What It Takes to Run an Art Gallery in NYC

No matter how much you love art or how much soul you are looking to put into starting your own gallery in NYC, you should be realistic. Running a gallery is a business. While your passion may set your business apart, you will still need to be objective and keep a cool head. If you manage to strike a balance between sticking to business principles and being passionate about what you do, you can successfully run a gallery. Here are some tips to help you get started with your art gallery in NYC.

Study the Art Gallery Business

This is the first thing that you need to do before you start an art gallery in NYC. As mentioned before, starting an art gallery is a business just like any other. While it might be different in some aspects to running a commercial garage door installation business, you still need to study the business side of things. For instance, do you know a lot about the type of art you want to display? If people are to take you seriously, you need to show that you are a professional and you are knowledgeable in your area. Looking for similar galleries in the city can be a good first step. Take some time to learn more about the artists who are making the kind of work you want to display. If you approach running a gallery in a professional manner, your customers will see you as someone they can trust. For instance, to set yourself apart, you can explain each piece of art and provide its meaning and relevance in the genre.

Research the Market

Once you know as much as possible about the art side of things, you also need to look into the money. Is there a market for what you are looking to display? The best way to get such information is to take a survey of what’s already available in your area. You can even meet with different artists and community members to find out more about the market. This is a great opportunity to gain insight from others. The research you do will help you get a clearer picture of the market, which will influence the size, scope, and vision of your gallery.

As you visit different galleries and artists in your area, think about what value your gallery will add to what’s already there. Assess whether the type of art you are planning to feature isn’t already represented by other galleries. If not, will it attract clientele? If you don’t think there are a lot of clients looking for the art you are planning to display, or if you find out that it’s already sufficiently represented, you may want to go in another direction.

Your best chance to attract customers is to create a niche in your area. You need something that sets your art gallery apart from the rest. For instance, you might want to stick to the works of local artists exclusively. Or maybe you can dedicate your gallery to French Renaissance artists? Either way, it’s important to select a niche. Once you get something, use it for inspiration as you build your gallery.

Get the Right Space for Your Gallery

This is another important step in establishing your gallery. You need to locate a space that feels right and has all the predispositions for your gallery to succeed. To launch an art gallery successfully, you need to set up shop in a good location. Lack of approachability and availability can be a huge turn-off for a lot of art gallery geeks. If you stay in an area that is regularly visited by tourists, it will be good if you set up shop in an area that’s easy to find and access. Another good tip is to make your gallery unique and personal. While art should be the focal point, you also need to turn your gallery into an exceptional experience by creating the right atmosphere. Think a lot about the interior of your gallery. This can be something that will go a long way when it comes to attracting customers to your gallery.

When you get your space, ensure that you invest in a business security system. Your art should be kept safe at all times. You must also get roofing services to inspect the roof, and lastly, you should conduct electrical inspections. That way, you can rest assured you are operating in a safe space that won’t give you problems.

Don’t be Afraid to Lose

Running a gallery is not easy. The first 24 months are likely going to be super tough. You may even run at a loss. According to Resch, more than half of art galleries only make about $200k in revenue when they are starting out. This is really not a lot considering that you will need to give the artists their shares. You also have employees to pay, and there is rent to cover. You can tell then that things may not be easy when you are starting out. However, this doesn’t mean that you should quit at the first sign of trouble. All it means is you need to learn how to stay afloat. If other industry veterans managed to figure it out, then there is hope for you as well.

When you are running a gallery, one thing you need to learn is to accept your losses and move on. For instance, if the rents keep rising where you are, instead of closing shop and quitting, you can just move somewhere cheaper and continue with your business. Your mission as a gallerist is to maximize profits. You need to be able to keep encouraging creativity and beauty no matter the circumstances. This kind of job is beyond market forces.

Do things Differently

You need to focus on finding your own unique approach to doing things. A gallery is a place for artists to play with their imagination. As a gallery owner, you also need to tap into your creative side. The art market is primarily dominated by free spirits and wild personalities, so you need to find a way to make your gallery stand out, which is not easy considering how colorful the crowd is. This means a significant chunk of your time should be spent looking for things that others aren’t doing already. For instance, if there is a season and a time for exhibitions, why don’t you open every day and even during seasons that are considered unpopular for exhibitions? If this seems a little weird to you, then maybe it is just what you need for your art gallery in NYC.

