What Is a Gallery?

A gallery is a building or room in which visual art works are displayed. It is a part of the larger arts ecosystem, and its role includes disseminating art, as well as serving as major support systems for artists.

Galleries are usually owned by individuals, companies or institutions. They are often run by a curator or director. Depending on the size and scope of the gallery, it may also have administrative staff to oversee business operations. It is a common practice for galleries to earn funds through commissions on art sales as well as offering various professional services within the art context, such as art installation and investment services.

The word gallery was coined from a French term meaning a passageway along a wall that ran the length of the home. It became part of the English language in the mid-15th century and was brought to America by colonists. A gallery is a space that is open to the public and hosts exhibitions of contemporary or historical artworks.

When people talk about a gallery, they are generally referring to a commercial art gallery or museum that exhibits fine art works, either for sale or as a cultural resource. Galleries can also be found in educational institutions such as universities and colleges, where they serve the purpose of providing a venue for artistic research or study.

The gallery has a long and storied history as an institution that provides an avenue for people to experience the world of art. It is an important part of the arts community and has the power to transform the lives of those who visit it.

Many emerging artists are eager to get their work into a gallery. They seek representation by sending direct messages to a gallery owner or tagging them on Instagram with images of their art. Others show up at a gallery unannounced and present their work to the front desk. While this type of approach can be effective in certain situations, it’s not the best way to secure a gallery for your art.

If you are serious about getting into a gallery, start developing a relationship with the gallery early by attending events and signing up for their mailing list. This will allow you to build a rapport and gain familiarity with the gallery’s staff and customer base. It’s helpful to keep high-resolution images of your work on hand and store them in a cloud storage service with consistent file names, sizes and a brief description for each piece.

When you do decide to meet with a curator, prepare by practicing your elevator speech and selecting 3 specific points about your work that make it interesting and worth their attention. Be careful not to overstate your claims about your artistic style, as this can backfire and create a sense of skepticism from the gallery. A curator will know your art inside and out, so you’ll want to be honest with them but not too critical.