A Post for Gallery Owners | How To Work Successfully With Artists

Today’s post is from a little different angle than normal RedDot articles. Today I would like to speak directly to other gallery owners. Though most of my posts are directed to artists, I know that I also have a good number of gallery owners who follow the blog – I appreciate the comments and perspective these gallery owners have offered in comments. I’m offering this post to these gallery owners, but also to the many other gallery owners out there who may come across the article.

Today I want to share some advice about working with the artists that you represent. I want to be very careful about my tone – I don’t mean to imply that I know anything more about this subject than anyone else or that I’ve perfected my relationship building skills with the artists I represent. The reality is that much of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned by making mistakes, mistakes that I continue to make from time to time. Today I would simply like to share what I’ve learned and begin a discussion about how we can all better work together.

This post is born of some discussions I’ve had with artists and some tales I’ve heard over the years about the challenges artists and galleries face in their relationships. It’s amazing to me the discomfort, discord and even animosity that can rise between artists and gallery owners and staff, and if we can start a discussion that helps decrease the tension in some way, I’ll feel it’s been worth the effort.

Obviously, not all of the challenges are created by the galleries – artist’s can just as easily foul up the works. If you look back over past blog posts you’ll see that I’ve spent a lot of time encouraging artists to work with their galleries in a more professional manner. Today I’ll turn the tables.

Perhaps the most important things I’ve come to realize over the years is that we all share the same goal: helping collectors bring art into their lives. As we do so, we all benefit from the sales to those collectors. The better we work together, the more successful we will all be.

Communicate!

I’m convinced that most of the problems that arise between galleries and artists arise out of a lack of communication. I know that managing communication with your collectors takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, and that you can feel like you don’t have the bandwidth to spend a lot of time communicating with your artists. It’s amazing, however, how a little bit of effort to interact proactively with your artists can result in a dramatically more successful relationship.

callIt’s easy to fall into a routine where you only talk to an artist when absolutely necessary, and the next thing you know a year or longer has passed since you’ve had a conversation with an artist. When this happens, inventory tends to get stale and the energy of the relationship fades.

I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I’ve been guilty of failure to communicate, but I’ve learned that whenever we put effort into reaching out to our artists we are rewarded for the effort. If you don’t believe me, pick up the phone right now, dial one of your artist’s phone numbers and  say “Hi – I’m just calling to see what’s new!” Tell the artist about reaction you’ve had to his/her work and find out what’s new out of the studio.

It’s obviously even more important to be clear and abundant in your communication if you are planning a show for an artist. Make sure you are crystal clear as you communicate deadlines and promotional requirements.

Get Organized

Another area of conflict arises if you aren’t well organized in your business. Specifically, if you are well organized in your inventory management you will avoid a host of problems as you work with your artists and collectors. A very common complaint I hear among artists as they talk about their experiences with galleries is that a gallery has lost a piece of artwork.

This is a baffling situation for an artist. How can a gallery lose a piece of artwork? It’s understandable that a gallery with hundreds or even thousands of pieces of work in inventory may have to work to find a piece, but, unless the work is microscopic, you shouldn’t lose it!

I suspect that most artwork that goes missing in action was either removed from the gallery by the artist or shipped to another venue without the proper paperwork being created.

Make sure you have a good inventory tracking system in place and that there is never a scenario where new artwork is arriving in the gallery or old artwork leaving without some kind of paperwork being created to note the move.

The goal should be that, at a moment’s notice, you can generate a list of current inventory that matches the actual inventory you have on hand.

Again, we are far from perfect, but we strive to create a certain level of discipline when it comes to inventory control. It’s a lot of work, but it saves a lot more work that will rise when you let your inventory records fall behind.

Plan

A simple show planning calendar showing deadlines leading up to an artist's exhibition
A simple show planning calendar showing deadlines leading up to an artist’s exhibition

Another huge key to success in the gallery business is planning. It’s easy to become complacent with your business, especially if you’ve been at it for a while. Don’t just let business happen, plan! At least annually you should be sitting down to plan out your show schedule and other promotional efforts.

Don’t just put dates on a calendar and call it good, make sure you set up checklists for each event with deadlines for you and the artists you are working with so that you can all work together to build your success.

Communication becomes absolutely critical when you are working together toward an exhibition or other special promotion.

Become a Better Salesperson

Our business revolves around sales – as gallery owners we have to make sure that we and our staff are the best possible salespeople that we can be. Some sales expertise comes with experience, but there’s always more that we can be doing to hone are salesmanship skills.

