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Gauging feed back for a series of Art Exhibitions.

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  • Gauging feed back for a series of Art Exhibitions.

    Hello everyone.

    I've been spending a fair amount of time over the last two weeks tracking down [mostly unsuccessfully] Art Exhibitions for me to exhibit my art work at. I managed to get my work into Swadfest '09 - I'll let you know how that went at the end of the week.

    Anyway - my husband, the kind soul that he is, has trawled the internet for operators of such shows and has found very little. Even websites that were promising the world this time last year have fell by the wayside so he has suggested that I might want to chance my arm at arranging some myself under his guiding light. He has 21 years worth of experience in marketing and a background in Market and Car boot operation so knows a little bit about it plus [along with me YAY] ran a £2 Million+ PA retail empire until just recently.

    Sorry, I'll get to the point. Is there much call from the artists on the forum for a new start up company which is looking to hold a monthly event that moves around the country displaying artist's work.

    The tarriff per event which he is looking to put in place is £10 flat fee for three pieces of work plus 10% commission on all pieces sold.

    This is not some flight of fancy which he is looking to make a quick buck out of and move on - he has already begun dialogue with some people about European funding for arts and has identified several high profile venues and other high footfall sublets of successful ongoing events who seem to be interested in talking further about the opportunity.

    To complete his presentation to the prospective investors he asked me to post this question on here and gauge interest. Hope that I haven't broken any forum rules doing so regarding advertising and if I have I'll take it down.

    Anyway. If it's of interest post away or send me a PM. Or even if you only have a question.

    Thanks for reading.

  • #2
    I think it's a great idea.

    I have just been asked to put in a few pieces at a new gallery and have to say it was not something that I had really considered as a selling medium before, but for some crafters it could be a brilliant opportunity to showcase their products to a different marketplace.
    The Old Potting Shed


    • #3
      Im not an artist.. but I do think that sounds like incredible value for money given that galleries usually charge in the region of 40% commission.. it would be a lot less hassle than selling at a craft fair and far cheaper too..

      I would have thought that the other benefit would be that the likely attendees would be "interested in art" so at least predisposed to purchase..

      Though on the less plus side, the artist doesnt get to meet the purchasers and may feel they miss out on feedback on any work exhibited..


      • #4
        I'd be interested in something like this - gallery commission is a bitter pill to swallow although they do their bit in getting people in with great advertising, and by providing an excellent space in which to exhibit. I have come to terms with the commission (I usually pay 30 to 35% but it can be as high as 40% - ouch) as I sell more work through galleries and appreciate the inter-dependent relationship.

        I have however seen some wonderful alternatives to the traditional gallery venue and this has all the makings of that. Whether or not artists are expected to attend (and they do usually on the first night of a run) wouldn't necessarily put me off - my artwork invariably sells on the nights/days when I'm not there lol - it can be a bit intimidating having to front out the artist although certainly many appreciate an opportunity to chat about the work too - swings and roundabouts.

        I couldn't agree more with Sparky's Dad about it bringing in the right people - targeted art events are certainly more successful than more general ones, at least in my experience.

        Anyway - yes, I think artists would be interested. (portfolio page)


        • #5
          I'm an art student and I would definitely be interested in an opportunity like this. I have not yet approached any form of selling my work, I do however which to start at least looking into it this summer so I would love to know how this idea goes.

          ReganLottie x

          Art Blog:


          • #6
            I would definitely be interested in this venture, I am always on the lookout for new outlets and ways of selling my work. I sell at a few fairs aswell as Galleries, one-off more expensive pieces sell better in Gallery situations as I think it is a more considered purchase. Although at times it seems a big percentage that Galleries take ,they are there to make a living as well and when weighed up against fairs it can work out about the same when you consider the time and money expended. Swings and roundabouts!



            • #7
              I would definatly be interested in this,i'm an art student who has just left college and is continuing art in uni next year. I also have one or two friends who may also be interested

              I live in Ormskirk so if you venture anywhere near me that would be great!



              • #8
                Hi, I would be interested as well. I have samples in my profile album.


                • #9
                  I've sold work via exhibitions and your terms sound very reasonable, so I would be interested.
                  Gail x

                  My Blog:


                  • #10
                    I recently came across Peterborough Art Society. I think a group of artists got together to form a society with a view to promoting their work. I know they hold studio open days and have 'meet the artist' events throughout the year. Cambridge also has a society.

                    I know lots of artists put their work on etsy, misi and folksy, but maybe a unique site that sells just artwork is the way to go. Depends on how you are going to market and get the site out there in the public awareness. The roadshows thing is a great idea, but would you/your husband travel around the country with these paintings and canvases (some of which may be big pieces)? What sort of insurance will you offer? Logistically how will it work? etc...

                    I know you are just hashing out the outline at the moment, but these were just my first thoughts

                    Best of luck and keep us all posted!
                    Design, not rocket science. Illustrator, graphic and web designer, mum of two, wife and self-appointed font police.

                    Changing the world one crayon at a time.



                    • #11
                      First of all; Thank you for all the replies so far. To find so many people who would consider this an viable route to market just on this very forum is certainly inspiring.

