Why is there a lack of art galleries?

Researched and Written by Danni Ruth 

23/10/2019

Why is there a lack of art galleries?

As I have observed the art industry and the local arts community. I came to notice that my local City, St Helens, their is a massive lack of Art Galleries and Exhibitions available for members of the public to visit. When observing the lack of Exhibitions in my local town, I noticed that not only does my town lack them, but art galleries are becoming a minority in the whole art industry. The art industry used to depend solely on Galleries. Galleries used to be so popular, members of the public liked them enough to leave their house, they'd travel from miles away and would get so excited to visit them. The gallery used to be a place you could meet up and discuss thoughts ideas, build community and friendships. Students would come to see a show and discuss it with their peers the next day. Collectors would gather at exhibitions to see and buy artworks by emerging, established or master artists , then deter which piece they would wish to acquire. Today the art industry appears to have a greatly noticeable lack of galleries. I set out to research more into this issue and find out why there had become such a lack of Art Galleries and Exhibitions currently in todays era.

I made observations to my local town to see if I could discover anywhere available for artists to display art. Other than the St Helens World of Glass which provided a small amount of artwork featured on the upper level of the museum. Here you are able to view some work on display however the majority of the museums main features focus on the Towns history, its history of glass making and memorabilia from past days of the town. The space for artwork to be displayed here defiantly lacks enthusiasm and size in comparison to the rest of the museums exhibitions.  I sought to research a number of factors that could be effecting the way art galleries are becoming less popular. I started to gain research into my issue, to look for answers and deter why many towns such as my own no longer have any galleries for artists or the public to come together. Consequent to my research, I discovered that the main reason for there being a lack in Art Galleries appears to be due to the internet and social media having a huge impact on the art world. Technology has advanced by changing the way the public can view, and discuss art as well as changing how artists create and sell their art. Today people can view art from miles away in the comfort of there own home, on their computers and phones. So its understandable people are now less willing to travel from great distances to view artwork, when they can view on it their phones beforehand. Artists can now create images digitally, these artists have no desire for their images to be displayed in an exhibition and are most suited to an online themed audience. Now, online art can also be unlimitedly displayed and be sold online to a larger audience than what it would attract, being limited to a gallery or exhibition alone.

When researching, I found many views, facts and opinions on this subject. I gained information that indicated the explanation of how technology has massively changed the art industry. Many articles I studied were stressing the fundamental values an art gallery holds and why they artists and the industry need them. I found many arguable facts and views from authors who understand the way technology has changed the internet and believe its best to move away from using Art Galleries. There were also articles which showed neutrality towards both sides of the issue, where they understood the effectiveness of change yet also agreed that an art gallery still hold many beneficial factors in the art world. Upon researching what benefits an art gallery bring to the industry. I found comparisons between how galleries used to be thriving organisations to how we have now moved away from using this marketing tool. The majority of articles and comments I studied also agreed with my findings, that the industry has changed and the lack of art galleries are due to social media. Social media has taken away community from the art industry. Galleries were such an important place to build communities, where people could meet artists in person and get a real experience on artwork. Technology has altered the way people once saw art galleries as being the realest, most important social network. Now the majority of artwork produced is displayed on the internet, so people can now decide if they like the art before leaving their house to visit a gallery. These factors are a disadvantage that social media has had on the art industry as it currently feels very superficial, due to new method of marketing of art online. The art industry and art galleries used to be a wonderous thing that has now changed over time with technology. I can see how the new way of marketing art can also be beneficial and can also see the positives technology has brought to the industry. However, I strongly feels there are still many benefits and qualities an arts gallery existence has to offer.

Consequent to my discoveries I have learned that technology has advanced, creating new opportunities in many aspects of the world, therefore has made new opportunities in the art world too. The beginning of digital art became the pinnacle point in time, where the art industry began to change and move away from art galleries. Technology was once an characteristic that was once impossible in the art world. Now artists can produce art without the traditional media such as paints and canvas as they have learned to produce unlimited masterpieces digitally. technology has created many opportunities for artists to broaden the way they produce and display art. It also opened up different methods for the public to experience art. . The way the public can now view art online is found to be more effective, because of the ability to experience the creativity of an artist even if you thousands of miles away, with only a click of a button. Also there is no limitation on how many times the art work can be shared by using the internet in comparison to using a gallery alone. Todays art world is a reflects our modern society that is driven by technology. I discovered that Technology has changed the difference in methods between traditional and digital artists. Artists are now advancing into producing different types of art digitally, they can now create 3D art, that looks just as real as it does in real life! Technology has had a powerful impact on the art world and brought many new opportunities with it. Upon these discoveries I understand that the new way of marketing art online is essential. These factors explain the way times have developed with technology and explains why galleries are becoming no longer popular.

