Is Showing your Art in a Co-op Gallery Worthwhile?

is it worth showing your work in a co--op gallery?

Earlier this week, I wrote a post about the advisability of showing your work in a “vanity”gallery. This post has already received a lot of attention, comments and questions. I appreciate the input from the community and the willingness to share personal insight from past experiences.

In the comments, it became clear that there is some confusion, or at least a blurry understanding, of the difference between a pay-for-display (“vanity”) gallery and cooperative galleries. I feel it would be a good idea to continue the conversation by expanding it to cover this second type of gallery.

Let’s begin our conversation about co-op galleries with some definitions. As I said, there was some confusion about the difference between “vanity” galleries and co-op galleries. It’s easy to see how the confusion could arise, because both of these types of galleries charge some kind of fee or due in order for artists to display their work. A “vanity” gallery, however, is typically a private, for-profit operation that derives a significant portion of its total revenue from the ongoing fees paid by artists to display their works. In essence, the gallery charges a kind of rental fee for the space where an artist will display his or her work.

A co-op gallery also charges for participation and display of work, but typically this charge is a membership fee, rather than a rental fee. The co-op gallery is typically (and I say “typically”, because there are many different models for cooperative galleries) a group of artists who have come together to provide a venue where they can jointly display and sell artwork. Sometimes the group of artists will be part of a formally organized community art group or art guild. Other times the artists will have organized themselves around the gallery itself.

Because the co-op gallery is self-organized, members are often required not only to supply artwork to the gallery, but to work in the gallery on a regular basis. Member-artists will man the sales floor and handle the business operations of the gallery.

Depending on the location of the gallery and gallery overhead, the fees to participate in a co-op gallery are usually moderate, significantly lower than a fee-for-representation gallery.

Most major cities, and many smaller cities and towns will have a co-op gallery. In some areas that can’t sustain a commercial art gallery, a co-op gallery may be the only fine art venue available to the community.

So, is it worthwhile for an artist to show in a co-op gallery?

In many ways, the same considerations I mentioned in last week’s post on “vanity” galleries apply to this question. There are additional considerations as well. Let’s look at the advantages first.

Advantages of Showing in a Co-op Gallery

  • Co-op galleries can provide a great way for artists who are early in their careers to get exposure. Because a co-op gallery is based on membership and community rather than purely profit, it’s often the case that artists who may not have enough experience, or who are still developing style and quality, can show in a co-op gallery when they might not find representation in a commercial gallery.
  • The opportunity to work in the gallery and get sales experience is a great chance to learn the sales side of the business. I’ve always found it advantageous to work with an artist who understands this side of the business. Artists who have worked in co-op galleries understand not only the sales side of the gallery business, they often also have experience with the logistics of operating a gallery. This kind of experience will help you build a better business as an artist because you will better understand what buyers and galleries need.
  • A co-op gallery can provide a sense of community. You will get to know and work with other members of the co-op and will thus create a network of artists in your community. These artists can help you when you have questions for face challenges in your career.
  • Well-established co-op galleries can actually be quite good at selling work in the community. While I’ve never met an artist who built thier long-term success solely on their sales from co-op galleries, I’ve met many artists who supplement their income with steady sales from a co-op gallery.

Disadvantages of Showing your Art in a Co-op Gallery

  • Because co-op galleries give a venue to a wide range of artists, the consistency of work in a co-op gallery can be hit-and-miss. You may be showing your work with some of the top artists in your area, as well as with artists who are just beginning to create. This inconsistency can be a hamper to sales for the gallery.
  • A co-op gallery has incentive to show work by a large number of artists. The more members, the greater the dues that can be collected to offset costs. The gallery also then has motivation to show as much work as possible, by as many artists as possible, and this can dilute attention for any individual artist. This can also lead to a cluttered appearance in the gallery.
  • For many artists, the prospect of working in the gallery on a regular basis is a negative, rather than a positive. Volunteering in the gallery takes you away from your studio and from creating. Some artists don’t like the prospect of having to talk to buyers and haven’t yet developed sales skills.
  • Related to the last one, ¬†because the sales staff is constantly rotating, buyers at a co-op gallery may not get the service and consistent follow-up necessary to generate strong sales.
  • I’ve heard of co-op galleries that have been destroyed by the politics of having a large group of artists come together to try to sell their art. Egos can get bruised, and feelings hurt. Artists are often left wondering why they have less work on display than other members. Some artists have . . . difficult personalities.