While selling art is a unique process, it’s not so unique that we can’t learn salesmanship skills from other industries. A quick review of the business section of a bookstore will reveal numerous salesmanship guides that can be read and the knowledge adapted to your gallery.

I remember, early in my career as a gallerist, reading books by Zig Ziglar and other sales experts that opened my eyes to the techniques of salesmanship. Any investment you make in honing your salesmanship will be returned to you many times over in increased sales over the years.

Pay Your Artists Quickly and Reliably

This is a big one. Artists are thrilled when they hear a piece has sold. They are even more thrilled the moment the check arrives. The faster you can get the check into the artist’s hands, the more excited they will be. Excitement translates into better work for your gallery, goodwill, and reputation.

I understand that, as gallery owners, we have to manage cash flow and that you have to be careful to avoid problems if a piece of artwork is returned. It’s become a pretty common practice in the industry to have a 30 day turnaround on artist payments to insulate against returns.

emptymailboxWe were long on a 30 day float for artist payments until my gallery director, Elaine, encouraged me to rethink the policy. Having managed an artist’s business for many years, she convinced me that it would be good business to accelerate the payment. I wasn’t comfortable writing a check to the artist the day the sale happens – we do run into payment or returns from time to time – but we figured out that if we paid as soon as the artwork was delivered to the client’s home and the client had accepted the work and expressed satisfaction with the piece, we wouldn’t run into too many problems.

Our practice now is to contact a client as soon as we receive confirmation of delivery from our shipper to make sure the piece has arrived safely and that they are satisfied. Doing this is actually also great customer service – it lets your client know you care beyond their payment.

Once we’ve received confirmation of delivery and satisfaction from the client, we add the artwork to our list of payables and issue payment on our next weekly check run. This system makes it so that instead of receiving a check 35-40 days after a sale, our artists can expect to receive payment 10-20 days after a sale in most cases – a huge difference.

Nothing will frustrate an artist more than having to wait for an extended period, or feeling like they are having to hound you for payment.

I understand that cash flow can be complicated in this business, but I can promise you that if you will prioritize paying your artists quickly you will see the benefits in your business.

If you are using artist’s commission to cover bills, you are masking problems in your cash flow. Worse, once you get behind, it gets harder and harder to catch up.

Treat The Artists You Work With Like Customers, or Even Better, Like Family

I’m going to try to say this without getting myself into too much trouble. I know that working with some artists can be . . . . challenging. Some artists are . . . . . quirky, disorganized, and maybe even slightly neurotic. Sometimes artists will let you down. Sometimes they will make mistakes in their business practices that will drive you crazy.

I try to remember that with artists there is yin and yang. You wouldn’t get the brilliance and creativity if you didn’t also get the challenges – it’s all part of the package.

I figure that, as a gallery owner, it’s part of my job to learn how to work with artists in difficult situations. I try to approach my relationship with my artists by treating them the same way I would treat a client – I want to get to know them, figure out their strengths and weaknesses and find the best ways to communicate on an individual basis with each artist.

As you strive to do everything I’ve talked about in this post, you’ll find that your relationships will stand on firmer ground. As you work together you’ll build relationships that will eventually come to feel like family. It’s at that point that amazing things will happen in your gallery.

What Do You think About the Artist/Gallery Relationship?

To the gallery owners reading this post, what have you done to build strong relationships with your artists? What has been the greatest challenge as you’ve interacted with them? I’ve been at this for over 20 years, but I know that many of you have been at it longer – I would love to hear any advice you can give to galleries that are striving to build better relationships with their artists.

To the artists reading this post, what have you seen galleries do well as they work to interact with you or with other artists? What do you wish galleries understood better about you as an artist? What do you think galleries could do to increase their success in working with their artists?

Share your comments below!

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About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of Dad was an Artist | A Survivor's Story and best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of reddotblog.com, and founder of ARTsala. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business. Connect with Jason on Facebook

31 Comments

  1. love this, as an artist who also owns a gallery to boot, I agree! I also pay my artists quickly as I remember those days waiting a long time to get paid. I feel we can relate very well with one another as we have a common goal, sales!

    1. LOL, I was just going to comment on how quickly Tracy Miller Gallery pays its artists! I really appreciate that, and am thankful for all the good galleries who represent me. Thanks, Tracy!

