paid 45% for next to nothing and 35% for someone who will bend over backwards for artists.  Which is appropriate?

As an artist, we need to consider the costs, but it is important to keep in mind what it is costing the gallery to support us and themselves.  Some galleries also take into consideration what they mean to the town or city where they exist.  That is also a consideration for the artists who want representation.  You might consider that location is everything, but is it?  What good does it do you when they aren’t actually reaching beyond the bodies passing by their doors?

Look at the advertising you get for the percentage that you pay.  Where do they advertise, if at all and with whom?  Are they strictly a social media promoter or do they have a webpage and spend money on articles and paper materials that are hung in outlying areas?  Do they do magazine articles and ads to reach beyond their local?  Is that money well spent if the town isn’t really a destination for tourists?

And finally, what do they ask of you?  As an artist, what is your commitment to them?  How often do they invite you to be there or do they prefer to only represent your inventory and not put a face to your work?  What do you prefer?

I was very pleased with Tim and Nondice, they were amazing promoters and charming hosts.  The show was well attended and the events leading up to the reception caught the attention of people. ( I know because people talked to me about it afterwards)  I hope I gave them an equitable return for their investment, I want to be allowed to stay.