Submitted by: Sydney Luther, Communications Assistant, and Vivian Orr, Communications and Publications Coordinator

Click here to read part one.

When you are applying to an art gallery, it’s important to note that there are several kinds of galleries. The first is a commercial gallery, which is an individually owned, for-profit gallery. These galleries are run as a retail business. The owner will choose to either purchase artwork outright at a wholesale rate, or to sell the work on a consignment basis. The latter option is more common. This means the artist receives a portion of the price of the artwork when a piece is sold, and the gallery receives the rest. As mentioned in the last post, there are many reasons why a gallery needs the consignment they are owed. This allows the gallery to continue to run!

The second type of gallery is a cooperative gallery, in which artists join together to set up and run the gallery. Everything involved in running the gallery is dealt with democratically between the members, and the gallery is co-owed by all the artists involved. In this case, wall space in the gallery is shared by the artists in the cooperative. If an artist wishes to join, there will be a charge and usually a monthly fee to pay. Sometimes these galleries will show works of artists who do not belong to the cooperative, but usually there is a fee for this.

Lastly, there are museums, which are publicly funded galleries which generally do not sell the work they show. These are funded by grants and through the government, and do not run like a retail business. These usually are run by some sort of advisory board and employ a curator who chooses which pieces will be shown. The institution may have a gallery gift store or boutique that does sell items. Again research is advised before approaching the store or boutique.

The Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina is a public, not-for-profit gallery.
Have you spotted the issue with these explanations yet? They are not cut-and-dry definitions. The Affinity Gallery at the SCC is a hybrid of the public and private types of galleries. We are funded by the government and by grants, and we are considered a public, not-for-profit gallery (meaning there is no entrance fee and we are open on some statutory holidays) but we do sell pieces on a consignment basis in our exhibitions, if the artist chooses. We make money to fund the gallery through these types of sales. The SCC also has a gallery boutiquefeaturing a selection of works by Juried SCC artists.

Again, the underlying message here is to do some research before you approach any gallery. It is important to understand these different types of galleries, as they determine if or how you can make money off of your artwork.