If you are considering showing in a co-op gallery, I would encourage you to do the same research prior to applying that I recommended for “vanity” galleries. Call several of the artists who are showing with the gallery and ask them if they feel it is worth the effort. Set definitive benchmarks to gauge the success of your relationship with the gallery, and don’t be afraid to leave the relationship if your needs are not being met.

Finally, take the opportunity to engage with the other artists who are members of the gallery. When I speak to artists who are happily engaged in cooperative representation, I hear repeatedly how valuable they find the sense of community in the gallery. For some artists, this is as valuable as the sales and exposure. If there are calls for volunteers, volunteer. Attend receptions for as many of your fellow artists as possible. Encourage your collectors to visit the gallery and participate in events.

What Have you Learned by Showing Your Art in Co-op Galleries?

Now you’ve heard what I think of co-op galleries, but I’ve never shown my art in one. If you have (or are currently) showing your work in a co-op gallery, I would love to hear your opinion of the experience. Is it worth the effort? Do co-op galleries sell art? What are the challenges you found?

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29 Comments

  1. I am a member of a well established and successful Coop Gallery in Northern Arizona. I find being able to meet and interact with potential buyers a huge plus. I follow your blog, Jason, and try all the closing techniques you suggest. I now get their email to send a thank you. I’m not sure how to follow up after that though? V.

  2. I participated in a small co-op gallery for 1 year with 5 others. It appeared to be set up well, with all the guidelines written down and everyone in agreement. In a short time, there was a strong 3-3 split of those who followed the guidelines and those who didn’t find them important. There was no method of enforcing the rules, the place was cluttered, the quality was inconsistent, and it was a very long year.

    Enough of my work sold to earn the equivalent of minimum wage for the hours I sat at the gallery.

    The big lesson was that a benevolent dictatorship is a more effective way to run a business than a democracy.

    1. Sorry to hear that Jana. We never participated in a Coop Gallery and often wondered if there would be problems such as the ones you have endured. Hopefully you have found a new gallery to display your art work since. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Yes, I am currently showing my art in what you call a “co-op” gallery. Specifically “Rappahannock Art League”. It is a non-profit gallery. There is no clutter of art, it is just as beautifully done as any other gallery I’ve been to. Everything is juried in, so no “not so great” work. I do volunteer in the shop but that is a great opportunity to discuss my art as well as others’ and so much great advice. I do pay a “wall rent” as well as commission; however, it is still significantly less than other galleries I have looked into. They offer monthly exhibitions with ribbons awarded and that gives the community the opportunity to see everyone’s best works. I am a relatively new artist and this has truly boosted my visibility as well as sales (in sales I have already made more than I pay the gallery). Because of the gallery my paintings have been sold to people as far away as Canada….so great exposure. Yes, prior to anyone considering a gallery like this, do your homework. As for me….it has been a wonderful opportunity.

  4. I am President of a co-op gallery that has been around for over 35 years. EVERYTHING that Jason and Jana have mentioned has happened, and more, I assure you, over that time (and that is just in the 10 or so years that I have been a member)! However, we are still going, although not particularly “strong”. The economy and “location, location, location” have had the biggest effect on sales, and accordingly, on the attitude of members. We were on a “main tourist route” and were forced to move because a new owner wanted MUCH more rent. Moving close by, but not on the tourist route just about killed us. One year later we are now in a little better area and sales are up, but not quite where we need them yet. Our current membership has been weeded out of nearly all of the “negative nellies” (as I call them), and members are more willing to do what is necessary to bring in sales. Yes we are a BUSINESS – it was a hard lesson to learn when all you had to do was sit there and tourists would stream through the door and buy buy buy. I follow this blog religiously and value all the good advice about making sales and keeping customers. Good sales do make members happy, attracts new members and encourages participation in what we have to do to make MORE sales! Thank you all for your input – it is so helpful to get other ideas and opinions!

