Four Tips to Handle a Gallery Closing

 

What if you are lucky enough to find a gallery — and it closes? What then?

Recently many of my artist clients have been sharing with me the news that one or more of their galleries have closed because of poor sales. This is of course quite a blow, not so much economically, because for most of these artists their galleries hadn’t been selling much of their work anyway, but emotionally, because it has felt like a dream burst, the dream of gallery representation.

Here are four cognitive and practical things to try if your gallery closes:

1. Remember the basic rule of life, that there is very little that you can control, your gallery’s closing being one such thing. Your emotional health hinges on the mature, wise realization that significant parts of life are not in your control. Accept that reality.

2. Get right on the task of creating a plan for selling your art that includes all of the contemporary ways of selling art, including, of course, hunting up new galleries. There isn’t a moment to lose if your gallery closes and you don’t want to sink into a funk and refuse to look this reality in the eye. Get right back on the horse of selling.

3. Make sure, as best as you can, to come to a “clean end” with the closing gallery, including getting your art back and getting paid any outstanding monies. This, too, may be very hard, as your gallery may not be very inclined to do the right (and costly) things, like return your work or pay you. Be persistent and do not shy away from asking and, if asking isn’t enough, demanding. Yes, it is hard for them; but that isn’t a sufficient reason for them not to treat you honorably.

“Ask your gallery … to help connect you with new leads and outlets for your work.”

~ Eric Maisel

4. Ask your gallery, even though they are not really in the mood to talk about it, to help connect you with new leads and outlets for your work. That is, don’t assume that because they are closing they are leaving the business entirely or don’t still have worthwhile contacts and connections. Ask directly if they can still be of help to you, even though they are closing.

It is a sad day when your gallery closes and you will be emotional. Accept your feelings and try to move past them as quickly as you can, because although the gallery has closed your art selling must not stop. That selling is a marathon and this is an unfortunate bump in the road. Get back in the race as quickly as you can!

 

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