What Is a Gallery?

A gallery is a place where art is shown and sold. It can be a space in the form of a room or building or an online website dedicated to showing and selling artworks. It can also be a group of artists who come together to run their own gallery in an artist-run initiative.

The primary role of a gallery is to nurture visual artists and promote their work to a wide audience including the public, collectors, media, and other cultural institutions both locally and internationally. It works tirelessly and strategically to advance the careers of its artists, helping them become established within the professional art world. To this end, a gallery must provide appropriate exhibition space, manage administrative and curatorial staff, invest in and participate in a myriad of very expensive art fairs and art events, secure insurance, set and maintain websites, publish catalogues and books, acquire and sell works on consignment to collectors and institutions, and provide a variety of other services.

In order to achieve its goals, a gallery typically collaborates with living artists for long-term collaborations that span several exhibitions, and with a smaller number of artist estates for one-time collaborations for specific exhibitions. Artists that the gallery represents are called represented artists, whereas those who work with the gallery on a more limited basis for an exhibition are called exhibited artists.

For the most part, galleries charge a fee to display and sell the artists’ work. This fee is often called the “gallery commission”. By charging this fee, a gallery is able to make money when the art sells, so it has an incentive to do its best to promote and sell the artists’ work.

Moreover, many galleries are not for-profit businesses, but rather nonprofits that are funded by grants, donations and other private sources. Because of this, they may be able to offer more flexibility in terms of who and how the art is displayed. However, they are still subject to the same financial constraints as commercial galleries and must charge fees and commissions to cover their expenses.

For the most part, galleries will provide a price list or catalog that includes prices for each piece of artwork. These can be accessed either online or when visiting the gallery in person. If you have a question about the pricing for an artwork, be sure to ask the gallery’s supervisor or owner. They will be happy to help.