  5. It’s all so interesting how the market continues to change. As we artists become more and more responsible for promoting our own work, the more self-run, take-the-middle man-out kind of spaces will continue to emerge.

    I’m fortunate enough to live in Houston, TX, where we have one of the biggest creative campuses in the country. With over 300 artists housed within 5 buildings, the possibilities at Sawyer Yards are endless. I have a studio at Spring Street (soon moving to Summer St) where we hire a curator to select work from our studios and we then put on a tenant exhibition and hang it in the hallways of our beautiful building. In addition to our monthly rent for studio space, we pay a participation fee to be included in the tenant exhibition to cover tags, curator fee, reception costs, etc. It’s been very successful as many of us have sold from these exhibitions without having to split the costs with anyone. A lot of the artists at Sawyer Yards have their “studios” set up more like galleries and each space is as unique as the artist’s work. My belief is that this set up is successful because many galleries (at least here in Houston) traditionally cater more to artists from other cities instead of supporting local artists. It’ll be interesting to see what the impact of Sawyer Yards has on the traditional local gallery scene as it continues to be successful and grow even more.

    I’d say our set up at some of the spaces at Sawyer Yards are part vanity part co-op and it’s working!

    1. Monica,
      Sawyer yards sounds like a great community! All those artists at work must keep the adrenalin pumping. I use to have a studio in a building of 30 plus artists. We would have open studios twice a year which was a lot of fun. I do miss it, but…having a studio on our property has it’s advantages.
      Have fun with your success on your campus!

  6. I’ve been involved in a co-op gallery for about 12 years in a small California foothills town. The gallery has been in businesss for 25 years! We have a small group(5)who run the business, and approximately 20-25 consignment artists. The 5 of us jury in prospective artists. The advantages are legion! We look for quality. We encourage professionalism. We show many styles of work in many media, including paintings, pottery, bronze sculpture, jewelry, silk scarves, ceramics, etc. our gallery has developed a reputation for a fine eclectic selection of original, locally made work. I recommend our business plan! With 5 in charge, decisions are easier, there is less conflict, and we all are willing to fill in when the need arises. If conflict does arise(and it has in the past) the offended party usually resigns. The only down side of a co-op is having to put time into work days and the jobs required, like doing the sales report, publicity for each month’s featured artist, keeping web site relevant, etc. Being involved in a gallery grounds me as an artist. There is nothing high and mighty about the art world. It’s a wonderful adventure!

  7. My experience with 2 co-operatives has been positive because both are legally non-profits. This helps to define the place in the community the galleries hold– a rural village setting this specifically is probably good setting for co-ops. There is good promotion on the part of the county on behalf of the arts and this is also positive In general if one is thinking about a cooperative to be aware of time commitments that can be demanding and to weigh the value of this with expectations of space to show your work and potential for sales and also artistic support for your work from the community of members.

  8. I really enjoyed my 3 years in a co-op gallery. All artists were reviewed and juried by a committee of professional artists. The camaraderie and sense of community were wonderful. The location was good and the sales were as well. I found over time that as my commission work increased, online sales and outside art shows, it was more difficult to have fresh work in all venues. The paintings at the co-op gallery were hung for three months and were only removed and replaced when sold. So if I sold one through a different venue or it was accepted into a show and I needed the piece from the gallery, that wasn’t possible. I am sure many co-op galleries have different rules of operation and this was my experience that persuaded me to not continue. There are many benefits in being a part of a well run co-op gallery.

