man in mask

Loss Of Art Galleries And Art Storefronts

Decline In Art Storefronts Impact Artists Reach To The Public

It has been more than a year since the world began shutting down fighting a virus. The loss to art galleries and art storefronts have been economically significant.

As we look forward into the next year already we hear of the issue deteriorating rather than becoming better. This comes despite promises which are made as people surrender more and more.

This graph will show that present losses are totaled to be near 2 billion dollars in losses. If things become worse the fate of what the future holds is largely unknown.

The question becomes what will the long term outlook be for artists if the world continues down this same path?

If further lock down or quarantine is required and imposed by governments certainly all aspects of economy are impacted. Yet some are impacted more than others and art is among them.

Art Dependency On Storefronts And Tourism Created A Negative Impact

Many artists are not within a traditional art gallery. If you ever vacation to historical places often you will see artists selling their works privately or through street vendors.

This is commonly done in Charleston SC and it allows for art collectors to acquire very nice pieces at discount. Small niches such as this thrive providing a direct outlet to consumers which are otherwise difficult to come by.

Other common locations such as this can be found in small shops across North America that are privately owned. These small shops offer a consignment for various items in order to offer the public more that the owner themselves could normally stock on their own.

More advanced artists who are better at their self promotion have campaigns where they provide services to small businesses or store owners.

These individuals have done far better with marketing art and hold a solid grasp on public relations for art. Their art platform has been cultivated with strategy.

Whether it be ad development or murals for walls, the artists have cultivated these inroads. Some have managed to build relationships that have allowed for private gallery viewings.

The showing can happen at set times for local artists to reach the community through these local shops.

Many of these methods are seen as alternative ways for an artist to reach the public and be noticed. They are creative methods and require outside of the box thinking.

Unfortunately these methods are now in jeopardy. As the world has turned to self protective impositions, the infrastructure which these artists depend upon have been hit hard.

We have been told for more than a year to be patient and allow for these quarantines to work in order to contain the covid virus. The reality is that it does not matter if this is about covid or not.

Next year a new virus could emerge and once again create a new panic within the governments. The art world has forever been impacted by outside forces of control that have now dictated and limited our action.

This is not a debate of how just or unjust it is, nor how serious or real it may be. Rather the impact of this imposition by government has caused disruption in how an artist survives.

In order to build one must depend upon consistency. An artist depends upon these storefronts and galleries being there to serve them daily.

Quarantine And Shut Downs Impact On Artists And Their Art

As quarantines and shut downs have been enacted in the past year we have seen businesses be lost forever. In my local town alone one can see entire strip malls reduced by no less than 1/3rd occupancy.

These stores could not survive the shutdown and have collapsed. Most of these were locally owned and life long small businesses.

The situation is worse in some places more than others. In California some business owners risk running into legal issues as they refuse to close their doors.

For them they see the death of their business to be as real as any threat by a virus. It has created a cultural and economic impasse that we should not ignore.

Certainly the impact of what has taken place has been broad and devastating economically. A precedent has been set that we can never turn away from.

Government can impose this shut down or quarantine with the ease of a pen creating instability and destroying lives economically.

This is the narrative which is being missed and ignored by media. No doubt something must be done to protect people from getting sick whether now or in the future.

At the same time no one cares if a lifelong endeavor or dream is destroyed leaving a wake of carnage across the nation. There must be a better way.

Lack Of Support For Artists Within The Art Community

Art was in decline before these events came to pass. Not long ago we could see a slow transition as more artists began to look for alternative methods for promotion. The move art galleries online has been the direction many have attempted to grow into yet it is difficult.

Just as it can take time to open a physical storefront and promote locally, time is required to grow in any community. The being noticed in the online world is no different.

It can take time to establish ones presence through a website and networking with those to benefit all involved. These evolution’s when done naturally can take years to accomplish.

Quarantine and shutdowns due to covid has been like a shock to the economic system. Many artists have no established outlet through the internet.

As a result they have taken to places such as Ebay or other brokers. There has been a scramble to create an online platform which before did not exist.

The question that remains is, will this be effective enough for art to survive? Diving into the online world was not easy before covid, and now is more complicated.

For an artist often there is little support outside of what they can do themselves. Learning how to create a platform for getting their artwork noticed is a challenge many cannot do for a lack of technical skills that are required.

If these technological challenges are overcome an artist still faces the difficulty of learning how to market in this new world.

Just like storefronts and galleries have their own unique approach, so does a website, blog, or other virtual marketplace. It requires a lot of effort and work which often is misunderstood.

Unfortunately for those who have jumped into this endeavor they have done so being ill prepared. It is as a result of circumstance rather than natural evolution.

If the next year or perhaps years to come present these same challenges due to quarantines or localized shut down, the environment for artists may forever be altered.

Can Artwork And Artists Survive Online Alone?

I have no doubt that artwork can be marketed and sold online, yet historically it was supplemental rather than a stand alone approach. Selling online only is not natural.

