Running an Art Gallery and the Roles of Art Galleries

Who Runs an Art Gallery?

Art galleries display artwork that is for sale, unlike the art in museums. They also serve as the dealer for the artists they represent, handling transportation, invoicing, and tracking sold artworks on the secondary market.

They build a curated portfolio of represented artists (or artist estates) with whom they have a long-term collaboration and promote them for their careers and sales.


An art gallery is a small business where art is exhibited and sold. The profits from these sales are used to maintain and operate the gallery. Most galleries specialize in a specific area of the art world. These areas may be based on technique, medium or even a theme.

The primary role of a gallery is to nurture visual artists and promote their work. This is achieved by exhibiting the art in high-quality exhibition spaces, promoting the artist and their work to collectors and media, and working tirelessly to establish the artists in the professional art market.

It is not easy to run an art gallery. It requires a great deal of time and energy to promote new art, attend events and manage the daily operations of the gallery. This is why many art galleries close after a few years of operation. Those that survive do so because they have a dedicated following and are able to balance the creative and financial costs of running an art gallery.


Gallerists work diligently behind the scenes to nurture visual artists and expose their art to the public, collectors, and the media. They often visit artist studios, organize and curate exhibitions, write press releases, and provide art education and other events to engage the community with their gallery’s collection.

Many galleries also require their employees to have strong business savvy and the ability to communicate effectively with clients. For example, they may need to be able to describe the background of a piece or explain the techniques used to create it. They must also be able to find and store art properly to ensure that it is not damaged.

A good gallerist is a strong leader who can build relationships with their artists and encourage them to expand their portfolios. A great gallerist is willing to invest in the career of an artist, and can make decisions based on market conditions and other factors. They are also able to anticipate trends and keep their collections relevant.


The client of an art gallery is a person who buys artwork or makes a deposit to commission a piece of art. A gallery’s clients include individuals, corporations, or institutions that may want to purchase art for their spaces. Depending on the size of a painting, the cost can range from thousands to millions of dollars.

Art galleries are often small businesses and they need to make money to keep their doors open. They earn money from sales and are sometimes funded by grants. They also have many other expenses, including rent, utilities, and marketing.

An art gallery needs to have a good relationship with its clients to survive and thrive. This includes maintaining a close relationship with the artists it represents and promoting them to grow their careers. Gallery owners often visit artists to see their work and identify up-and-coming talents. They also collaborate with artists to arrange exhibitions and other opportunities for their artworks.


Managing an art gallery requires more than just a keen eye and a love of art. The job requires an extensive knowledge base and a wide range of administrative skills. You also need a strong work ethic and connections with artists to thrive in this field.

The manager of an art gallery handles business operations and helps the gallerist achieve goals for exhibits. In addition, they may need to ensure that all equipment such as multimedia kiosks works well. They might also need to travel to other galleries and meet with clients or vendors.

Other responsibilities include creating marketing strategies to increase sales, advertising gallery artists and events, and maintaining an inventory of art pieces and client databases. Additionally, they might need to train employees and participate in auctions and art conventions. Some managers have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, art history, or studio art. Others have obtained on-the-job training through internships. Some have even pursued master’s degrees to further their career aspirations.

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