  9. There’s a well-know coop gallery in my community, in Los Angeles. I ventured in one Saturday to see some work by an artist I know is a member. They had a nice solo exhibition on the main floor, with additional works from members on the second floor of the location. What struck me most about this gallery was the lack of professional salesmanship, care and attention to me, a potential buyer. The artist “gallery sitting” did just that. Never looked up from behind the reception desk, never said “Hi, how are you?” or “Thank you for coming, did you have any questions about the art or a specific artist?” Nada, zero, zip. Left me cold and stale. And this is my biggest objection as an artist who has been invited to become a member of various coops. There is no solid internal culture (yeah a mission statement sure, but no actual adherence to a brand or vision), brand ambassadorship, sales training, cohesion in any marketing, and so on. Add to that, the exorbitant fees to join some of these organizations command and I often wonder if its really worth it.

  10. We have a very nice co-op gallery in a prime location in my city. I generally would consider the artwork to be a high quality and would feel like I was in good company among some well known and established artists. I gave it some consideration, but decided not to show in the gallery because there have been several works of art stolen from it in. I don’t know all the details, however, I was in once to deliver work for a show and couldn’t find anyone in the front of the gallery. They were in the back vacuuming and couldn’t hear me despite a rather loud electronic door chime. I had to tap them on the shoulder to get their attention.

  11. I am part of a collective gallery, which has several differences from a traditional co-op. One is that the gallery is a commercial business with a sole owner. We don’t have any fees or dues, just a percentage goes to the gallery if our work sells. The artist always getsA slightly higher percentage than the gallery. If an artist wishes to increase the amount they receive from a sale, them they can work in the gallery. Depending on how many hours you work, you can actually make as much as 70% from a sale. It is a really a great win-win situation for everyone involved. Also, there is a jurying process to get in, but no fees.

  12. Our “co-op” gallery in Scottsdale was recently named #2 on the “The 10 Best Art Galleries in Arizona” list by bestthingsaz.com. We were honored to be on that list with some other outstanding galleries including Xanadu. We are in our 5th season as a non-profit organization and sales are up. We jury our artists according to written guidelines that not only ensure quality art but also helps us qualify the artists for working in the gallery. Our training program includes sales techniques and support and new artists are always paired with more experience artists on the days they work in the gallery. Our business model has been quite successful. We do occasionally have issues with members and as always some artists work sells more frequently than others but in general I believe that most of the artists have found some benefits from exhibiting their work in a co-op gallery. I know I’ve gained a lot of business experience and met some wonderful artists during my membership with this organization.

  13. I have been a member of two co-ops in the past and I have mixed feelings about the experiences: the quality of my work was on a par with or higher than most of the other work and my prices were comparable, but for some unknown reason very few of my paintings sold. I did better in a commercial privately owned gallery for a few years, but have recently applied to and been accepted into another co-op with a long waiting list. The reason for that is that I want to use my gallery sitting time to connect personally with potential collectors in order to build relationships. I always felt that the freedom the artists have in a co-op is an advantage. It was nice to be able to test the market with a new medium or style, with due respect for the quality required for the jurying committee. I think location is extremely important, as well as the strong framework for the operation of the gallery. A sense of community and professionalism helps to offset the personal issues that invariably crop up.

  14. I think the one thing that vanity and co-op galleries have in common is they are “starter’ representations. A good traditional gallery actually “represents” the artist, with trained staff and advertising. They are worth every penny of their commission.

    Mind you, it has been many years since I walked into a co-op gallery but I remember them as cluttered, a little dirty, and (very detrimental to display) dark. They often occupy retail space with a minimum of improvements. One co-op in Boulder had hundreds of paintings hung very closely to each other, literally from the floor to a ceiling. How is someone going to see your work? Volunteering would be excellent retail experience, but would other artist doing their time there get up and work the floor, or steer customers only to their work? There is no theme, and as Jason points out, the work sometimes goes all over the place in quality. However most if not all co-ops are juried. The Boulder co-op was, and though I remember it dark and packed with work, nearly all of it was very good to excellent. Co-ops are ideal for small art towns , and work well for some- as long as everyone is on the same page. As Jana perceptively pointed out, some businesses are better run as benevolent dictatorships than as a democracy.