Empower Your Passion

Long story short, art has to be your passion. This is the best way to enter the art gallery space. The art industry is designed in a way that allows people to discover certain things about themselves and share their stories with others around the world. It’s not only a platform to make money, but it also encourages innovation, learning, and conversation. To navigate this field, passion is one of the most important resources you need. It inspires you to work hard, and people will notice. If you are passionate enough, chances are you will keep improving your gallery, and you will go the extra mile. Naturally, this will separate you from everyone else. Passion encourages a level of curiosity that can help to push you forward.

Invest in Learning How to Run a Bussiness

While passion is important, it won’t get you anywhere without knowledge. Before you relax and start expecting results from your art gallery in NYC, you need to make some important decisions. How are you going to run the business side of things? There’s not much difference between running an art gallery and other businesses like moving and storage services, elevator repair services, warehouse forklift rental, and product manufacturing. No matter what you are selling, you need to learn the principles of business.

The best way to go about such decisions is to ask someone who is already running a gallery. When it comes to learning art business, someone who has been through the ordeal is probably your best resource. Once you have learned a thing or two, you need to come up with a sound business plan. Your business plan should determine the way you operate your gallery. For instance, you need to think about how you will get funding. How are you going to get money from your gallery? If you are aiming to get commissions, what would be the percentage? It’s important to figure all these things out before you start operating.

Make Sure Your Marketing Is on Point

One of the most important aspects of your growth plan is marketing. Marketing covers lots of things, including making sure your business is branded properly and that it’s discoverable. Nowadays, most of the marketing done by businesses goes on online. You need to create a strong online presence if you want to be successful. There are lots of ways to market your gallery. You can also try some offline methods as well. Still, online marketing remains the most effective approach. This means you will need to familiarize yourself with social media and websites. Even if this may not be your strong point, having a nicely designed website that reflects everything your gallery stands for is a great way to make people curious, which will encourage them to visit you. The internet makes it super easy for you to reach your target clientele. So, be sure to take advantage of it.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Although it’s generally important to learn from other people’s mistakes, you shouldn’t be so cautious that you end up with a dull and homogenous space. Of course, it would be best if you had a comfortable and peaceful space. However, comfort zones are never suitable breeding grounds for growth. For your gallery to be successful, you need to stay ambitious and hungry for growth. This requires taking some risks from time to time.

Behave Professionally

This is very important if you are looking to run a gallery successfully. Even if you find a good location and you design your space beautifully, you won’t make it unless you strive to be professional. People in the art world want the whole package; you need to be good at what you do and be professional.

The way you behave will affect how comfortable people will feel recommending your gallery to others. Whether it be artists or customers, people want to know that they are dealing with a reputable person who doesn’t cut corners. People will want to know that you are business savvy, cooperative, responsible, and reasonable.

Use Your Website as a Powerful Presence

One of the things you will need when starting an art gallery in NYC is a website. However, just making a website and posting it online is not enough. Your website needs to be discoverable. This means you have to approach web design from a marketing perspective. While your website will not replace an in-gallery experience, it makes it possible for people to see your art 24/7. This means people will still get an idea of what you are about even if the gallery is closed. Think of a website as an introduction to your gallery. For the website to be effective, ensure that it gets designed by a professional. You must avoid cluttering it up with a lot of things. Instead, keep it clean. Also, make sure you supply details along with your images.

Attend the Openings

One of the most important things you need to do in the art business is networking. People need to know you, and you also need to know certain people. This can only happen when you make an effort to be known. You can attend as many opening receptions as possible. When you go to these events, don’t be shy. Congratulate people and speak to the gallery staff. You should also speak to other guests and exchange contacts. This is a great way to meet some people who are influential in the art world.

Starting an art gallery in New York City might not be the easiest, but it’s doable. All you need is proper preparation and a passion for art. You will also need to invest a lot of time and money. Running an art gallery is just like running any other business in some aspects. For instance, when you are selling refurbished Chromebooks or providing roofing services, you will still need to market your business. You will also need to get insurance and link with professionals like a workers comp lawyer.

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