                      In answer to some of your questions:

                      In my opinion other than a marketing tool or point of reference, Art is not really something one generally purchases off of the internet. A website would be just that. A tool to promote the events and one that perhaps patrons would refer back to when they regret not taking the opportunity to purchase at the primary point of sale.

                      Insurances etc are both essential and mandatory for the events, as are in transit insurances.

                      It's not an idea to be cobbled together willy nilly. As so often is the case the economies of scale are at work. The flat fee with three hundred pieces would barely cover the costs of the events themselves, let alone the set up costs. We're looking long term in terms of profitability and that is why we are having to look at investors.

                      We are looking to the Arts council in terms of some help regarding the set up costs. There is a need for eye catching stands and marquees, considerable transport which is adaptable and various other incidentals which I won't bore you with - ask me if you want me to bore you, I love talking about stuff like this

                      We have also looked at two tiers of artist - those that would want to attend and present within a semi-enclosed environment and those who choose to do so by proxy.

                      The size of the events we're looking to put on, and this touches on the insurance issue also, will warrant a number of show personel - obviously it's impossible to judge this until we're sure of the numbers but I think it's paramount to get the right people involved to enhance the environment. Due to the initial sporadic nature of the events - we're looking to outsource this initially and review it when the time is right.

                      Sorry if I've missed any queries. I'm eating my lunch as I type and keep zipping up and down the replies spilling cheesy puffs on the keyboard

                      We're au fait with merchant banking facilities and as sure of most of you are aware it would be neccessary to pass these on should pieces be bought in this manner.

                      Should everything go to plan and the numbers add up we should be ready to go live in October with a series of three pre-christmas events. We will obviously try to give all of you good notice on these [even if they are merely pencilled in at an early stage.]

                      I can't think of anything else to be honest. The only stumbling blocks which we have both concluded are the only real issues are these.

                      1. Current economic climate - nothing we can do about that one.

                      2. Artists physically getting their work to us so as we can transport it to the event.

                      The latter; we're looking at a deal with a nationwide courier which will allow users of the service to send work at a discounted rate. This obviously cuts into your slice of the cake but is still somewhat costly, although still way cheaer than the 40% some have mentioned that high street galleries are asking to show work. Obviously dropping off and collecting work is not a problem if you happen to be around the corner from the event or where we base the operations but if you happen to be in Southampton - that could be a bit tricky.

                      The only other way around this would be to subscribe to a series of events rather than one and take advantage of the discounted courier service which pro-rata would then work out negligible.

                      Mmm - I seem to have waffled on a bit - again.

                      Like I said before; if you're interested let us know. If you have a question, please post it and if you can see holes in the idea - post them too. After all - I don't want to lose my house - I like it here

                      Thanks for reading again!

                      Ang x


                      • #12
                        Such stuff is never boring to me either so please feel free to air thoughts and queries as and when they occur.

                        As for the courier point - I think this is a good route to go down, especially as you are considering a two tier system for artists to attend or not. I am using an art courier for my next exhibition because once you add up the time, the cost of fuel and suitable parking it ends up being a good deal, even though I will still be facing a 35% commission on sales for this one. If an artist intends attending then they can organise their own transport (and insurance in transit etc).

                        I personally attend art fairs with a view to purchase as well - and for these I tend to do internet research first, checking out all the exhibiting artists' sites (my own is to be launched this week, such an essential marketing tool) so I would largely agree about the website point.

                        Certainly there is the possibility of losing out on a sale but I think it less likely the higher the artwork prices - people usually want to see these in person before parting with their cash. I say usually because sometimes I would be prepared to buy over the net from a favourite artist whose work I have already seen in person (3 come to mind in a flash - just need the cash!).

                        You might want to think what your good practice guidelines would be about direct/follow-on sales. Artwork seen in a gallery should be bought through the gallery is the general rule. Clearly if an exhibition is over then a person is then free to contact the artist direct for sales (think it's still considered to be a bit off if the show has just finished - not faced that myself) but while a piece is being marketed by the gallery they can expect their commission and it is good practice for an artist to alert the gallery of any approach for a direct sale. Not sure how that would work with a roadshow - am guessing something similar could be outlined.

                        Always interested in the business side so happy to chat - and I now fancy some cheesy puffs, drat!

               (portfolio page)


                        • #13
                          I'd be very interested in this!

                          Apparentl 'The caravan Club' were in Chichester last week.. I never managed to go and have a look, but it sounded similar, although I believe it's the same artists exhibiting..

                          For your idea, would that be £10 per event, or £10 for a round of cities?
                          Dearest Jackdaw



                          • #14
                            I would also be interested. I agree - there is a real need for this
                            Would funders be more amenable if there were a pedagogical/educational element eg offering viewings/workshops for schools/community groups?


                            • #15
                              That's a great idea for improving chances of lottery funding but you do run into all sorts of other issues - CRB checks, insurance (my own would cover me I think but not sure everyone has that educational aspect to theirs) - it also shifts the emphasis from being a show to workshop and am not sure how many of the school students are likely buyers.

                              Sorry if that sounds negative - I know group studios certainly harness the community aspect well for general funding but am not sure how well that translates into the exhibition area.

                     (portfolio page)