Opening The Best Contemporary Art Gallery Vancouver Has Ever Had

Art galleries are just like small businesses to a certain degree. In most cases, the purpose of the gallery is to sell art as well as keep the gallery in business.

It is one of the rare businesses where the client does not mind if the price increases. It is fantastic for art collectors, when the prices of the work of an artist increase, as this means that artwork is gaining in value in the art market.

Initially, you will need several things to open an art gallery.

If it is a commercial gallery, you will need:

  • Potential art collectors
  • Passion for both business and art
  • A group of artists
  • Consistent vision of your brand
  • Develop a business plan, like any start-up small business
  • Sufficient capital to cover a couple of months of operating costs
  • A gallery situated in a prime location
  • Art collectors
  • Patience and tenacity

You must know your market first as it is with starting any small business. Owners of many art galleries start first with a list of prospective customers. To start your business, you need to know a handful of individuals to whom you can sell artwork.

Establishing good relationships with your customers is important, as they will introduce you to their associates and friends. This plays a massive role in helping you to establish your art gallery. As word of mouth increases, your business too will grow.

If your gallery is an experimental showcase rather than a commercial one, you will require having other funding sources such as art grants.


Had it not been for artists, the art world would not exist. You need to start with a strong group of artists to open up a successful art gallery.

Art is highly subjective, a major part of your selection will be based on intuition and personal taste. Certain galleries select their artists by trend, style, theme, and location, to name a few.

As an example, certain galleries will only display landscape drawings or put on display the work of artists who reside in the same city.

There is no end to the limit of possibilities. Nevertheless, knowing that you have specific collectors (corporate or individuals) to whom you can sell your artwork, is the key to success.

Art and business know-how

Apart from knowing running a small business, being passionate about the art is also essential. A halfhearted salesperson cannot be successful in sales.

Visit as many art galleries as possible as well as talk to the sales staff and directors of the gallery if you are just starting out. To gain first-hand experience of how a gallery functions, begin by getting a job in an art gallery. You will gain the confidence required to establish your personal art gallery, once you acquire the knowledge necessary for running a gallery successfully.


The location of the gallery is crucial, as with any other businesses. On the one hand, you will have great opportunities of selling the work of local artists, if your gallery is in an area frequently visited by tourists. On the other hand, having a gallery located in an art center provides you with more opportunities to gain the attention of connoisseurs of the art world.


All businesses require start-up money. Preliminary costs are inclusive of the equipment required for running a business & exhibiting art, the rental of the space, monthly operating costs, and hiring a staff.


Networking is vital for your business. In the art world, this term is referred to as `schmooze.’ Art dealers, critics, and artists need to establish connections as well as broaden their art networks.

It is imperative to attend museum and gallery openings. The ultimate option for networking is to visit biennials and art fairs during the inaugural press previews. As you walk around establishing your network, be prepared to hand out your postcards, business cards, and artist catalogs.

Whenever your artist is in an exhibition, ensure that you are standing near the artwork for arranging studio visits and provide additional information to potential contacts.

A great way to generate interest in your gallery is to maintain good rapport with critics of art who can write about your artists. Ensure you can provide ample images and text to the journalist or critic.

Tenacity and patience

Running a contemporary art gallery in any city, including Vancouver, typically requires some time to establish. Therefore, being patient is vital to building a steady business.

Thanks to our business partners at Ian Tan Art Gallery for helping us out.
Ian Tan Art Gallery Vancouver
2342 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3G3
(604) 738-1077
Contact | Ian Tan Art Gallery Vancouver