Partner with Your Galleries

Getting a signature on the bottom of a completed order form is just the first step in the process of working with a gallery.



As soon as you ship that order, be prepared to partner with your independent retailers to market and publicize your work – and their business, too. Many long-term profitable relationships have been forged between gallery owners and artists who understand the synergy of a good working partnership.

Times have changed. Competition is stiff, and running a gallery becomes more expensive all the time. Successful artists know that they need to provide more than just merchandise to their gallery customers. Gallery employees should display your work beautifully and promote you as an artist, and you in turn should help drive business to their establishment.

12 ways you can provide extra value to your galleries:

1.  Provide marketing materials such as postcards and brochures

2.  Make an in-store personal appearance at a “Meet the Artist” event

3.  Contact the press and send out releases about your work at the gallery

4.  List the gallery address, phone and URL on your own website

5.  Provide catalogs without prices, for use of gallery visitors

6.  Use great hang tags with care instructions on your products

7.  Give a guarantee or warranty on your work

8.  Sign and date each piece

9.  Provide a short bio (50 words) and small photo to display with your work

10. Offer special payment terms on one-of-a-kind exhibit items

11. Have a generous return or exchange policy

12. List your gallery in your advertising/brochures


Have you provided services and “extras” that really stand out and help your retailers become more successful selling your work? Please share your story.


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  1. This article is spot on. Times have certainly changed and artists and retailers need to change with them or be left behind. The more we can do as artists to cement the relationship with our retailers the more successful we’ll both be.
    As an artist, I strive to be as flexible as possible to meet the needs of my retailers. Whether that means shorter turnaround time or not always meeting my ordering minimum, I am willing to do all that I can to make the gallery successful—which in turn makes me as an artist successful.

    • Shari, I’m hearing more artists echo what you are saying. They understand the value of the relationship with their galleries. This of course, only raises the bar, so that excellent customer service is expected. We all have to work harder in this economy.

  2. One of the best ways to help get you organized so it is easy to fulfill the checklist above is to use software created specifically to keep track of all the artwork and business aspects of an art career. With a few clicks, you can send inventory with information, sort to find what work is available or sold etc, and keep track of just about everything you need to have a successful career, whether you are a gallery based artist or not. for more information and 500 pages of free resources for artists online.

  3. great thoughts on marketing art. as artists we often have the belief that selling art is someone elses responsibility when we really need to be part of the process throughout the journey. thanks for the great insight.

    • You are your own best advocate. Even if you turn the marketing over to someone else, you’re right – you are responsible. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  4. I was a wearable artist for almost 20 years, and I certainly knew the value of profesionally photographed images of my work for the purpose of applying to the best shows. But it wasn’t until a few years ago when I opened a retail store (selling kaleidoscopes, including those of my husband’s) that I realized just how few arstists actually provide their wholesale accounts with decent images. I advertise my gallery heavily in magazines and would LOVE to feature a wider variety of my artists’ kaleidoscopes, but very few of them provide me with images that are professionally taken, let alone in a high res format. So, I’m surprised that this issue didn’t make the list above.

  5. Every gallery and venue is different and does things a bit differently than each other. It would be great if galleries would make up a list of things they can use from the artist or would like the artist to provide.

    For example, I have created for galleries art slide shows to run on TVs or computer monitors, but not all have this equipment avaialable.

    Also If the gallery would like the artist to do press releases, it would be best if the gallery could provide the media contact points in their area. An artist could live hundreds, thousands of miles away from the gallery and have no idea what the local newspapers, tv or radio is.

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