How to Start an Art Gallery


No matter how much love and soul you’re planning to put into starting an art gallery, you need to be realistic. This is a business. Make no mistake; your passion will set your particular business apart. However, you need to be able to keep a cool head and be objective. Striking a balance between these two worlds, the creative and professional one, is one of the biggest challenges that await you. Of course, if you’re looking to start an art gallery, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, we’ve gathered a guide that’ll help you get started.

Know the ins and outs of the business to start an art gallery

Take in as much information as you can on the type of art you’ll be displaying in your gallery. You want to be considered a professional. Look for similar galleries in other cities and visit them, either online or in person. Learn more about the artists who are making this style of work, both established names and newcomers. Your gallery will stand out as one that consumers can trust if they see that your approach is professional. A great thing you could do is to have each piece of art explained, along with its meaning and its relevance in the genre.

Find the space for your art gallery

Try to find a space that’ll feel right and have all the predispositions for your business to grow. To start an art gallery successfully, it needs to be in a good location. Lack of availability and approachability can be a massive deal-breaker for many art gallery geeks. Especially if you live in a city that tourists often visit, you’ll want to be easy to find. Another great piece of advice is to make the design of your gallery personal and unique. Of course, art should be the focal point; there’s no doubting that. However, visiting an art gallery can be an exceptional experience if the atmosphere is just right. Put a lot of thought into your gallery’s interior since it could be something that draws customers in.

Credit: Antenna for Unsplash

Credit: Antenna for Unsplash

Become familiar with the market

One of the first things you should get to before opening an art gallery is familiarizing yourself with all the trends in the art market. Researching your local market is necessary if you wish to be ready for everything that’s coming. A great way to do so is to arrange meetings with artists and other art community members to get a better insight and create bonds. By broadening your horizons this way, you’ll find the vision you want your gallery to reflect.

Utilize what you’ve found out to start a successful art gallery

Try to find a way to fit in and stand out in your area simultaneously. If the sort of art you’re envisioning for your gallery has sufficient representation in the area, people don’t need one more of the same. In this case, selling artwork might be an almost impossible mission. Then again, if your new gallery doesn’t go with the overall vibe at all, you’re in trouble. Finding a balance is tricky. However, it’s the only way to stay relevant and in business.

Credit: Julian Irigoyen for Unsplash

Credit: Julian Irigoyen for Unsplash

Focus on the business side of things

Before you open an art gallery, you’ll need to make some tough decisions. How are you going to conduct business? The best route you can take is to speak to someone who’s already been through the ordeal. Experience is the most valuable thing you can have in the business world. Creating a clear business plan that’ll formulate the way your gallery will operate will be essential for its growth. How will you get funding? In what way will your gallery make money? If you’re planning to earn income by the commission, what will your percentage be? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself.

Marketing is important

Of course, one of the most important aspects you’ll have to consider when it comes to your growth plan is your marketing standpoint. Nowadays, creating an online presence is imperative if you wish to be successful. Although it’s not the only way to market your business, it is the most effective one. This means you’ll need to get involved in social media, no matter if that’s your forte or not. Creating a dynamic website that’ll reflect everything the art gallery you’re opening stands for will make it easy for anyone to get interested. Reaching your target clientele has never been easier. So, be sure to take advantage of that.

Taking risks is part of the process

Although you need to learn from other people’s mistakes and grow your business smartly, this doesn’t mean that your working environment should be dull and homogenous. It would be best to aim for a peaceful and stable atmosphere that’s comfortable enough, of course. However, comfort zones aren’t suitable breeding grounds for growth. Make sure to stay educated, motivated, ambitious, and hungry. Calling risky shots from time to time will ensure that the art gallery you’ve started gets all the opportunities it deserves. Remember, no one’s ever made a massive success by staying inside the safe lane and a paved path.

Credit: Jeremy Dorrough for Unsplash

Credit: Jeremy Dorrough for Unsplash

Purchasing an already existing business?

Even though taking risks is something every business eventually benefits from, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider investing in a sure thing. If you don’t want to start an art gallery from scratch and have some savings, purchasing an existing business is a great idea. You should, of course, be careful and smart about this. Make sure to buy a place that has all the positive aspects already set in motion. We’re talking products and a delivery system, loyal customers, regular sales, a reliable staff, and so much more.

Author bio: Katie Stevens has been a consultant for U. Santini Moving and Storage over the past decade. Her specialties include packing, unpacking, and storing valuable art pieces and occasional random fragile items. Over the past few months, she’s begun to share her accumulated knowledge about the art world and business to help people looking to step into this world.

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