By its very nature art is about impression and visual impact thus why art exhibitions have worked so well historically. This is achieved by seeing it in person and being able to hold art in your hands.

Artwork requires the senses take in the creation in a personal way. The problem with selling art online is that much of this is removed from the process.

A virtual marketplace does not allow one to see the full scope of what said piece of art offers an individual. Due to this the difficulty for an artist to survive online alone is exponentially harder.

With time this difficulty will shift. New Media Art has emerged to become a force in the market.

A generational gap exists presently for those who are accustomed to only virtual art as compared to physical. Marketing physical art online thus will become easier with time in this sense.

Some art galleries have shifted into virtual showing and tours. Success in accomplishing this is varied.

Often that success is a direct result of how established a gallery is within a community. Nevertheless its impact is not as beneficial to the community as it was before.

A physical gallery showing not only allows the in person impact of art but also generates foot traffic for other local businesses. Art is about bringing people together.

It creates community. Within it is found culture while it cultivates growth. In essence it can be attributed to the purpose of art.

The world of art is being asked to do the exact opposite of what its function is to perform by its very nature. With social distancing and preventing events or showings from taking place, we lose so much.

The community surrounding us suffers from this loss. The artist themselves are found alone losing their primary outlet for connecting directly with people.

Despite all this. I believe it is possible for an artist to survive through online resources alone. This will not be easy.

The greatest difficulty will come from the individual being thrown into the water to learn to swim rather than it being a more natural evolution through time. I fear that for many they will not survive this transition.

While the strong or those who adapt well and learn quickly will survive, there will be great losses. Those who cannot dedicate themselves full time to these new methods will suffer the worst.

An example of this can be seen over the past year as more artists than ever have taken to social media. They promote things like fan art to gain notoriety. In the meantime they do not take into account the danger social platforms present.

As with anything consistency is a requirement in creating a new path. Too many struggle to survive and need employment preventing them from full immersion into the direction they need to go.

Galleries and storefronts offered protection from certain elements that now an artist will face alone. Much will need to be learned concerning branding and marketing that too many have little education within.

Serious Complications For Art Hubs And Online Brokers

Those of us who have been in the online world for some time learned the ropes the hard way. There really is no school to teach you how to do what we do here.

The environment is so different that it is almost alien to all other concepts in the artist world. The broader art community has its issues but gave a structured environment for growth.

Some focus on social media while others use none. Some believe in content marketing while others prefer search results as I do.

There is no single school of thought and no one individual has the resources to invest in every possible outlet. For someone new, this world can create a virtual vertigo making them dizzy.

target audience

The first instinct for many will be to join brokers such as Ebay. Another popular example is selling art on Etsy.

Yet for those like me we left these places as many problems exist with Etsy and others like them. In the end it costs you more than it is worth.

Add to all this the petty competitive nature of some selling their artwork too cheaply and the environment is ripe for disaster. Too few understand what real competition in art is.

As an artist evolves in this online world they begin to realize that the same effort would be better spent on their own platform independently from these hubs, brokers, or e-gallery systems.

Not everyone will succeed at being independent. Some are not good enough to be a success and should remain in these hub locations.

The problem with this new environment is that an artist has no mentor to call on. There is no infrastructure to help support them through education and development.

Artists Must Be Willing To Help Other Artists

I am not brazen enough to claim that I have a broad solution. Yet there are ways that some can be helped when starting out. I believe that there is a value that can be offered by those who have experience in the online platform for art.

If those who have that experience are willing to help other artists rather than seeing them as a conflict of interest, we may be able to aid in turning the tide in a small way.

These ideas of providing aid are a little like the wild west in that there is presently no real infrastructure to it. It is rather a personal endeavor that one chooses to partake within.

It is my personal choice to have this blog and its section on artists education. The addition to the artists corner gives more specific information about the environment or general direction.

This though falls short as it is impossible to tailor concepts to each person who may pass by. No single method or standard will fit all.

business plan

Despite the present, and potential future environment, I do not see success taking place without direct involvement from artists.

Those with experience will know that a transition to the online world is overwhelming. While too much to take in at once, I have hope many can become stronger rather than weaker despite what we face.

There are many who presently use such ideas in order to reach the public, I am one of them. Yet often these methods are closely guarded and networks are protected. I do understand this and it is justifiable.

SEO is a perfect example and is highly competitive especially within networking. We have a long way to go in this future evolution.

It would be beneficial if established galleries could find a way to connect with local communities in a new way. If they could use some techniques those of us who are independent have learned they could become potent.

Conducting online art shows is a baby step in that direction yet its impact and footprint must expand. It needs involvement from other community members and leaders. How this can be accomplished is yet not clear.

Certainly this transition is something of an evolution through time by circumstance and need. Yet more focus should remain on developing these methods and assets for artists.

While covid itself may or may not become a thing of the past, there are other future issues which will rise to the surface.

With the precedent in place to isolate society, alternative methods for reaching the public is certainly required.