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fw: gallery business plan

updated mon 31 jan 11


Bonnie Hellman on sun 30 jan 11

Note: this is NOT an attack on Mike or anyone. Mike and I exchanged emails
about this privately.

Mike, your story made me chuckle. Periodically when we were near Hastings-o=
Hudson, NY, a suburb of New York City, we would go to a shop that had Disne=
frames from the old cartoons, as well as smaller works of all sorts of art,
locally made. We actually bought some of those artistic works. That store
went out of business, even covering both markets. I would guess that their
fixed costs (rent, utilities, insurance) were just too high for sales. They
were in business for a number of years so perhaps sales decreased as well.

IMHO the artists are not forced to sell in galleries, and indeed many
galleries require that artists sell a certain volume per square feet of
"floor" space or maybe wall space, to keep their work in that gallery.

It may seem like a rotten deal for artists, who are selling on consignment,
but if an artist's work cannot sell for enough money to pay the gallery's
bills, that artist is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I am not canonizing gallery owners, but EVERYONE in business has to think
like a business person in terms of turning a profit. This includes the
gallery owners, the artists, the people who work for the gallery owner or
the artist, and so on down the line.

No one is entitled to make a profit. There may be desire and people may be
"good people" and therefore deserving, but there is no entitlement.

Mike, when a long time gallery gives you the boot, so many things could hav=
happened. Maybe your work sold really well, but no one else's work did.
Maybe the owner just got tired of selling art, which may have seemed like a
lot of work, including educating employees and customers. Maybe the owner
has made a very poor decision (and you'll be able to monitor his/her succes=
or lack thereof). Maybe the stars just got out of alignment.

Anyone who has owned a retail business with a store front can tell you that
there are a lot of "hidden" expenses, so unless you know the owner and the
owner is honest with you, you'll never know the reason.

Mel has already told us the story from the viewpoint of the artist selling
in the high rent district.

Mike, I am sorry you've lost a venue for your work, and I hope you can find
another way of deriving the same net income from another source.

I was going to add that most people don't start off trying to squeeze their
vendors, but maybe this isn't true. However, as others have said, each
of us has to put together our own business plans, and figure out how to mak=
a living in a way that makes us happy, or doesn't make us unhappy.


Bonnie D. Hellman, CPA in CO and PA
Ouray, CO. USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayart [mailto:Clayart@LSV.CERAMICS.ORG] On Behalf Of Mike Gordon
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 1:33 PM
Subject: Gallery business plan

Mel you think galleries are in business in new york for the
love of art? the love of artists? why do they call their artists `the
stable?` they are cattle. to make them money. if you do not make money fo=
them, you are gone in a heart beat. the bigger the gallery, the more you
have to do for them. and new work is a must. get the old work out of

Good point Mel... here's my story, happened last week. I've been with this
gallery for 4 yrs. Positioned right under the metal arch with the town's
name on it, on Main Street. Upper middle class income neighborhood. All the
artists got the boot last week, so I went in to pick up my work. Replacemen=
work? Disney Art! Star Wars, Donald Duck paintings! Hey, it keeps the door
open. Mike Gordon