How Do Art Galleries Make Money? [See The Best Strategies]

Finance is one thing that all firms or companies require to function effectively. Especially in an art gallery, showcasing art is a huge step in getting customers to purchase sleek works of art. But how exactly do art galleries make money?

Art galleries make money in a number of ways. The most obvious way includes sales and government grants. Also, they make money from exhibition fees and other services they render.

This article speaks extensively about art galleries, the various ways art galleries make money, and some strategies to adopt to ensure the success of your art gallery.

Let’s get started.

What is an art gallery?

An art gallery is a room or a building where various visual artworks are displayed for sale.

An art gallery curates exhibition programs, builds a portfolio for artists, represents and supports artists, and then sells or distributes artworks.

There are various types of art galleries, and they all stand to represent various art pieces. However, each has its procedure for implementing and presenting different artwork to raise funds.

Do art galleries make money?

Yes, they do.

Every art gallery, at least the ones that have been around for a while, has made money in one way or another. Although not all galleries are in it for the money, they make money from it.

This money goes into various things, from paying rent to salaries. Additionally, expanding the gallery even further to make more money.

How do art galleries make money?

There are different ways art galleries make money. They include;

1. Government funds and grant

Many art galleries make money from the government’s funds and grants.

Government aid or grants are usually available for local city, provincial, state, or federal galleries.

2. Private donor or endorsement

Patrons or private donors with a taste for art usually endorse many art galleries. However, some are known to have political agendas or need charitable tax write-ups.

These patrons are willing to pay rent, salaries, or other expenses that might help benefit the gallery financially. However, the gallery has to offer some business structure to benefit both parties.

3. Renting art for movie productions

Most art galleries can raise some funds by renting their artwork for movie production. In return, they make money from it while also building awareness of those specific arts.

Some galleries even rent out pieces to customers who want to try out the piece before purchasing. In return, the gallery makes money from renting, even more, if the client decides to buy the art.

4. Renting out gallery space

Most art galleries offer gallery space to musical artists for shows or authors for a book launch. They even make more if they get a percentage of the ticket sales.

Some art galleries go as far as collecting email addresses from these visitors. That way, they can get more potential buyers for their art.

5. Sales

This is the main source of income for all art galleries.

In return for showcasing and selling any art piece, they get a commission from the sale. These commissions may be as high as 70% or as low as 10%.

The commission mostly depends on the expenditure incurred or the agreement made initially. Also, in some cases, it increases due to the kind of service offered by the art gallery.

6. Exhibition fees

Some art galleries charge artists upfront for exhibiting their work in the gallery. However, this reduces the final commission the art gallery gets when the piece is finally sold. But it also shares the risk and cost among both parties.

7. Gallery shop or cafe

Many galleries now have gallery shops that sell things like prints and cards for exhibiting artists. Also, they sell homemade products such as fashion items and ceramics.

Some even sell lunch and coffee to visitors who need them after browsing the gallery.

Others sell books about art theories, artist biographies, and how to make art yourself. Some have bars or gift shops in the art galleries to generate more revenue.

8. Admission fees

Most galleries require visitors to pay admission fees to visit the gallery. The same way people pay when they visit the zoo or go to a concert.

This is done so the art gallery can raise some fees for minor expenses.

How can you make your gallery more profitable?

There are a lot of tips or strategies that would help make a gallery more profitable. These strategies also ensure the gallery’s longevity and successful connections with various artists.

So what are the strategies to employ?

1. Market your brand

It may sound cliche, but sometimes the basics are the most important steps to take.

Spend a few bucks on marketing your gallery from time to time; so your visitor numbers do not decline.

2. Know who to target

Many new galleries tend to go over their head in getting artwork at an expensive rate. This means they must sell it at a higher price or risk losing the sale.

Many people are interested in buying art pieces, but not at an absurd price. Know who to target and get quality, affordable pieces that can be sold easily for a good profit.

3. Diversify your gallery

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of galleries that offer other services. These services include renting out space and art pieces to generate more revenue.

Also, you can create room for small gift shops, cafes, and bookstores.

4. Stay in contact with your customers

One effective way to retain existing customers is by reaching out to them. Create an email list and keep your customers apprised of new artwork. This way, you keep them coming back for more.

You can also start a survey for your customers to participate in during their spare time. So you get feedback on their experience while learning how to do better.

5. Keep to your agreement

You do not want to lose valuable artists because of a mere misunderstanding.

Have an agreement or contract with your artists and keep to it. This way, both parties are content. Mutual understanding and trust are built.

6. Build an online presence

Building an online presence is another way of reaching out to more potential customers.

Build a website or create an Instagram account where new art pieces are posted. This keeps customers informed about your gallery and will likely encourage them to drop by for a purchase.


How do art galleries pay artists?

Most art galleries pay artists commissions after the art piece has been sold. Sometimes, the artist pays for the exhibition and gets a larger share of the commission after it is sold.

How is an art gallery different from a museum?

An art gallery curates exhibitions that are for sale, while a museum exhibits artwork that is not for sale. Rather they are preserved and used to educate others.

Can you visit an art gallery without buying anything?

Yes, you can.

It is quite normal for one to visit an art gallery without acquiring any of their pieces.

Where do you find the price of an artwork?

You usually find them in the art gallery catalog. You can also do well to enquire from the owner or supervisor of the gallery.

Is owning an art gallery a lucrative business?

Yes, it is. Owning an art gallery could be lucrative. However, the right strategy should be followed.


Running an art gallery can be particularly challenging. However, it can be lucrative with the proper guidance and strategy.

If you are considering venturing into the art gallery business, you should follow the strategies mentioned in this article.

Art galleries also make money from drawings. You can read more about the best ways to learn how to draw.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for reading.