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From a gallery owner...

Hi gang.

I enjoy seeing this sort of topic come up, and am familiar with both sides
of the issue, all too well.

Two years ago I _did_ start a gallery, with the help of a talented
partner, a tolerent spouse, and a number of trusting investors.  The main
emphasis isn't bookarts (though we have a handmade paper exhibit up that
is very impressive), but still the issues are the same.

We've just started doing "call for entry shows" and my partner and I
discussed the matter of whether to charge for entries or not.  We elected
not to, since we were not going to offer any sort of cash awards.  This
may be a decision we re-visit, not only as a 'filter', but also to help
defray the very real costs of hosting any sort of show.  To give you some
idea of what is involved: our _actual_ costs for printing, promotion,
postage, et cetera runs to at least a thousand dollars for any show.  That
does not include the usual overhead and salary costs that we incure each
month, which are ten times that.

As to the percentage commission that a gallery takes...well, I'd agree
with you there.  Ours is way below that.  But it is partly a function of
our location, and that costs of doing business are lower here than where
60% is more the norm.  So I'm not going to cast too many stones.

There is a symbiotic relationship that has to exist between galleries and
artists.  Artists invest their time, training, and creative energy into
making their art.  Galleries invest their time, training, and money in
making it possible for people to see and purchase that creative product.

One thing I would like to toss out is that as a gallery owner, and an
artist, the thing that impresses me about any entry is the level of
professional pride that is demonstrated.  So, as an artist, spend as much
time and money as you can on making your slides as good as they can be,
your two-dimensional work finished and in a nice, simple frame, your books
boxed and safe for shipping.  Provide clear labels with all the
information requested, and a nice cover letter or entry form, as
appropriate.  Be professional.  It pays.

Well, I'll invite one and all to check out the handmade paper and fiber
show we currently have up.  And wish you all good luck with your entries.


  James T. Downey


"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love."  Goethe

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