  15. I have belonged to a co-op gallery (theazgallery.org) in St Paul Minnesota for over 5 years. It is a non-profit gallery started in 1997. We have up to 10 permanent member artists at a time who pay $450 a year and 20% commission on sales. We work 9-12 hours a month in the gallery and hold monthly shows. I have been very pleased with my sales and the quality of the work. We have several open shows a year as well as a gift shop that accepts work from outside artists. Entering a show or putting work on consignment in the gift shop is a great way to get a feel for the gallery without making a time or money commitment.

  16. Perhaps the best reason to join one is that on one hand they can be easier to get into than bigger commercial galleries and hence are a somewhat better entry point for younger emerging artists or those just getting started in the art world. Another reason for joining one is that, like where I live in upstate NY, there are no nearby commercial galleries. And finally there is the chance to become close friends with other artists in the gallery which does not always happen in commercial galleries. I have been in my local co-op over 15 years and I treasure having many of the member artists as close personal friends.

    But there are as Jason pointed out big variations among co-op galleries. Some are well run, some are not. Some keep the quality of art and artists high, others do not. My co-op has very high standards and I think we have better artists now than when I joined.

    If considering joining a co-op the only way to really judge it is to join and try it out, and not be too discouraged if it turns out to not be right for you. And remember there are always other co-ops out there if one does not work for you.

  17. I was a member of and worked in a Co-Op gallery back in Virginia Beach while I was stationed at Naval Station Norfolk. The experience was good in that I learned how to run a gallery through observation and participation. The not so good part was the lack of exposure I received. Part of that is my fault as being an active duty Navy Chief Petty Officer is a 24/7 job.
    I was also the Lighting Director for the gallery as well as doing minor maintenance in the gallery.
    Overall it was a great experience and I recommend it to any artist looking to go beyond creating art. It is not for everyone but it is worth giving it a go.

  18. I empathize most with Pat Barker’s comments.
    We have a small cooperative gallery in a rural suburb of Vancouver, B.C. (Fort Gallery, Fort Langley, B.C.) .We aim for about 20 members and every year we go through a period where some members leave and new members sign on.
    Members are juried in by a committee of 3 members. Our membership has 4 university level Fine Art instructors/professors and three public school art teachers, so the quality of the work is high, but the work often is not particularly compatible with commercial galleries. It is abstract, experimental and contemporary. Some of our members are also showing in commercial galleries, but with a body of different work.
    We enjoy the companionship of artists-colleagues who understand our different goals, and who can talk intelligently in the language of visual art. In short, we are a community of artists as well as exhibitors in this gallery.
    I came to this gallery 7 years ago after a career in a different field (to earn my living). With family responsibilities and work responsibilities, I had not had great opportunities to show my work in public. Due to time restraints. I chose to create art rather than exhibit.
    I have valued the experience of being responsible for running the gallery as a board member. It allowed me to integrate quickly into the group. Other artists mentored me, and now I am in a position to mentor others.
    The gallery has a reputation of showing interesting, challenging work. Openings draw people from the professional art community – curators, docents, gallerists, art profs and other artists – from the Greater Vancouver area. In the 7 years I have shown there, I have produced 7 bodies of new work and 7 solo shows. These allow me to determine if the work hangs well together, gets a good response from the visitors and is worthy of proposing to public galleries.

    We each have a 3 week show per year – for full members, a solo show, for half members, a duo show. In addition, we have several group shows with themes. When there are open-call shows, these are always juried by art professionals outside the co-op membership and so far, the quality of the work has been very good.
    We have a gallery attendant who tends the gallery 2 days a week and does administrative work; two regular volunteers who take 2 of the days of gallery sitting; and the artist always tends the gallery on the weekend days of their own show.

