Many artists have a desire to open their own gallery, but few know how much work and thought actually goes into it. In today’s episode, artist and gallerist Tracy Miller shares her experience of running the Tracy Miller Gallery for the last 7 years. Tracy discusses the journey from Fine Artist, to working in a Gallery, then opening her own gallery in Manitou Springs, Colorado. She talks about what type of artists she chose to work with, why she chose the specific location of Manitou Springs, the style of Art of the New West, challenges she overcame when running the business, how to still paint and have time for your own art when running a business, and advice she would give to others looking to open their own gallery. Tracy also talks about her decision to close down her gallery and focus more on her own work as an artist. In this interview, you will hear Tracy talk about:
Her background as a fine artist, and how her experience with wholesale helped her later with becoming well versed in retail.
Her experience working 5 years at an art gallery in downtown Denver, and why she feels working at a gallery before opening one is crucial.
How Tracy Miller Fine Art came to be in 1994, and then evolved into Tracy Miller Gallery in 2011.
Why Tracy chose Manitou Springs, Colorado as the gallery location, and how the mix of tourists and locals was a smart choice for her business.
Why 70% of her sales ship out of state, and the importance of running a good virtual business on social media and your website.
The importance of maintaining studio hours when you are an artist-gallerist.
What Art of the New West means stylistically, and how the wildlife, landscape and Western themes are brought to life in a contemporary and colorful manner.
The vision that Tracy brought to curating a cohesive gallery that some say fits perfectly together like a jigsaw puzzle.
How Tracy chose specific artists for her gallery, and why she recommends working with artists that have tested their art before, engage with their clients and fans, and are active in their own business.
Why gallery owners should know the price points of not only the art in their region, but the city or community as a whole. Crunch the numbers, and know the numbers.
The success principles of “acting as if” and getting involved with your local community to network.
How the internet has changed the way gallerists and artists interact as a collaborative effort rather than separate entities.
Overcoming major business challenges, including two fires, floods and road construction projects around her gallery.
Why Tracy has decided to close the gallery.
Why her profit margin was at least 10% higher than a normal profit margin for retail.
The different types of galleries that artists can open, and the choice they have to feature only their work, or create a space featuring both themselves and others.
“I wanted to bring the finest in this genre that I could to our region.”
“Little did my artists know how long I stalked them!”
“If you want to be financially successful and sell art, I knew I would have to pick people that had a following and a track record already.”
“It’s a long term career, not a fast overnight career.”
“Do your research and know your market.”
“It comes down to a lot of organization and discipline to paint while you run a gallery.”
“Never turn down the opportunity to promote yourself and meet new people.”
*** This episode is brought to you by the Art Biz Inner Circle. This is a group of unapologetically ambitious artists that my team and I worked with for a year. We help our members with goals, mindset, business strategies, and focus. See ArtBizInnerCircle.com ***