*Excerpt from How to Get Started Selling Your Art, copyright © 1996 by Carole Kitchen. Used with permission of North Light Books.
It’s important to understand the different roles of gallery personnel. Galleries are comprised of many people, each with their own distinct personality. It’s these people who will be your partners in developing your art career. Treat them with respect and consideration, and expect that they will treat you the same.
Here is a list of titles and duties in a typical gallery.
OWNER OR ART DEALER
The person with ultimate control of a gallery is the owner (or owners). This person is also called an art dealer.
The owner might or might not be the same person as the gallery director. The gallery director decides which artists to exhibit, when to have shows and so on. The gallery director is also responsible for the sales staff. You might find the gallery director on the floor of the gallery or in a separate office.
The sales staff works directly with collectors and other visitors to the gallery. Their responsibility is, obviously, to sell art. Get to know the sales staff, because they can tell, as well as giving background information on the gallery. When I am showing with a gallery, I make a point of becoming friends with the salespeople because they are the ones who will be selling my art.
Larger galleries have various assistants, a receptionist, assistant to the director, maintenance crew and so on. Be friendly with everyone. In one way or another they all help sell your art.
STABLE OF ARTISTS
The last members of the gallery personnel are the stable of artists, the artists whose work is represented by the gallery. When I choose a new gallery, I always talk with one of the artists who is already represented by them. I ask how these people are to work with – Are they honest? Are they aggressive about promoting and selling their artists’ work? Do they work hard for all their artists?