From a neutral point I can understand how Technology has delivered a new level of creativity to the art industry. The way the internet is ruling the world with its immense power is clear to each of us. So its understandable why so many artists decided to start displaying their artwork online and seek the help of the internet. With the possibility of using technology to display art, the majority of masterpieces are now circulated online. With the new possibility to exhibit work this way, displaying artwork in a gallery doesn't always work well if an artist hopes to seek more attention and exposure for their work. There are still many organisations that run galleries and still hold exhibitions, they haven't disappeared completely from the industry. These galleries are still hugely respected. However, displaying paintings or artwork has become an online trend in the art world.

When evaluating the issue of the lack of art galleries. I questioned how hard it would be to open and run an arts organisation and whether or not art galleries make any money. I wanted to find out whether any of these aspects had an impact on why there is so little art galleries. Perhaps if organisations faced many difficulties running an arts gallery and faced problems generating profit, this could be a vital factor indicating why there isn't a lot of them. Upon researching into this I found it can be an immensely difficult business. There are many considerations to take before entering the field. One must consider a place to start, either somewhere from scratch and from somewhere that has an assured income. There's also the factor of paying rent where one chooses to set up a gallery and unfortunately, no matter where you are, you must pay the high rent for the best location. Most art gallery owners will spend most of their saved money in rent or advertising payments when first setting up business. It is vital that an owner carries out quite a lot of studying in order to gain a fair amount of art history, knowledge about how the art world works, expertise in the area of art in which they represent. Then there's choosing the art to display, having the huge amount expertise to choose the art work or employing someone with expertise to assist you in this area. One must take into consideration what a gallery represents. They need to establish artistic quality, originality and market sensitivity. There is also the massive task of setting prices and hanging frames correctly. When it comes to the actual process of selling the owner must be a good arts sales person. They must be able to develop a connection to both the art and the people who have a relationship with it, its a truly important attribute to have but is not something everyone can do. It can be extremely difficult to open and run an arts gallery. Many galleries will fail rather than succeed. However it can be done, if given the huge amount of time and dedication it deserves.

I also wondered whether financial difficulty would be something that effected the lack of art galleries in the art world. I found that the way art galleries operate vary a lot when it comes to making profit. While some art galleries do not charge the artists. They provide artists with a place to display their art for free. Some galleries rely on the artists representing them to help make a profit by selling their art. So with a gallery solely displaying artwork free of charge and only on the basis of having faith in an artist is a very understandable reason why so many galleries might be facing the odds of failure, so without the correct expertise and reputable artist, any work displayed might not sell. Many art galleries manage to succeed by making a great deal of money. Some galleries just survive and others will fail. Just like many other businesses, art galleries are very similar. For arts galleries generating profit, owners have to take many factors into consideration. They will need to have knowledge in many areas of the industry. They will need to the expertise to select artists, appoint art to exhibit, display the art, pricing the art and marketing the art. An owner must be confident in hiring sales people, firing sales people, keeping inventory, manage shipping, advertising. Its vital the owner has the time that an art gallery deserves and plenty of disposable income to pay for all of this. For most owners, operating an art gallery and making a profit will be an immense challenge. Its a difficult, complicated business which most owners must over come by experience. They face challenges and have to learn from any mistakes as I discovered there is no where for aspiring gallery owners to seek advice. Furthermore I found there are no classes available in colleges to study this field and precisely only two paper back books to read on art galleries. So for those who are wondering where to start or for owners seeking advice, there is no where for them to study and broaden their knowledge in the field. An art gallery owner must learn as they go along within the company, using trial and error to help grow an ones expertise. Its definitely possible for a art gallery to make a profit. If an owner is willing to take risks, be swift, be determined and strenuous then they are most likely to make money, as with all entrepreneurial businesses owners. However its an extremely difficult business to be in and its understandable why there might have been many galleries that have faced the odds of failure.

Final argument
There is definitely a lack of art galleries in 2019. I have found many reasons for it that relate to aspects such as the difficulty in opening and running an arts gallery, also the financial struggle, the hurdle of trying to make a profit and the risk of failure many face. The ruling explanation for the lack of art galleries resulted in the reason being due to technology advances. There are many views as to why they are still vital, also as to why its effective to move away from them towards newer methods. However, neutrally I can now see how technology has provided the art industry a new level of creativity. The way the internet is ruling the world and with the new possibility of using technology to display art its understandable why it has impacted the art world. There are still thriving galleries that continue to hold exhibitions, they have become a minority but do still exist and flourish within the industry. These galleries are still hugely respected. However, in this day and age for artists, displaying paintings or artwork has become an online trend. Todays art world is a reflection of our modern society that is driven by technology. I can see how the new way is beneficial and can also see the positives technology has brought to the industry. However, I strongly feels there are still many benefits and qualities an arts gallery existence has to offer.

1 Comments

  • Sienna James

    On 30 October 2019, 15:24 Sienna James Assistant Editor commented:

    This is a fantastic piece of research, clearly you're passionate about the subject and have read thoroughly. What particularly surprised you about this arts debate?

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