Two Years On... Look what we've achieved!
Over the last two years we have been putting in the right systems and getting a more efficient back office administration processes in place. This ensures that we know what is in the gallery at any given time and that artists are paid on time and accurately for what has sold in the previous month. But this is more than that too. It is about getting the basics right and building trust with the artists that I will honor what it means to own a gallery. It is about showing respect to the artists that chose to exhibit with us – they can chose other galleries but they have stayed loyal to us and I respect that. Therefore I keep the promise I made to them – that I would pay them out on time. Without their art we wouldn’t have a gallery at all!
We have spent time building and developing the website and this is still ongoing. The online world is forever changing and one ‘shoe’ does not fit every foot, even if it is pretty from the outside. We have over 40 artists and approximately 1000 items available in the gallery at any one time. Keeping the website current with work as well as making it user friendly is a mammoth task and I’m grateful to Jo Dalgety, one of our artists, who volunteers her time to assist with the website. With the establishment of the new website we have been able to increase our social media presence and this will continue to grow – watch out for us on Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
We made promises to hold exhibitions and this has increased year on year. We opened with a Summer Fun exhibition and since then we have hosted seven events, including an art auction raising money for the local Cancer Care and Supper Group as well as the intriguing Collector’s Collection exhibition. As we are run like a co-operative we never have solo exhibitions which means we are continually thinking of new ideas for artists to work towards and it means our clients can see a variety of work and interpretations of the theme that we have selected. There really is something for everyone.
We have also been working hard at getting the mix of artists and work right in the gallery. This is a fine balancing act to ensure that we do not cover our walls with the same type of work – we want to offer modern, diverse, intriguing and quality work to our clients. We also endeavour to ensure we select work and artists that aren’t available everywhere. We nurture our exclusive artists and this means our clients view work that is unique.
This is a two way street with the artists – we work with them to select work best suited for our target audience and the space we have available. We are open and honest with them about what works in our gallery. And, like every relationship, it’s a two way street and we pick up the phone and talk to the artists. They feel they can openly ask us questions and know they will get an honest answer. This goes back to the beginning when I told artists what changes I would be making and ensuring that I have followed through and implemented what I said I would.
The other way we work with artists is to ensure that the gallery remains fresh so that whenever our clients visit us they have new work to see. Many of our clients are amazed at the variety of work available and how often it changes. They often come in and spend half an hour perusing the work and checking out the latest work available. And if they don’t see something that isn’t quite perfect but they like the style of a work, then many of our artists will accept commissions.
The gallery would not work if it wasn’t for the ladies (and artists) that give their time to work there. I promised not to take them for granted and I’m grateful for the events, team meetings and Christmas functions that we have so I can spend more time with these fantastic people. They are so positive about the gallery and proud of what we are creating and I know that it wouldn’t exist without them. Plus, they are very knowledgeable about the techniques that artists use as well as knowing the people who created them. With over 80% of the artwork in the gallery created by artists who live on the Coromandel or have a strong relationship with it most of the ladies know the artist personally. Find out who they are on the About us page.
Most of what I’ve introduced and highlighted the importance of is relationships. The relationship between the gallery and the artists and building the right foundations for a lasting and fulfilling relationship, mutually beneficial for both parties. Also, the relationship between the gallery and it’s clients. Providing them with work of a high calibre that excites them and they fall in love with. And lastly, it is a relationship between the client and the work of art – without that connection there is no point buying the work for your home.
The other attribute that I’m most proud of is our reputation as being one of, if not the best gallery on the Coromandel. This is the accumulation of all of the factors above that have created this fantastic gallery. It is also the basis of taking the gallery to even greater heights. I find it very exciting to have such high calibre work available that really touches our clients.
So where to from here? The next step for the gallery is to increase our winter sales. Let’s shout about the new artists that we have bought on board and who are exclusive to us. Let’s tell people that we can deliver work easily to Auckland because I live there. Let’s ensure that our exhibitions remain intriguing and evocative with high quality work. Let’s continue to ensure that work is kept fresh so that clients always have a reason to visit us. Let’s keep growing The Little Gallery which is an asset to the community it sits in, a great space for artists to exhibit in, a fantastic place for clients to view award winning work and a place that I personally feel extremely passionate about.
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