    We afford this not only by our monthly dues but by two fundraisers that we undertake during the year plus a low percentage on sales. We also apply for grants (in the last 3 years) and have rented-out our space occasionally to the film industry. We are always close to the financial line, but we are still going and our community is strong.
    I think there is value in this type of gallery as long as people are willing to pull their weight in the organization. Our biggest problem is that too often, it’s the same 10 people doing all the work and the others not chipping in as they should.

    For myself, I have grown exponentially in my understanding of how a gallery works, how an artist should relate to and communicate with a gallery (both public and commercial). The exposure I got from showing in this venue led to public purchases of my work, from 2 galleries and from several hospital foundation and a retrospective show in my city gallery. In effect, it has been instrumental in establishing my career.Despite my late entry into the art business. I now have a solid resume and a great network that I could not have done through a commercial gallery.
    AND, I now have representation from a commercial gallery as well.

  19. I like showing in a co-op gallery for several reasons, our gallery gets a lot of traffic, I sell a fair amount, I get noticed locally, and have gotten additional sales and shows from people who have seen my work. It’s a fairy good revenue from sales and referrals. Recently I am thinking I may have enough revenue to be able to quit my co-op. When I first came back to art I joined two co-ops because it gave me two big shows a year and incentive to work my tail off. I got to the point that I could drop that first one and now I’m thinking about dropping the current one for the same reason. Some other pluses, you learn a lot there’s putting on shows, advertising, hanging shows, curating shows, not to mention sales.

  20. I presently belong to a co-op gallery. I find the 3 hours a week I spend there is very enjoyable, saying hello to customers, chatting with my fellow artists, and seeing if I can help someone find a gift. Unfortunately, we will have to find a new space, as our lease is up. The landlord has given us a lot of time, but it still makes me anxious. A gripe I have is that compared to many commercial galleries, things seem a bit cluttered. We sell everything from nice soap to pottery to paintings. But in my mind, I would rather show a few good pieces than to fill people ‘s eyes with visual clutter. I can hope that in a new space, we can fill it a bit more carefully.

  21. Jason, I an artist and am the owner of a collective (co-op) that has been active for over 10 years. Having a single owner is different than many artist-run galleries. Our 15 member artists actually really like having a “hub” where the buck stops, and give this model credit for our longevity and stability as a group. We take great care to choose members carefully‚ÄĒboth for the quality of their art, and their ability to blend with the group and meet the public. We hang our gallery so it is uncluttered and flows. Our customers are usually surprised to hear we are a collective. Each artist gets a generous, guaranteed amount of space and, though we also show artists who are not members, the members always get priority. We use your book as a sales training tool….which brings me to a couple of points I wanted make about co-ops.

    Artists are not all good sales people nor are we full-time sales people working lists of collectors etc. This can both be a positive and a negative. It is less intimidating for people who come in the gallery, who may be worried about being “sold”, to deal with artists, but we really can’t compare to a truly gifted art salesperson or rep. However, for artists in their hometowns, being in a co-op gives latitude to work their base of friends and family and be involved in community art activities without the gray areas of dealing with an exclusive gallery situation. This is especially helpful in smaller communities. Meantime, artists need to be pursuing galleries or other opportunities to sell their work in art centers or metro areas.

    The co-op is a good situation for artists who like having control over how their work is shown and who are quite independent and want to be involved with buyers and all aspects of their business. It also is why our doors stayed open through the recession. Our town lost half of it’s galleries and not many new ones have opened since.

