How to Set Up Your Own Gallery on a Low Budget

palette and brushes

palette and brushes

You may think it is impossible to set up your own gallery on a low budget.

However, I have come across a group of artists who have done just that. They jointly rented an empty shop in a small town and turned it into an art gallery.

Being a group of artists they offer quite a variety of styles and media. There is everything from paintings to hand made jewellery and sculptures.

They also invite guest artists to rent wall space for a month or two at a time. This helps to pay for the rental as well. They charge guest artists 20 percent commission on top of the rent yet it is quite attractive to the guests just the same.

They print brochures and posters for their artists and inform the local press. They even lay on a vernissage inviting all their contacts to open the visitor´s exhibition at the beginning of the month. That way they have a group of people come in at least once a month.

Do you have any thoughts on the matter?


About Pat Harrison

Painting and drawing have been my passion from early childhood. I have attended numerous exhibitions in England and Germany. Presented with the Judges Award at a show I now have one of my paintings on permanent display at a museum in Greater London with growing sales and commissions.
This entry was posted in All Painting Media, art, exhibition experience, howto, Marketing, selling art, tip and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Set Up Your Own Gallery on a Low Budget

  1. Here is a comment David Randall permitted me to copy from LINKEDIN

    Pat – It’s a business. Art fairs are a viable CHEAP entry point and can teach you the reality of selling art firsthand. Some artists have made a very real living from art fairs. They are in business in how they approach it as well. If you do not treat it as a business it will not work in my opinion. It is no less costly to run a gallery than any other business. Treat it as a hobby and it will be just that.

    I believe selling art is one of the most difficult things to learn to do. Learning how to sell art can be learned like many things. I’d venture a guess that not one person in a co-op gallery start up understands that art does not just sell it self.

    If you are determined to run your own show. Learn how to sell art. It’s not like selling other things although the rules of salesmanship do apply. It’s the business side of art that is lacking in most artist run galleries. It’s often also distasteful for many artists and they shoot themselves in the foot.

    Be as professional and business like as possible in how you structure the “low budget” gallery or any other. You will find it helps everyone. Most important and valuable is a working mailing list up dated and maintained

  2. Here is a comment Mila permitted me to transfer from LINKEDIN
    Mila Lansdowne • If you can make it work, you’ll enrich your community and the connection between artists and crafters in your area.
    My experience: For a professional public exposure of our artwork, there are management skills, discipline and business sense needed. I found the best solution to approach a person who already has a suitable space/business and offer her/him additional income through featuring and selling the artwork in consignment. To make those projects viable, a real cash-flow forecast needs to be done. If you can have a free space that’s a bonus. We had the best experience with having a person who manages the gallery, paid from the sales-commission and member-fee. There is much work to do like hanging, labeling, keeping the opening hrs constant, bookkeeping, customer service etc.
    Do your math first, if you need to make 1000/month to cover utilities and other cost and you take 30% commission on sales, you’ll need to sell 40,000 per year.

  3. Warren Croce says:

    Hi Pat,
    I’ve been thinking about doing the same here in Boston. Can you share the link to the group’s website? I’d like to get in touch with them and learn more about the logistics of getting it up and running. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Ervan says:

    I live in Denver and there is a fairly new, still developing art center on Santa Fe blvd between 8th and 12 th streets that has about twenty to thirty art galleries/studios, many with shared space and wall rentals such as you describe. The economic slow down had a huge effect on this area but it is starting to come back to life.

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