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What Are E Galleries And Their Impact In Art

Transition To Electronic Galleries

We are all familiar with art galleries. E Galleries are essentially the same yet online only. They are run in a similar fashion minus the physical location with all that it brings.

At least this is how it began, yet this is now changing. The term virtual gallery is considered by some a different concept associated with virtual tours.

It was not long after 2010 that we began to see the first e galleries come to the market. Note that this does not include individual artists that have their own personal gallery and website.

Market Dynamics Require E Galleries Evolve To Our Time

Artist platforms have been revolutionized over the past decade. This has in turn impacted how artists find clients and commissions.

How radical is this shift? A simple understanding of the NFT market will begin to show how dynamic art has become. Fan art itself has carved out a unique niche for the past twenty years.

It has become critical for artists to learn how to market art. E Galleries serve as a resource but should never be the sole entity an artist uses.

I place these three linked articles above to grasp one critical piece of understanding. If an E Gallery requires too much, as in control of your art or being your sole representation, refuse them!

The art market today cannot exist with these closed doors. Freedom to control your marketing vehicle is a requirement, not an option.

Before economic shutdowns, physical galleries were often disconnected from the online world. This was not true in every case but in many.

Rather than seeing the online world as something to use and harness, it was seen as competition. After all physical locations with in person sales still dominated the market.

Despite seeing the rise in online sales most physical galleries ignored the online selling aspect. Rather they would try to harness it for marketing or networking.

This was not a bad idea yet it is not revenue generating. This caused the mindset to see it as a marketing tool rather than a market.

How something is perceived becomes important. It would take a major event to force these galleries to shift their focus in how they saw their world. This goes a long way in showing how entrenched institutional thinking impacted the art world.

The world would change in force within 2020 as international shutdowns closed many businesses. This naturally impacted art galleries yet the shadow it cast was ominous.

The arts had been in decline for some years and many were struggling before these events transpired. All of this has pushed many into new directions focusing online.

Adopting New Ideas For E Galleries

Physical art institutions began to look to online solutions seriously as physical showings became either impossible or more challenging.

As a result we began to see virtual art tours, virtual showings, and other coined phrases pop up in order to replace the traditional events. Yet this did have serious challenges for them.

Physical galleries have been at a loss for quite some time due to alternate art forms. By ignoring what an e gallery could give them in terms of New Media Art is a mistake. What cannot be presented in a physical gallery can be shown through other means to generate revenue.

Due to ignoring this online art potential in the past their transition was rocky and at times somewhat crude. They lacked the infrastructure to implement the idea into quick action.

Often enough a physical market is very different from an online one in terms of demographic and participation. Because the focus in history had been to use the internet for marketing they had not cultivated a real audience.

The strongest platforms these institutions had came from social media influence. Little integration of web and social platforms had been accomplished.

Certainly these galleries would have partners and the ability to promote. With this in turn they could get broad participation. Yet it was pieced together and not as effective as it should have been.

The institutional galleries were years behind those who had previously set out on this e gallery path.

The traditional art gallery could not use their influence or ties through the physical community partnerships in the same way. Obtaining foot traffic as people take a night on the town is quite different from catching their attention online.

The question becomes will they better adapt due to this global issue, or as time goes by will they return to the older ways? As the threat looms for traditional ways, certainly art galleries will continue to adapt for the potential of what may come.

In the meantime they must overcome the lack of experience and development which has left them behind.

Improvements That Art Institutions Need

As these institutions begin to implement change they will need to present themselves more as an e gallery. Hosting a closed event which is simply live streamed will not cut it.

A gallery will host many artists and their web infrastructure needs to be more than pictures under a name. Unfortunately many fear the loss of traditional ways and give causation for argument.

They resist modern arts and wish to remain within traditional paths. Tradition is comforting, yet it can also create a trap and stagnate vision.

Compare this mindset to what some e galleries have achieved and you will see why I call others efforts crude. There is a struggle for control and definition within art leaving the artist trapped in the middle.

Some artists have moved to their own web platforms to escape a clash of worlds. A fully functioning e-commerce platform serves them and the artists are allowed to help cultivate community.

If one browses the National Gallery of Art you will see the present standard of most institutions. Certainly they should garner a lot of traffic. The sad part is most institutional galleries appear much like this one. It is outdated and has a poor user experience.

If one goes to look at the artists at the National Gallery, it is merely a list of names and nationality. In short it is horrific.

There is no real presentation. This site enjoys is position due to its official capacity and nothing else. So let’s look at someone who did something right.

If one visits the virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History you will see they hit the ball out of the park. Clearly there is no e-commerce portion, but we are talking about presentation.

Certainly these smaller institutional galleries across many states could not invest to the point that the Smithsonian has. Nevertheless this kind of presentation is a goal one should strive for.