  22. I’ve been involved in 3 artist co-ops, and also show in privately owned galleries. The bottom line lesson I have learned from all of these experiences is that the place has to be run as a business. While I do know of some co-ops that are, many are not because they’re run by artists who may be very talented but have very little business sense.
    I am in two private galleries now where the owners and their employees understand that they are in the business of selling that art, and they work at it. They engage with every person who walks into the door, they treat them like guests, show them around, get to know them, point out various artworks that they might like. And they sell it! They advertise and hold events frequently, they work at getting potential customers in the door. They also treat each artist with respect and are not partial to any one artist, so everyone’s work sells equally well. Now when I look for new galleries to approach, I go in as a customer. I pay attention to how (and IF) I’m greeted and treated, and how they interact with others as well. I find, more often than not, the person working barely looks up to say “hi” and basically ignores the shoppers. While some art will sell itself, if I’m going to make the effort to put my art in that place I want to see that they’re going to work at selling it, not dusting it! I’ve not been surprised when I’ve seen some of these galleries go out of business over time.

  23. I’ve been really careful about co-op galleries. Some take every painting or sculpture that comes through the door. To my that brings down the quality of the really good work. I belonged to a “joint venture” gallery. Really a co-op in that we paid a membership upfront and then a monthly fee and of course did the usual gallery sitting and getting food and invitations out for openings. It was small–about 10 members who juried in new artists. When a piece sold there we’d get 90% of the sale price; if it was a credit card sale we got 85% of the sale price–which I always thought was kind of silly. I have to admit after a while I realized how much I’d love to be in a good gallery that had a bigger commission. I really appreciate the work that gallery owners do.

  24. I have also been in a co-op gallery and the juried kind. The co op was such a help learning how to prepare my art for proper galleries and how to deal with other artists who have known each other for years, hence some artists keep pumping each other’s ego forgetting we are a community. It’s important to help each other. My sales have been best by having open house receptions and online website. I enjoy all of the talent out there and encouraging new artists to create…just create!
    To me, to have my art juried and hung in a gallery is a pleasure and privilege.
    Thank you for all of your unselfish support to the rest of us Jason….cheers, Susan
    artbyssnow.fineartametica.com

  25. I have been in a coop for about eight months now, with the exception of cards, all of my sales have occurred when I have been working the gallery. I always make sure to introduce myself, explain the gallery to customers and offer my assistance if needed. Many will will ask where is my work after my initial introduction, that is usually when I get them interested and work from there. I find that I can make the sale by making a connection with the potential buyer and get them interested in myself and my work. I have sold many other artist works and will push others if the customer seems more interested in their style. Not so sure that the other coop artist’s do this, the downfall of a coop. We additionally set up our own display’s, most do a great job, some are just OK, as they do not get the idea that less is more and crowd their area. Additionally the quality of art is on the upper end, the entire group juries an artist before accepting them into the coop, but I think it would not be a bad idea to have semi annual juries of each others work, I think it would be beneficial to all involved. The gallery is in a great tourist location and has great light, that is why I picked it and asked to be in it. We have three owners who are responsible for the business process, supplies, taxes and utilities, we pay a small monthly due amount and a small sales percentage. I have not had or seen any political issues with this business arrangement. Previously I was in a vanity gallery who did absolutely nothing for me except take my money……

  26. I am currently in a co-op gallery in St. Augustine, Florida. I have found it helpful for giving me exposure in an art town. The set-up there is pretty good. We all have a wall space the same size for a set rental fee. If someone wants extra space, then they pay extra rent for that time period. We rotate the walls every three months, so we all get a chance to be in a good spot. Also, if we sell someone else’s work, we get a 10% commission out of the 30% the gallery charges. I believe the commission is a good way to go because then we all support selling each other’s work. Furthermore, from what I have seen, everyone treats it like a business, which is good. So, I would think that it would depend on how the co-op is set up and run.

  27. I have a question about how to integrate all aspects of the a small co-op gallery. Is there
    a software or other organizational tool that would help put all members on the same page with business, inventory, artist info etc. The gallery here is a fragmented system of old notebooks, attempts at current sales portals etc., and a general lack of understanding by the 20 artists on a common set of professional protocols.

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