Art Gallery

Art Gallery

To scrutinize a canvas until knowing it in all its aspects, to go in search of what the artist wanted to mean… For many, art is more than a passion: it is a priesthood.

Perhaps this is your case. Maybe you are even seriously considering opening an art gallery. If that’s the case, good news: this article was written just for you. From the idea to the search for funding, we go through each of the steps involved in setting up an art gallery.

Step One: Market Research

The first step in opening an art gallery is essential: market research. This will involve learning about the art sector, the state of its market, trends, consumer expectations, and competition in order to identify a viable commercial positioning for your gallery.

This step is quite delicate because the art market remains a niche market, unknown, and on which little information circulates. To get around this problem, you will need to get your information at the source, i.e. directly from art galleries, and talk to both buyers and owners to assess the commercial potential for your business.

Although these figures do not take into account the revenues of art galleries, and fine art auctions are probably less sensitive to the economic situation, given the high price of these works intended for a wealthy clientele. Nevertheless, they do give a first indication of the market trend.

What will be the concept of your gallery?

Once your market research has been carried out, you will be able to refine your commercial positioning. This will depend in part on the dynamics of the local market and the positioning of your competitors.

What will be the concept of your gallery?

Once your market research has been carried out, you will be able to refine your commercial positioning. This will depend in part on the dynamics of the local market and the positioning of your competitors.

If the competition around you is strong, you will probably have to differentiate yourself, in order to avoid having to share the market by being positioned on the same niche as other galleries, which would heavily burden your turnover.

In what type of premises to open an art gallery?

The choice of premises for an art gallery is not very complex: it is above all a question of having enough space to store and exhibit the works.

On the other hand, its location will be important. An important element is to situate yourself next to actors already attracting an audience in your target audience. In your case, the theater or flea market enthusiasts may be sensitive to what you offer. A location in neighborhoods with these types of buildings or near other art galleries can therefore be a winning strategy.

What is the legal status of an art gallery?

The next step towards the opening of your art gallery is the choice of legal form. On the other hand, if you create a company you will have to choose between the many possible legal statuses.

This choice is not to be taken lightly, because it will have an impact on :

  • The scope of your liability: for example, with a status such as sole proprietorship (EI), your liability is unlimited, which means that in the event of bankruptcy you will be liable for the company’s debts on your personal assets.
  • Taxation of the gallery: depending on the type of company you will be taxed for corporate tax or income tax.
  • Your social regime as a manager: will you be assimilated as an employee or a self-employed worker?

What does it take to open an art gallery?

Before going any further, let’s take stock of what you will need to open your gallery. The premises will not be enough, you will also need to anticipate the needs in terms of staff and equipment needed to operate the gallery.

On the personal side, the needs will be quite limited, one or two employees should be sufficient. The bulk of the budget will probably be allocated to the works, you will have to set up a sourcing strategy with local, national or international artists. Note that you will be competing with museums and associations on this part.

You will also need to plan for the administrative part of the activity, and investments in the marketing part (sign, website, etc.). For all this, we advise you to ask for quotes from several suppliers and compare prices. You will also need to make one or more declarations, depending on what you are exhibiting.

Opening an art gallery: the marketing plan

You are in the advanced stages of developing your art gallery’s business plan, and you are in the process of developing your marketing plan. In other words, you need to think about how to make your company known.

Beyond the location of your premises, which will benefit from more or less visibility, there are different channels to attract customers to your gallery. This is the case of the local media, you can try to get people talking about you at the opening or when you exhibit new artists.

Visuals (posters and flyers) can also be a valuable ally. Here again, be relevant: you are more likely to find a receptive audience in the reception area of a theater or cultural associations, for example. Finally, the creation of a website seems almost indispensable. It’s a convenient way to get information about your gallery, such as opening hours and the artists exhibited.

The time has come to write the business plan of your art gallery.

The next step is one of the most important of your project: the writing of the business plan of your art gallery.

The business plan is the reference document for the search for financing, it contains a written part used to present the project and its assets, as well as a financial forecast to quantify the need for financing and the potential for profitability.

It has three functions:

  • It should enable you to check that you have not forgotten any step. If this is the case, there will be a “hole” in your file.
  • It highlights the viability (or non-viability) of your future gallery, especially from a financial point of view. It is better to realize that your project is null and void at the time of the business plan than after you have bought the material…
  • Last but not least, it allows you to convince your future financial partners.

If you are not accustomed to writing business plans, a good solution for this task is to use an online business plan software.

Using specialized software to create your art gallery business plan has several advantages:

  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan.
  • You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
  • You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the accounting aspects for you.
  • You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your banker.