Is your gallery treating visitors well?

How do you know?

Do you care?

Not caring is a legitimate answer. You could be happy with sales, with the opportunities a particular gallery is providing you. You might feel the culture of that gallery is alien to you, or maybe intimidating.

There’s no right or wrong answer here, but something to keep in mind when assessing a gallery space.  I’ve been to many a gallery, let me tell you, and some places are, well, I guess “chilly” to put it one way. Much of it does depend on the culture of the city and country of course, and I find Toronto to be mostly very friendly, receptive and open to discussion to general visitors.

A private and / or commercial gallery is not in the business of educating or entertaining the public but are in the business of staying in business. I can sympathize and understand that running a gallery business is incredibly complex and risky mix of project management, marketing and especially sales. You don’t have time or energy to cater to “gawkers”. It might be a fair comparison to walking into a Lamborghini and expecting the sales person to hang out with you even though it is obvious there is no chance in hell you can afford this car.

This is the way it used to be, but still is for many of the places that are not very friendly. What I mean by that is that reputation management is a key issue for galleries and artists in social media today, and all those “gawkers” are actually marketing opportunities walking around and can carry your message to their art loving friends. And they can let people know about experiences in which they felt a gallery was rude.

A public and/or academic gallery, on the other hand, has to be held to an even higher standard of service and engagement. However, for me the worst experiences of dealing with bad attitude in a gallery space has come from public galleries as the director / curator personality can tend to directly and profoundly affect the entire gallery culture of a non-profit.

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