Thursday, August 16, 2018

Gallery Operations I

Bright & Early
30" x 40" oil on canvas

I own and manage The Baccalieu Gallery, in Heart's Content, Newfoundland since August 2017.  So who am I to offer advice you ask, with a gallery technically still in its infancy?  I am learning as I go and hope some of the information I share will be helpful. I want to show you the good and bad sides of gallery operations and open your eyes to the reality of operating an art gallery that you may not know or have not considered. If you have questions, comments or suggestions for topics you would like more information on, let me know in the comments or email me directly.

Running a gallery is harder than I thought.  I mean I'm no slouch when it comes to work but there are some rules I set myself to make sure things get done and still leave me painting time (and sanity). 

1.  Always stay on top of the finances.  Invoices, bills, suppliers, utilities, all those things that make the world go round or come to a screeching halt  need attention.  Immediately.   I have gotten into a routine that ensures there's never a backlog of accounting  tasks to deal with.  I enter revenue at the end of day and make adjustments as required.  I also deal with receipts and bills as they come in, otherwise I can't sleep at night, knowing they're waiting for me.

2. Marketing.   Putting the brand and myself out there is crucial to making a mark in this world of art and galleries who are all vying for the same centre stage.   But I don't want it to take over my life or have me tethered to a computer all day, so I plan ahead.  I have a pretty good ideas of what social media message I'll put out the next day and what image(s) will go with it.   Then it takes me 10 minutes in the early morning and its done.  I don't usually check it again until after the gallery closes.

3. Treat suppliers and artists like gold.  Because they are.  These are the people who keep you in business.  Neglect them and you're toast.  Communicate, encourage visits, respond to emails promptly and provide payments on time.  Basically, treat them as you would expect to be treated.  With courtesy and respect.

Pretty much every thing else under these three topics is simple and straightforward.  That old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff." is true.  Take care of the major players and all else falls into place. 

Sleep, eat, clean, paint, repeat.