There will need to be a balance brought to the world of presentation that can be afforded. If a more adequate system were provided each artist could host their own virtual tours within the gallery at will within their own promotion. This in turn helps the institutional gallery and also cutting back production for live streams.

Institutional galleries can no longer look at the online world just as a marketing platform but rather see it as a community to be involved within. It will require adopting aspects of different ideas from different platforms.

This becomes especially true for innovative artists who focus on New Media Art. The traditional systems are missing an entire segment of the art market which is the fastest growing within the industry.

Artists should have some way to influence content control, e-commerce implemented, social networking accommodated, self promotion, virtual tours with adequate presentations outside of a live stream.

Individual Galleries Compared To E Galleries

A early 2000’s website is a thing of the past and cannot serve as an e gallery, but an individual artist could get away with it.

My private online gallery hosts only me and is more up to date than many institutional sites. Most who are like me integrate some kind of e-commerce system to the gallery so that it is seamless.

art gallery

An individual may at times have an online store or shop feel to it, yet it is easier to do and pull off with success. If you are a curator a question must be asked.

How do you present many different artists equally while providing ease of access? A list of names just doesn’t cut it and a front page on a website is limited.

For my individual gallery this does not matter because everything on my gallery is about me. Yet having a genuine virtual tour competent of some kind helps resolve this issue for curators.

How it is designed can allow for opportunities to both the gallery and the artist while providing an engaging environment for the visitor.

This is about more than increasing the UX factor. If an artist could set a point of origin within the environment for their followers suddenly you provide access for tailored private Virtual Tours.

If an art gallery wants to really help promote themselves there are ways to do this by benefiting who they serve.

Should Artists Join E Galleries Or Self Promote Alone?

This is really a major question coming into the mind of many artists today. With the lagging infrastructure within institutional galleries there were many artists which were caught flat footed.

They may have a website or use social media yet they had not cultivated any real presence or platform.

Due to this many e galleries which have made better investments are seeing growth. Additionally artists are flowing into the older locations that many who started out with online have left long ago.

Most notably the Ebay and Etsy like places of the world have seen increases which in my opinion should be avoided if at all possible.

art gallery

Then there are those who have begun to take their self promotion seriously and invest into themselves. From these various paths, few lead to the institutional galleries for they are lagging behind.

The fear is that they will begin to feel the strain and financially struggle to a point of collapse.

If one reads my writing then you would know that I am no big fan of these institutions. Yet despite my personal general dislike, we need them. Artists need them. They do provide a genuine value to our communities and we are all better for them being there.

The danger is that if the trajectory of the world persists, or life does not return to normal, the impact will be more severe than realized.

There is a lot of ground that the traditional art community must cover in order to catch up. From design and implementation to marketing and community cultivation. It is no small task.

To survive they will have to be open minded to allowing more freedom to artists. There is no way that many in the online world would allow exclusivity to one gallery. That is unless real numbers can be shown.

This is why many artists use multiple paths in the virtual world and focus more on self promotion as time moves forward.

If I were to be asked which direction an artist should go within this present environment I would advocate for self promotion while using what other services could compliment that endeavor. Yet I have always been an advocate for this due to the changing times.

Those who have not already invested within this are already behind due to recent history.

There are e galleries which allow for you to be independent as well as a part of their system. Naturally there will be rules one must follow to be within that community.

Nevertheless they should never require an exclusive ownership over you. They should work for you rather than you promoting them.

If their platform is good enough to serve your needs and you do promote yourself through them, then that is only a choice you can make. This has always been my gripe with places like Etsy.

They do nothing for you while you must promote and do everything for them. All they provide is a storefront. For me that is a joke as their internal search systems are designed to make money from their system.

The best e galleries are typically built around community. How that community is designed can be varied. Some use forums while others have interesting promotion systems.

One system that intrigued me was allowing everyone to promote each others work. If a sale took place and it was not your work, but you promoted anothers, you would collect a percentage of the sale.

I have seen a lot of gimmicks, some good and some bad. Yet the trend has accelerated at a pace that is difficult to quantify.

Unfortunately this trend hit at a moment when people are concerned about work and money leading into a potential downturn in all markets. Competition will be fierce.

Whether one joins an e gallery, or begins their own personal art gallery, there is no doubt that the future is online. It already passes the impact of social media despite so many that are stuck within that model.

Too many remain there misunderstanding its purpose and function. In fact one could exist without social media at all. Personally I dislike it but use it more for communication.

To what direction an artist should move towards will really depend on how much they are willing to invest in themselves. It is about more than money.

Self promoting takes a lot of time. The time requirements are greater than that of a full time job. No doubt it requires dedication.

The greater problem for many is being able to afford to do what they love full time. Too many must work a regular job thus why art galleries served so well.

Stepping out into the world alone is no small task and it should be considered just as seriously as starting a new business. Not everyone is made for this and not everyone will succeed.