Galleries, Shows, Exhibitions Part II – Contracts With A Gallery

Photo by Jeff Taylor Uncommonphotography.net

In the first article Galleries, Shows, Exhibitions – Part I we took a look at some of the basic things to consider if you are thinking about having your work shown in  a gallery.  Having your work shown in a gallery can be a great way to build your art brand and support your other marketing efforts.  If you are represented by a gallery you are entering into an agreement between you and the gallery.  As with any agreement it is important to know what you are getting into.

Typically with a gallery you will have to enter into a contractual arrangement. A good contract will benefit both the artist and the gallery. Don’t be rushed into signing a contract. Make sure you understand the obligations of both parties and how the contract will affect your business now and in the future. Here are some things to look for in any contract with a gallery:

  • Is the contract written?
  • What period of time does the contract specify for representation?
  • How does either party get out of the contract?
  • What are the gallery location(S) and hours?
  • What is the exhibition schedule and duration?
  • What are the due dates with respect to:
    • Contracts, bios, price information etc
    • Gallery take down & restoration
    • Pick up dates
  • Who is responsible of marketing and what are the specifics?
  • Who is responsible for installation and take down?
  • Who is responsible for gallery restoration?
  • What is the commission split on the sale of your art?
  • Is the contract for the purchase of your works, guaranteed minimum or consignment on a best efforts basis?
  • Who is responsible for the transportation of artwork to and from the gallery or customer?
  • What insurance is to be provided by both parties?
  • What are the requirements with regards to accounting and record keeping?
  • What are the stipulations with regards to the inspection of yours and the galleries books?
  • Do you need releases for images of art, the artist and written materials such as a bio or artist’s statement?
  • How will you handle new works of art?
  • Is the contract exclusive to the gallery, for how long and where geographically?
  • How are sales by the artist handled?
  • How are reproductions going to be handled?

Galley representation can be a great way to build your brand – if you do it right! Remember that with most any contract everything is negotiable. Before you sign an exclusive contract make sure that it will be beneficial to you. Make sure you abide by the things you have agreed to and make sure that the gallery upholds their part of the deal as well.  In the last part of this series Galleries, Shows, Exhibitions Part III – The Gallery Experience we will look at some ideas to help you create a great gallery experience.

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About Neil McKenzie

Neil McKenzie is an author, educator and consultant to artists and arts organizations. He is the author of The Artist’s Business and Marketing ToolBox – How to Start, Run and Market a Successful Arts or Creative Business available in softcover from Barnes & Noble and Amazon and as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. He has developed and teaches the course “Artrepreneurship” at the Center for Innovation at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is also a visiting professor at University College at the University of Denver. Neil has over 30 years’ experience as a management consultant and marketing executive, working with some of the world’s top brands. Neil is a frequent lecturer to artists and arts organizations, a guest columnist for Colorado Biz Magazine, where he covers the creative sector of the economy, and the author of several articles for Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization. Follow Neil on Twitter: @neilmckenzphoto