  2. Two frustrations I have run into are galleries displaying small scale art in areas not accessible for up close viewing, such as near the top of the wall and even over an entry door. The same gallery said I was overpriced for their upscale market and was told why do you think they have so much money, they don’t like parting with it. Funny, one client from that same area sought out my work at a gallery 30 miles away and had no issue with the price. To top it off they don’t trust artists with any client info. I would gladly send my interested patrons gallery specific emails to let them see what I am offering through their local gallery. Not a chance there either. Then they wonder why I have lost interest in spending money on their art comptetitions.

  3. As usual, a great post, Jason. As an artist, I have to agree (and I’ll come right out and say it): sometimes working with artists is like herding cats. Just ask any officer of any artists’ association. LOL We’re not easy. By far the hardest thing about being a professional artist for me is the left-brain business stuff…The Paperwork. I deeply appreciate the people who remind me of deadlines, then Hold Me To Them. They are saints and lifesavers all in one.

    For you gallery owners, wow. Listen to Jason and build those tight relationships. I will work so much harder for people I care about. I’m not saying that’s a good way to be, but it’s still true. It’s so important that, while looking for a gallery that might be a good fit in Durango, CO several years ago, I found a lovely gallery that was a possible match. On a second visit, I lingered, looked at artwork more closely, thought about how things were displayed, etc. while waiting for the gallery representative to finish her conversation with one of their current artists so I could ask her some questions about representation. When she realized I was waiting, she got up abruptly, leaving the artist hanging without even saying excuse me and hurried over to ask if she could help me. Obviously, she hadn’t “made” me as an artist yet. I said I was fine with waiting and to please finish up with the other person, but she declined, saying, “Oh, no. That’s just one of our artists,” in a very dismissive tone of voice.
    My reaction? I asked her a question about one piece that particularly intrigued me to cover my instant dislike, thanked her, and left. Inside, I was thinking, gosh, that was rude, right there in that artist’s hearing. If she doesn’t even bother with the basic respect one gives a stranger, how will she be if she and I have to deal with each other over the phone or by mail? (This was when cell phones weighed two pounds and were rarely seen.) Then I wondered if it was an artist whose work I had really liked. (*Sales opportunity down the tubes if I’d been a customer.*)
    I loved Durango, my old stomping grounds, and it really was a nice gallery, but I had no desire to ask her how I might submit my portfolio for revue or even research it further. Even if I had been looking for art to buy, I would have been uncomfortable with the way she had treated her Just-An-Artist and much less inclined to buy. After all, Just-An-Artists probable produce Just-Art, don’t they?
    As a professional artist, I look for people I can share my art with, people who are excited about my art, about our work together and about all the things we can accomplish. I know it takes time and effort to build relationships like that. I know I have to work hard at not acting like a wayward cat, but those are the business relationships that really work.

    Thanks, Jason. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Kate, I was in a very reputable gallery in Durango and was in the company of many well-known artists. They took everything I had when I first walked in the door, but problems developed later. When I initially brought work in, the gallery director insisted I put the name of the piece on the back of the painting (a good practice I still employ along with an inventory number and other info) and attach the price to the back of the piece. Most of the salespeople were college students and did not even know who I was. I offered to attend a sales meeting so that they could put a name with the face, but the director said she had just talked about me at the last meeting so that wasn’t necessary. The gallery had my cards behind the counter. Several times, potential clients went to the gallery to see my work on my advice, but when they got there, the salespeople said they never heard of me. Those were the first red flags. Then, years later, a couple came into the gallery and was interested in a $2500 piece. The salesperson called me to find out the title and price…really? I told them and asked if the couple was still there. They said, “Oh yes, but they’re just going out the door.” I said, “Go get them and let me talk to them.” The response was, “They’ll come back tomorrow if they’re interested.” They did come back the next day, talked to a second salesperson who also called me to ask the price and title after the couple left. That piece never sold from the gallery, but was later purchased by a university through the Art in Public Places Program. I was in the gallery for about 3 years at that point, and they did sell about one third of the pieces on display there, but when that happened I politely went to the gallery and removed all of my pieces. I left on good terms, but never went back. I know I’m not well-known, but that doesn’t mean the gallery salespeople should not know who I am. Also, galleries need to educate their salespeople about the value of clear communication and how to conduct a sale, as you mentioned, Jason.

    2. Kate –
      “As a professional artist, I look for people I can share my art with, people who are excited about my art, about our work together and about all the things we can accomplish. I know it takes time and effort to build relationships like that.”

      You couldn’t have said it better!

