Continued…..“Artists – FREE Wall Decorators??”…..part 3.

art sticker

As discussed in my previous posts, artists can be taken advantage of in many ways.

Even regional and public galleries are guilty of this by not promoting their artists as they should.

Saying this I am not referring to major state and federally funded public galleries as these operate mostly along the lines of Art Museums – showcasing art through the ages, and seldom exhibiting living practising artists other than the famous.

I’m referring to the smaller regional and city public galleries which seem to act as if they are art museums themselves, treating their exhibiting ‘living’ artists and their artworks as if they are gallery specimens.

Many of these galleries won’t allow sales, readable signage (has to be discreet!), marketing or any form of commercialism as if the artists’ well-being and income are the least of their concerns.

If then they undertook wonderful promotion that would be something, but the opposite is usually true. Once the initial artworks are hung most of these galleries seem to think their work is done. Visitors rattle around in silent spaces, attendants hidden behind computers, having to help themselves to catalogues or brochures (if they can find them!) Promotion is usually limited to the Exhibition Openings, seldom the artists, whereas commercial galleries constantly promote the artists and artworks. It is small wonder many artists resort to public funding, grants and sponsorship in order to live and pursue their art practice. They need to be very determined!

What these public galleries seem to overlook is, that without the obliging artists looking for exposure of their artworks, there would be no art for the walls. No art for the walls means no art gallery, and no art gallery means no jobs, for these art administrators, who often treat their artists abysmally. The cause of this is primarily because these administrators live off ‘the public purse’.

Artists should start to insist that they are paid at the very least some sort of a retainer for ‘free’ decorating these gallery walls, sometimes for months on end. Their work is tied up with no hope for sales despite a huge outlay of time, for framing, of advertising such as brochures and posters, and opening night expenses. Many of these galleries also insist on a percentage commission on any sales that ‘happen to fall out of the sky’.

Commercial galleries, on the other hand, work hard to make their galleries viable business propositions, encouraging exhibitions and helping towards, if not covering, much of those costs. They promote and market their artists, encouraging sales. Their percentage commissions are worth every cent.

The rather foolish argument often presented by the public galleries is that they cannot encroach on the commercial galleries’ territories. But this is just an excuse for inadequacy. The two could easily complement each other without denying artists an income.

Artists should not work for free!!