There are many forms of art and craft which can be made at home including paintings, sketches, photography, pottery, handmade cards, knitted items in footy colours and jewellery. A community gallery may be one outlet for whatever you create.
Gawler Community Gallery & Gift Shop Image by Marie Vonow
Firstly, you may ask what is the difference between a commercial art gallery and a community gallery?
A commercial gallery is a professionally run gallery where the staff are paid and the aim of the venture is to make a profit from selling art. Only some artists who approach a commercial gallery will be accepted and the type of work sold is restricted to what is likely to sell and boost the gallery's reputation. It can be very competitive.
Some country towns, regional cities and suburbs have a community gallery, sometimes called a co-op gallery or a community art gallery. These are great places to browse and look at a wide variety of art/craft and perhaps buy something unique for your home or give as a present.
Image by Marie Vonow
This can also be a place to sell your art/craft. These galleries are run by volunteers, usually people who exhibit and sell their work there. Each gallery has its own rules and way of doing things so you need to ask questions. If there is a website, blog or Facebook page this could be a good place to get some initial information.
Things you need to ask if considering selling your art/craft through a community gallery include:
Do I need to be a member? How much does yearly membership cost? The gallery may require that you be a member in order to sell your work there. Yearly membership will probably be quite affordable and you may be eligible for a concession if you are on a low income.
Am I expected to do a shift in the gallery? As community galleries are volunteer run, people are needed to man the gallery and handle sales of art/craft during opening hours. Each gallery has its own requirements. Being involved in this way is a great way to get to know other creative people and people from the community as well as visiting tourists.
What are the rules for selling through the gallery? There will probably be rules or guidelines about how many items you can put up for sale at the one time. If they do not sell within a certain time you may need to collect them to make room for the work of others.
What sort of items are sold through the gallery? Have a good look at what is for sale in the gift shop of the gallery you want to sell through. Specific items may not be suitable for selling through the gallery. There may be size restrictions so it is wise to ask questions before you bring in a load of items to sell.
Items on sale in community gallery gift shop Image by Marie Vonow
How much can I charge for my art/craft? Look around at items for sale to see what others are charging. Talk to people at the gallery for guidance.
In some community galleries there are many pieces of work on sale at a cheap price which is wonderful for people who want to buy affordable art/craft but not so good for the artist. However, if you put a substantially higher price on your work, will it be able to compete with lower priced pieces?
How much commission does the gallery charge? It is usual for commission to be charged to generate money to cover the costs of running the gallery.
Does the gallery hold exhibitions? If you want to promote your creative work, holding an exhibition is a great way to do this. Some community galleries have exhibitions. Ask about the cost to exhibit your work if this is of interest.
Does the gallery run art competitions? Some galleries have art competitions and sometimes the prize money is substantial, especially if there is good sponsorship from the local council and businesses. Winners are also likely to get publicity which may lead to further sales or being commissioned to produce work.
Image by Marie Vonow
Additional benefits of involvement with a community gallery can include:
Meeting other artists
Making new friends (working from home can be lonely)
Tips from other artists
Information about the materials you use. You may get information about sales and discounts.
Information about art classes and tutors
Inspiration from looking at the work of others
Somewhere to leave a pile of business cards
A community gallery is one of a number of places where you may choose to sell your art/craft and there can be benefits in addition to making money.