We have had several artists enquire about the legitimacy of the gallery’s 50% commission. For the sake of transparency, here are a few points for all to consider:
The Studio Art Gallery is open 60 hours a week, Monday to Sunday. During this time we put a lot of effort and creativity into marketing and selling the artworks consigned to us, actively promoting our artists and engaging our buyers. We are constantly researching creative ideas and techniques that we can use to attract, educate and nurture art collectors. Two of our directors are established artists, who contribute their abundant experience in selling art through many successful and a few disappointing business partnerships with various galleries and agents. We are a reputable, hardworking art gallery with five years’ experience in selling art and have earned credibility with a local and international client base. Therefore, our demonstrated confidence to represent and exhibit a specific artist has an immediate, positive impact on potential clients who rely on our gallery to identify quality art that might also have a long term investment value. Furthermore, any artist whose work we choose to exhibit, becomes a direct beneficiary of this gallery/artist partnership as both the artwork and the artist instantly assume a higher level of “credibility” because of this relationship.
Like any commercial commodity, the value of art is often determined by two main factors. Firstly, there is the cost of production, everything from conceptualization to exhibition readiness, time, materials, hard work, etc., and secondly there is the cost of selling the artwork, which includes everything from gallery overheads, marketing, customer services and building a client base, etc. Artists need to keep in mind that the Studio Art Gallery is a privately-owned and for-profit business. We should not be confused with non-profit art exhibit spaces that focus on education and preservation, even though we may partake in such activities from time to time. The relationship between our gallery and represented artists or invited artists participating in one of our organized events, is a business partnership. It is a relationship established with mutual financial benefit in mind – not charity. If we have sold an artwork for you, in essence you have hired us to take over the marketing, sales, and customer service for that particular artwork and a 50% commission is what we charge for our efforts.
Here is a brief overview of our marketing strategy for the Winter Life group exhibition:
- The Studio Art Gallery mailing list: We have sent out 2 letters to more than 2000 subscribers and plan to send out a further 2 before the end of the show. A special invite will be sent out to all our clients who have purchased art from the gallery over the past 5 years.
- The Studio Art Gallery’s website: We will make available a price list / catalogue of all participating artist’s work on our website and our four new portfolio artists will be added to the shop, and other relevant places on the website.
- Youtube: a short video will be released a week after the opening event, depicting what’s available, and something about our new portfolio artists, etc.
- Instagram: We will regularly upload artworks from the show with details and prices.
- The Studio Art Gallery’s FaceBook page: We have posted 20 scheduled posts leading up to the opening event. This includes a submission date countdown. All participating artists and our 4 new portfolio artists will be made known in a post on Monday the 21st August, thereafter we will schedule another 10 scheduled posts inviting buyers and promoting artists until the end of the exhibition.
- We have boosted the original Winter Life post on our FB Fan Page and it has almost reached 9000 people (20.07.2017).
- Imhoff farm also markets our events on their Facebook page and their online newsletter.
- We have written an article for local News Papers.
- We will advertise in various art/events related publications (The Art Times’ events listing, Cape Town Magazine, etc.)
- People’s choice initiative: We have encouraged artists to invite their fans, friends and family to attend the opening to vote for their work and partake in the ticket draw. This will bring more potential buyers to the opening event.
- In Studio Workshops: We will invite selected artists to do demonstrations and talks at the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition.
- The Tour Guide Partnership Program: We will actively market this exhibition to local tour guides operators, offering part of the galleries commission as an incentive for them to bring their clients to the gallery. This program is already active on our website.
- The Interior Decorator Partnership Program: This is in process and we intend to launch this program during the Winter Life group exhibition.
- We are interacting with some reputable bloggers, who have large audiences, and will blog about our event.
For the four new portfolio artists, we will take the marketing strategy way beyond the Winter Life group exhibition, see ‘Benefits of Representation’ on our Winter Life page.
Besides all our efforts, each artist also has the responsibility to self-promote. It’s important to know how to promote your own artwork online – brand yourself – and know why you create what you do. Communicate these things both visually and verbally with us, so that we can in-turn engage clients when they are admiring your work. The artist/gallery relationship is truly a partnership.