  4. Thanks so much for writing this post Jason. First time I’ve read a post written for gallery owners. As an artist, the thing that I sweat over the most is when will I get paid after the sale. In my experience, There were sales that I was never informed about. That might have been poor record keeping on the gallery’s part. Other times, months went by without payment and I suspect, by what you say here, that the gallery may have been using artists’ commissions to pay their bills.

    Artists – the good ones – will leave a gallery that doesn’t not work hard for them and send the check in a timely manner.

  5. I’m an artist with a gallery representing 40 east Texas artists. The majority of them were friends before I opened. Mixing friendship with business is sometimes challenging, but mostly they’re so happy that someone’s willing to do all the “work” that they’ve been amazing. Occasionally there are issues that arise and so far, we’ve been able to work through them. You find out quickly who’s a diva and/or is humbled by acceptance into a gallery. Somewhere there’s a middle ground.
    I send group emails out sometimes just to update my artists on what’s coming up and how sales are going. I also remind them to send family and friends into the gallery when shopping.
    As for payment, my contract states all payments will be made within 10 days of the beginning of the next month ( if they sell on March 3 or 31, they’ll have payment no later than April 10). However, I am excited to contact them that there were sales so usually their checks are ready by the 2nd or 3rd of the month. It’s funny, though. Most of them drop in to collect their check, but some will wait a couple of weeks and stroll in at their leisure. Others, I mail, but I’m fortunate to have so many who live close.
    It’s a rewarding experience, but thankfully, your blogs have given me many tools that I desperately needed. Keep them coming.

  6. I manage a non-profit, small gallery in Hawaii.
    Have seen the moody, temperamental, disorganized and slightl neurotic artists. I try to let artists know that I understand
    “Their quirky moods ” I am an artist too.
    Also I pay our artists the first of the month -checks go out.
    The only time I have paid artists before the end of the month is if it was a high dollar amount. We don’t have many .
    Our gallery has a high number of new artists that do not have a track record of having sales. This is their chance to get started.
    We have monthly shows to encourage ideas. This month is Pele –
    Earth, Wind and Fire. Mostly volcanoes.

  7. True, true, and true… On all accounts. I have a great business relationship with my current gallery representing me. After reading this, I can say… They are on the right track – and I think artist reading this need to understand art is a business and galleries are in the business of art – when you find a good gallery – be there for them and not a time waster or energy zapper – it can be a relationship killer and even damage your reputation down the road as an artist.

  8. When I was represented by one gallery several years ago, we had social get-togethers a couple of times a year where I got to know and develop personal relationships with the other artists as well as the owners. It’s unusual for all the artists affiliated with a particular gallery to come together for the same event, so that made the parties even more valuable. It was not only a great deal of fun, the friendships I made are still going strong years later. The gallery was sold, but the original owners still come to all my shows. I highly recommend this as a terrific way to build and maintain artist-gallery relationships.

  9. My perspective is a bit different as I only hold two shows per year from my regional gallery in Braidwood, rural Australia. I specialize in giving emerging artists who work on paper or in textiles their first “big” solo show. They need to make around 40 new works for the space and so it is usual for them to work towards a show with me over a two-three year lead time. During that time I work intensively with the artist on a prepared schedule that we agree at the outset. We discuss everything in detail and the costs of preparing and presenting their show are kept transparent to us both throughout the lead up.
    I aim to have a sell-out show for them but that is by no means guaranteed of course. However, they do get to compile a useful portfolio (photos/advertising/illustrated price list of their works, and more recently a 20 page photoessay book of their studio practice photographed professionally and published by me under the gallery imprint. The photoessay sells for cost price ($25 AUD) in limited edition during the show and makes a great gift for the artist to give as a thank you to those who have helped them get to the point of a solo show. The goal is for them to successfully pitch a show to a metropolitan gallery within 12 months of showing with me.
    Over the past 11 years I have had lots of opportunities to learn about the benefits and pitfalls of my model (one artist booked in for two years advised me 6 months from opening that she had “unfortunately” sold the key work she had spent 18 months making because she “needed the money urgently” and then realised she did not have time/energy to make it again in time for her show. Naturally her show was cancelled and so was my respect for her as a professional artist. Had she spoken to me first and alerted me to her problem, I could probably have arranged a pre-purchase of the key work as a loan to her; she would have had the money and I would still have had a show for her. But it was not to be. There were many lessons to be drawn from that experience for me: chief among them was that even with a long lead time a show is not “on the wall until it is on the wall”. Fortunately I have a second model for my shows where I take work on consignment from a famous Sydney gallery specializing in works on paper and those shows can be put together relatively swiftly. Over the years that has allowed me to show original works by Miro, Chagall, Picasso and Dali ( wonderful experience for a regional rural audience).
    I rent my gallery space between shows to another gallerist who shows her photography and runs a great mid-century inspired vintage shop. In return for reduced rent she packs up twice a year and I reclaim the space for my shows. We are two galleries in one location and our activities complement each other brilliantly.
    When people ask me what I do between shows I can honestly say I am working on my next shows (currently booked out to 2018) with the various artists lined up and also working every day on line to promote and sell for the ones I have previously shown.
    And, yes, I keep meticulous records and pay my artists as soon as possible at the end of a show.

