I have been an artist for a long time. I hustled my work across the region showed it to galleries and boutique shops. I was accepted by some and refused by many. That is the normal artist's career.
I also dragged my art tent, displays, artwork, and my husband to many street shows in Michigan and Ohio.
I know the hard work it takes to be an artist. I know how much work goes into making each piece of artwork and then how hard I have to work to sell it.
Street shows are a great way to make quick money. But cost on the average $400-$800 per show. And they are a lot of work. Galleries are hard to get into and then take 30%-50% of the sale of each piece of art. And some charge a monthly fee on top of the commission.
This can be so frustrating to an artist. If they sell a piece of artwork for $500 the gallery may take $250. And the artist's cut is the part that has supplies and utilities are taken out of. So that $500 item the artist may see somewhere between $100-$200 profit. But it probably took them many hours to create it.
This seems unfair right! But let's look a little closer to what the artist gets from that gallery sale.
The gallery has their own costs. They are a brick and mortar space where art buyers physically check into to see new works of art. They have to pay a mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, advertising, and salaries. So yes the gallery gets a cut. But that surely isn't going into some rich persons pocket. It's going back into the next show. It's advertising the next set of artists. And events that bring in the community and buyers.
So the artist gets a chance to be in front of an audience who will hopefully take notice of their name and it will lead to future sales.
2. Support for their profession,
As I stated in the last point, showing and selling work at a local gallery supports your profession if you are an artist. I have tried the path of selling my work from home and saving all the show fees, travel expenses, and galley commissions. I sold a lot less! I was an island, dragging my stuff out to my dining room table when people wanted to come by and purchase something. Or I had commissions, but a lot less of them because no one knew of me or remembered my services once I left the venues.
3. Experience, when an artist shows their work in a reputable space they have the ability to add a line to their Bio or CV letter. Then other venues and art buyers become more interested in that artists work. And their career grows.
2018 Ann Arbor Art Center
2018 Art Insight Emporium Featured Artist
2018 Toledo Museum of Art...........
4. Community and Energy,
Artists grow off of other artists creative energy. Watching two artists talk about their new projects is a very exciting experience. You can see the energy transferring back and forth between the two people. Arts grow by being a part of a creative community.
These are wonderful reasons to support your local art galleries and educational centers. I have realized all of these things after running the Art Insight Emporium for the last 4 years and after serving on the Downtown Monroe Fine Art Fair for 8 years, and running or helping to run the Monroe City/County Fine Arts Council Juried Art Show for several years. I have now been on both sides of the art world a promoter and a maker.
And being on both sides of the Art World, I have witnessed many things that are killing our creative culture.
I have seen many artists tear each other apart, usually because of jealousy. When one grows many others cast judgment on their work. But many times it's not because the judgement is justified. It's because the other artists are jealous. And instead of building up the others in their profession they rip them apart. Which also weakens the ability for them to do well.
I have also, seen buyers attempt to be generous and cut the galleries out of deals by contacting the artist directly and paying the artist personally. If this happens too much the gallery will close and then there is one less place in the world highlighting and promoting art and artists.
And I have seen many galleries judge other galleries. Instead of working together and supporting each other.
Art is a wonderful thing, it creates joy, and critical thinking on current and past events. It teaches people time is important, practice pays off. And it teaches how to study and build intuition and creative thought.
Supporting galleries and creative educational centers is very important to our society and your own personal community. It is the space where creative minds can gather and grow, the next generation becomes inspired, and local artists have a platform to showcase their work.
Ways you can support a local gallery/art educational center....