art gallery stuff (pt 4) – extra stuff you might not know about

still under construction.  the official opening was last week, but as part of the photography group – this section isn’t scheduled to be completed for about another 3 weeks.

i decided to notate a few things that i was caught off guard with in joining this facility.

* more money – this was my biggest thing that put me on the fence about joining. on top of the 30% rake the gallery takes, they also require monthly dues of $120 a month.  keep this in mind when pricing your work.  there’s no guarantees that you’ll sell even one piece a month..
* contracts – i received an email from the gallery requiring i sign a contract for 3 years.  that was then changed to 1 year with a optional 2 year renewal. so this means i have to fork out this monthly due for a minimum of 1 year = $1440 per year.  not exactly cheap for the starving artist.
* hours dedicated – this part i was not surprised about since it was explained to me in advance.  i had joined a co-op meaning that i will have to sacrafice some hours at the gallery.  this is fine, i enjoy being in the environment and being surrounded by people that enjoy the same interests.

at first i was turned off by the whole “money and contracts” aspect. i was concerned about the finances initially because i was never informed of it during jury selection.  i’m not being nit picky with my money, but at the same time – a month of “rent” = 2 weeks GAS.

there was a meeting for all the photographers to meet and to drop off work for the grand opening.  i decided to go to see what exactly my $120 every month was buying.  after investigation i find out that $120 buys:

  • real estate (wall space & bin space)
  • wet dark room (for those still using film)
  • studio (4 hours free every month, discounted rate after the first 4 hours)
  • an artist page on their website that includes a shopping cart for up to 10 items
  • PC workstations for digital darkroom work
  • discounts on equipment and art supplies
  • reduced admission fees for organized events by the facility
  • big ass printers available (minus paper)

so after going to the meeting, i got to meet some pretty cool folks that love photography as much as i do if not more.  i really liked how the facility came out as it was recently renovated from a prison to the now really cool modern lofty gallery.

after speaking with some of the other folks who were participating – i realized that many of them have been involved in many other organizations.  they’ve juried, headed, or participated in one photography organization or another.  and they know how it works.

one gentleman gave me a good reality check when he explained that there’s no guarantees that your work will sell.  he had work posted in a high traffic area and it sounds like his sales weren’t frequent.  there’s nothing guaranteeing that you’ll get your moneys back from of the final $1440 year investment.

besides getting all the stuff i noted above, what are you really getting?
i concluded that what you’re actually paying for is the experience of it all.

you’re buying the chance to have your work viewed by the public.

you’re buying the opportunity to have your work posted on the walls with other elite photographers.

you’re buying into a community that shares a common interest.

so am i going to do it?

yea.  why not?  i live once and can at least say – my work can be seen in a gallery.  in public.

not just on the interwebs.  not just in my cubicle.  not just on my friend’s myspace.  not just in my house.  but seen by everyone who wants to look at it in real life.

so what the hell.  lets do this.

want to visit my work?  check it out at the Workhouse Arts Center.

want to see my stuff online?  check it out here.

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