  10. I love your article, Jason! This is why I conduct THE ART OF SELLING ART WORKSHOPS in Southern California. I own a GALLERY WITHOUT WALLS and am based in Pasadena, CA. As the daughter of artists I believe that gallery people and artists should learn how to close a sale. Most traditional galleries do not seem to train their staff in how to do this!!! One of the things I do is to coach artists and gallery owners in how to close. I pose as a customer and they get up in front of me (and the group) and try to sell me their work in the non-threatening workshop environment. Artists and gallery owners learn why they are not able to sell. I have sold as many as 85 pieces in one year…without selling online or in a traditional gallery (I don’t have one). This is all in person. Isn’t that difficult once you learn how.

  11. Hi Jason, very glad to read this as I am a gallery owner and an artist.
    Having been on both sides of the business gives me a better understanding with the artists I represent. We are partners in the selling of their art. I know that without the top of the line artists in my gallery that my business would be lacking. I treat them with that respect and understanding, regularly thanking them for creating their wonderful art. I try to keep them in the loop when I get admiration for their work as they don’t get to hear it, they’re busy making the art while I’m lucky to listen to the clients’ praises. I do make it easy on myself by selecting artists that are easy to work with! That’s as important to me as the marketability of their artwork. It creates the energy I want in my gallery and its a joy to talk about the artwork of each one. I’m happy to consider many of my artists to be friends after working closely with them and getting to know them.
    Being more organized and having a more detailed plan in preparing for shows is a tip that I can certainly use. And I will be looking for the Zig Zigler books. I have enjoyed coming across his quotes but haven’t read his books yet.
    I pay my artists on the first of the month for all sales made the previous month. This is a business for the artists, not a hobby. I’ve experienced it myself when galleries haven’t paid me on time, and I hear stories from many artists of well-known galleries not paying on time, and the artist having to badger them to get paid, even months later. That will definitely make an artist wary of all galleries.

  12. The most successful galleries I am familiar with are usually manned by the owners. No owner can be there every hour so it is necessary to hire staff … that is often where the disconnect begins to unravel. Ideally, the person has an art background of some level, but at the very least is a pleasant salesperson with high communication/people skills. Too often the person only answers the phone, is indifferent, does not know the artists, and is so unprepared they have no idea how or where to find critical information. It is appalling galleries hire such people to represent them and expect sales and reputation. That minimum wage/minor commission chair warmer is costing you dearly.
    Artists, lose the attitude and lack of professionalism. You must provide your gallery with all tools and information they need to promote you. If you’re difficult or disorganized don’t expect your gallery to expend more energy on you when the next artist is agreeable and easy to work with. Anyone here so successful you can afford that kind of attitude?
    We need each other … it is in both our interests that galleries prosper.

  13. Excellent article. Having had just one less-than-pleasurable gallery experience, I’m beyond blessed today w/ galleries whom I have excellent relationships with.

    On another note, I wish your pop up “subscribe to the email newsletter” wouldn’t pop up when we already get the newsletter…just sayin.’

  14. Jason, good content as usual. I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but isn’t the gallery’s website a part of the gallery-artist relationship as well? What I am referring to is the quality of their website and how well it represents an artist. Is this perhaps a different topic? Thank you.

    PS I have been to many gallery websites where the information about the artist and their work currently available in the gallery is less than forthcoming. Perhaps some of this has to do with artists who do not provide the gallery with the information they need ..??

    1. Great comment. Jason, you have spoken out about the importance of the internet in art now, but amazingly, I have had the experience of a gallery being unorganized about their site. They showed my work on the site with a few shots only, though they took quite e few paintings, displayed them with my last name only, and never updated them. In addition, there was absolutely NO place they supplied information about me. It was as if they were trying to hide who I am from clients and who clients are from artists to the point of anonymity for me. They were also slow to pay, had no inventory system or accounting of what paintings sold, or for how much. Even though they eventually paid me, and I found out that they did sell for me rather than warehouse the work, I was so soured by this I almost never looked beyond them for another gallery. One bad apple….

