On June 20, the Arts and Business Council will offer an event pairing galleries and artists to begin a mutual conversation focused on how the gallery system works for both artist and gallery. The hope is to create an ongoing resource through the ABC for artists to ask general questions about the advantages of becoming a gallery artist, the role of a gallery artist, and the options for an artist to work independently. Galleries and artists when working together at their best can learn practical ways to gain trust and achieve common artistic and financial goals.
One of the primary responsibilities for the artist is to do their own homework: researching galleries and discovering which ones might be an appropriate professional fit; sketching out a career and business plan for their artwork; developing promotional messages; and thinking about ways to build a consistent following of clients and fans through social media and other initiatives. The gallery responsibility is to outline the terms of their curatorial, promotional, and financial resources that they commit to the artists they represent. Once the gallery and artist engage, they together create a mutual plan based on using the extensive resources of the gallery to advance the goals of each of their artists. The result is a creative collaborative relationship that benefits both. Clients and customers then have access to artists in a gallery where mutual trust and respect reign.
One other consideration for an artist is what the merits are for pursuing an independent career versus becoming a gallery artist. Either way, starting this conversation and making resources available to artists and galleries is important to both. The lure of Nashville’s vibrant creative lifestyle is attracting legions of new artists and galleries. Together, they are establishing themselves as an integral part of making Nashville a creative collaborative destination for new artistic vitality.
Thanks go to the Arts and Business Council for adding this professional artistic business exploration to their agenda this summer.
Commentary by Anne Brown, The Arts Company
**this blog came from a request from the ABC about a forthcoming event they are sponsoring to open up new conversations between artists and galleries. This post will also appear in the forthcoming June 2016 issue of Nashville Arts magazine.