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Gallery and Association Sites

We continue to add functionality to these new sites. The newly redesigned portals, and will be up in a few days. These portals (or gateways) can be expected to generate increased traffic and visibility to and to your sites. If you know anyone with an art gallery who might benefit from a fully functional self-managed website, please let us know. Also, if you belong to an art association, let us know if your association website is not doing as much for your association as it could.

Artspan Traffic Report.

January traffic numbers were 30,000 unique visitors (visitors counted once only) and 50,000 total visitors. A bit below where we have been the last couple of months, but still very strong numbers. We are working and spending to continue and build this momentum. These stats do NOT include visitors who go directly to your individual sites. That is a much greater number. Well done to those of you who are really working to promote your sites. You will know how important that is.

Send Us Your News!

Please let us know about you. Use this newsletter as your forum for announcing or expressing anything you wish about your art, your career, upcoming shows, lessons learned, whatever. Email your items for publication to [email protected], Subject Line: ArtsMart.


Featured Members


Dan Goldberg

For the past 11 years, he´s been working on a series of paintings that are entirely made out of acrylic materials-no canvas, linen, paper or wood for support. Acrylic colored gesso is layered with regular gesso in the middle of each painting for stability. When the layers are dry, he peels the painting off of the plastic mounted to the wall, grommets it and it´s ready for hanging.


William Stowe


Expert furniture maker whose work maintains a high respect for the tradition and craft of furniture making. The work demonstrates a design philosophy that is both modern and exciting.

The Projection Unit Coffee Table is made of mydrone burrel, walnut, bubinga, and bronze. Rear half of table rises to bring up a projector.



Note from the Editor:

Sylvia White is a Los Angeles art consultant whose website,, offers scores of articles with information and advice for emerging artists. In a career she fashioned out of her love of art and artists, Sylvia has devoted herself for over 25 years to the “forging of careers for committed young artists ready, willing and able to invest in themselves.”

With gratitude to Sylvia, in this issue of ArtsMart we publish her article entitled, Where does the spending stop? Vanity Galleries, Artist Co-ops, Slides, Announcements, Juried Shows, Advertising...Just how much do I have to pay to be an artist?

We regularly receive Forum posts or emails from artspan members asking about the legitimacy of gallery invitations that require up-front fees to exhibit works. Ethically, we cannot advise members to accept or reject these invitations, but we do what we can to help you make informed decisions. We believe Sylvia’s article offers some sage advice on spending for exposure.

Thanks to members who sent us your news. We’ve posted your announcements on the artspan home page and in the artspan Forum. Keep them coming, and we’ll keep on posting!

— Carolyn Evans, Editor

Where does the spending stop?

Vanity Galleries, Artist Co-ops, Slides, Announcements, Juried Shows, Advertising...
Just how much do I have to pay to be an artist?

By Sylvia White

The expenses an artist has to incur to promote his work can be overwhelming at times. It starts with the costs of materials and production, but it certainly doesn't end there. Documenting your work, unless you do it yourself, can also be a significant expense. Unfortunately, quality documentation is essential to getting the attention you want from galleries and collectors. Usually the cost of hiring a professional photographer is worth every penny. Therefore, the costs involved with making and documenting your work are pretty non negotiable. In addition, for an emerging artist, at least some juried show expenses are also mandatory, as it is the most effective way to build a resume. Making the decision where to spend your money becomes less clear when an artist enters the "gray" area of expenses, such as paying for advertising or announcements and renting gallery space. Many artists just don't know what is reasonable and what is not.

Before I begin the discussion about paying for extras, I need to go over the common practices of conventional galleries. Although there will always be exceptions, most galleries that are willing to represent you, assume the responsibility for advertising, exhibition announcements and postage, the installation and opening reception. They do this in exchange for 50% of the sales price of your work…hoping that eventually this investment in you and your work will pay off. The assumption is they are interested in having a long-term (exclusive) relationship with you and willing to wait for a return on their investment. This is one reason why honesty and loyalty in the gallery-artist relationship is so important. As an artist, you need to view this 50% as their fee for services rendered. Assuming you sell $10,000 worth of work, you would have paid your gallery $5000 for your show.

Because of the state of the art market, it is not uncommon for some smaller galleries to ask the artist to assist with some of the expenses. This can range from just paying for the announcements, to paying a rental fee for the exhibition. As a general rule of thumb, the greater the cost to you for the show, the less that gallery is interested in having a long-term exclusive relationship. Similarly, negotiations for gallery rental and exhibitions expenses should be deducted from the commission paid on sales. For example, if you are paying all costs associated with the show, the gallery should only take a very small, if any, commission on sales-maybe 10%; if the gallery is just asking for your help in some areas, 20-40% of any sales generated may be appropriate.

Co-ops and artist run galleries are different. They usually charge members a monthly fee for the privilege of having some wall space. Generally, they have a set commission that ranges from 20-40%. They can offer you use of their mailing list, a professional space to show your work and a chance at some public exposure. But, like vanity galleries, the exposure you get from these shows is only as good as you make it. The gallery generally has no vested interest in selling or promoting your work to other galleries, critics or collectors. To pay big bucks for one of these shows, and then just sit back and wait for something to happen is like buying a lottery ticket…. actually, you'd probably have a better chance of winning the lottery, than having something spectacular come from this kind of show. On the other hand, if you are prepared to do the groundwork and the necessary follow up for this kind of exhibition, it can be a very effective part of your marketing strategy.

Most artists begin with unrealistic expectations when it comes to renting a gallery space. Just because a gallery is in a well-trafficked location, doesn't mean it someone important will come to see your show, give it a review, or buy your work. Private commercial galleries have to work hard to establish relationships with collectors and critics…that's what you are paying them for. Rental galleries generally haven't established these relationships, so it is up to you, the artist, to get people to your show. To effectively utilize the opportunity of a "vanity gallery" you have to be prepared to do the following:

    • Have your own mailing list of interested collectors, critics and target galleries to receive announcements.
    • Pay for advertising in the local gallery guide, include a color image of your work, gallery hours and a way you can be reached…a website address would be ideal.
    • Send out a press release at least 3-4 weeks before the opening.
    • Set up appointments for important people on your list to meet you at the gallery to discuss you work.
    • Have promotional materials available for visitors to take.
    • Leave a guest book, for visitors to sign with name, address and email
    • After the show comes down, maintain regular contact with interested visitors, add them to your mailing list, and make any follow up phone calls, as necessary.

    Remember, renting gallery space is usually an expensive endeavor. Paying a gallery a lot of money to hang your work is a waste unless you have a clear set of goals established…otherwise, the experience becomes just an exercise to massage your ego-hence the name, vanity gallery. Don't go into it unless you are willing to do the work (and spend the money) to make it a successful part of your career development strategy.

    For more articles and advice on marketing your art, please visit Sylvia's website at

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