      I have a website I built and maintained my self, and it is not that hard to update when an artist can send you high quality digital photos that upload fast. It amazed me that they did not do it nor have the person who did do it for them. If I have to do all the advertising through my site, why do I need them?

      1. An unfortunate situation, and exactly the reason I’ve written this article. Let me assure you though that this gallery is not representative of the rest of us. There are certainly going to be galleries that don’t do as much for you as you deserve, but others will go above and beyond.

        You are right that you can do a lot of advertising and drive business on your own, but a good gallery has the power to give exposure to your work to qualified, interested collectors at a level that would be difficult to replicate through advertising along.

  15. What I see here from an artist’s point of view, might be the reason for unpleasant experiences or problems between gallery owner and artist, are different personal values and skills. If there is no match between gallery owner and artist of certain values, like equal respect for every person for example, honesty, or skills like taking full responsibility, being organized and communicate well, then there will be problems for sure. It is like in a marriage, in a relationship to a friend or even to your children: if one of them does not respect the partner, the partner will not be very willing to act respectful in return and they’ll have trouble. If one of them does not take full responsibility for her/his actions, there will always be problems, as there will be unpleasant experiences if one is disorganized or does not communicate well. To me it is a partnership between gallery owner and artist and both have to work in a team in order to successfully reach their common goal. Unfortunately, a value and skill scanner we can use to check out the other person before entering a business relationship doesn’t exist yet!

  16. If you want to know if you are being paid on time, and that the gallery is charging the right amount ask for a copy of the sales receipt. Jason, do you provide your artists with this? If not, why?

  17. Great article Jason! I’ve definitely seen poor gallery websites out there in my search. For me a website creates a big first impression. If it’s poorly designed or uninformative it makes the gallery seem amateur and unprofessional, and frustrating to the potential customer. It tells me there’s a better chance potential clients will walk away annoyed or frustrated. As an artist I don’t feel like they are really trying to sell artwork. I keep my website updated. They should too!

  18. From an artist’s point of view: For a number of years I worked with a very successful gallery until the owners’ decision to retire. This was a dream relationship for an artist that I have yet to repeat. When I delivered work to the gallery I was often invited to stay for lunch. Once a year the gallery owners hosted a fabulous dinner for their artists at the home of one of the owners. This fostered a tremendous sense of family not just with the owners, but the other artists as well.
    I always felt valued and respected as an artist and the gallery always managed to communicate that their success was predicated upon what I was offering, not the other way around.
    When it came to payment, without exception I was paid promptly. Never more than 10 days. In a few instances the gallery paid me before they had even received payment form the client. These of course were clients with whom they had a long and experienced relationship.
    Needless to say, these qualities and more resulted in flat out loyalty from me. Not surprisingly they were always the first to receive my best efforts. It was quite a blow when they decided to retire and close the gallery. In the time that has followed this stellar relationship I have yet to work with a gallery that has even come close to matching their skillful and human approach to doing business with artists………….but I keep looking.

  19. Dear Jason n,
    I am currently in Arizona, from Cape Breton, NS CA hoping to drop by sometime this month and say hi to you ( but not when you are busy!).
    As a Gallery owner I send out emails to all the artists several times before the seasom and once a month to tell them how the Gallery is doing with visitation and sales. I currently send out a cheque on the 15th of each month, but I like the idea of paying sooner. I also like to keep them up with plans for the gallery. For instance, what I am doing to reduce the impact of road works on the 5 km stretch in front of the gallery this summer.. Letting them know I am spending my commission on helps them know I am working hard for them.
    Hope to see you sometime this month.
    Penny Steele

  20. Another spot on post and it’s a very interesting read for an artist. I will say this, that when a gallery is obviously working extra hard to represent me I feel more inspired to double my efforts as well. The harder they work the harder I work. It’s not just intentional either. More that they are an inspiration. The only time I have had a problem I just wished they had been more upfront with me sooner that there was something wrong. It would have made things more amicable if I had known. So to any galleries out there even bad news is still best shared. Don’t try and hide what’s going on!

  21. Thank you Jason for acknowledging the importance of inventory paperwork!!!
    Many times the artists would be reluctant, or even worse be belligerent when asked to complete it when work came in. How will I know anything about the piece if you don’t tell me? Then when work went out –how awful that I asked for a signature documenting that the artist picked it up. In four years I never lost one piece of art. Thank you.

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