Course I for Art Dealers (+Gallerists & Curators): The Fundamentals

Programme for Art Dealers, Agents & Gallerists

The following guideline provides an overview of the modules that comprise Course I for Art Dealers, Agents & Gallerists. This session is to be run over three full days, most likely over three consecutive Mondays. (An intensive course is also being developed for international attendees that will be run over 3 or more consecutive days.)

Welcome to the Be Smart About Art Academy!
Module I (1.5 hrs): Overview of the art world – Presenter: Guest gallerist speaker TBC
•Definitions of the different roles played by arts professionals: art dealers, gallerists, artist agent, curator, art consultant, art advisors and other intermediaries – including how they work together;
•New trends and how the art business model has changed in recent times, including how this has changed expectations and opportunities (as the internet has changed everything, and areas to cover include: permanent gallery space vs. pop-up exhibitions, exclusive vs non-exclusive representation of artists, transparency and collaboration, and an increase in written agreements);
• Best practices for laying down a sound foundation for long-term working relationships with artists.
Module II (1 hr): Defining your art practice – How do you answer the question “What type of art do you present?” – Presenter: Susan Mumford
It is essential to be able to succinctly answer the question: “So, what sort of art does your gallery show?” – or the equivalent thereof. You can use your vision statement on your website, social media accounts, at private views, networking events and more. Being niche / a specialist is essential within the field. We will help you create a single sentence to answer this question as well as a shorter strapline for marketing purposes.
Module III (30 mins) : Pricing, editions and primary/secondary marketPresenter: Susan Mumford
•Who establishes prices, how prices are calculated, commission structures (and how the medium matters), pricing in multiple locations, set “market prices”, raising prices, long-term value and the secondary market;
•Incorporating framing, casting costs and similar;
•Unique works of art versus editions;
•Standard practices for editions (prints, photographs, sculptures, artist books).
Module IV (1 hr 45 mins): Marketing, Part I – Products, Audience and Marketing – Presenter: Susan Mumford
•Definitions (marketing, PR etc);
•Overview of marketing options both online and offline (also including PR and advertising);
•Determining your “products” (current and future), “audience/s” and how to access your “audience/s” (an exercise);
•Top tips for press releases and how to get them in front of critics and journalists;
•Corporate sponsorship; and
•Partners & introducers (interior designers, architects, project managers) also including commission structure.
Module V (1.5 hrs): Time to get Legal – The Basics - Presenter: Nicholas Sharp
•Contracts & consignments notes between artists-agent;
•Intellectual property;
•What art may and may not be put on your own website;
•Artist’s Resale Right (ARR).
Module VI (1 hr 45 mins): Getting to grips with IT / Online technology – Presenter: TBC
•IT jargon – some key translations and explanations;
•Domain-specific email and options for email hosting;
•How to measure online marketing with available technology;
•Making effective use of technology and software platforms to increase profitability, including Client Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, stock list, book-keeping, integrated invoicing (for use during exhibitions and fairs);
•Syncing devices; and
•Backing-up your data.
Module VII (30 mins): Photography & DocumentationPresenter: Susan Mumford
•Photographing art (or what you need to know when paying someone else to do it);
•Editing images;
•File types & how to organise;
•How to use documented exhibitions (still & moving images);
•Maintaining all records of exhibitions.
Module VIII (45 mins): Moving Art – Packing, Shipping & Storing - Presenter: Shipping specialist TBC
•Top tips for shipping – how to prepare, save money and what to do in advance of an art collection;
•Organising file/s for all shipping records and documentation (FedEx Airway Bills, shipping invoices etc);
•Packing options (cardboard vs crate and Stiffy Bags for art fairs and off-site exhibitions);
•Declaring value on shipments and associated paperwork (raising shipping invoices, import codes, duty documents etc));
•Shipping options (sea vs. air, FedEx vs art specialist) and confirming that your art insurance is covered;
•Implications of international shipping (Import VAT, duty and other taxes, art restrictions in other countries, etc); and
Module IX (45 mins): Insure & be reassuredPresenter: Christopher Digby
•Definitions: Types of insurance to consider (stock, locations fairs, pop-up exhibitions, framer, restorer, in transit, juried exhibitions, public liability, professional indemnity, etc);
•Insurance options for art dealers;
•How to price art for an insurance policy (retail price, artist price, artist price + 10%); and
•The price basis for insurance claims (for example consignment note when art price has increased).
Module X (1 hr 45 mins): Financial essentials for creative businesses - Presenter: TBC
•The Importance of Getting It Right First Time (also highlights on options on business entity e.g., sole trader, Ltd. Co., LLP, CIC etc);
•Non-Profit (Why? So many art businesses select this option);
•Bank account considerations;
•VAT registration and the VAT Margin Scheme (an overview);
•Raising invoices (what to include) and payment terms;
•Looking at the bottom line for sales of art (framing, delivery, installation);
•Artists raising invoices;
•Claiming back everything you can; and
•Basics on reading and understanding a set of accounts;

Module XI (1 hr 45 mins): Marketing, Part II – Online savvy with Social Media, SEOPresenter Keren Lerner
•Overview of online marketing strategy;
•How online marketing is measurable;
•Website (options – “brochure” site and “selling” site);
•Blog (also guest writing for others such as AAD Blog);
•Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Organic results vs. Paid-for keyword campaigns;
•Social Media – Strategy and top tips on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (cheat sheet to be provided on offering of each platform and tips);
•Email newsletter campaigns (incl frequency and what to do / not do);
•Online options for the art world (, ArtRabbit, artinfo etc);
•Check list for all exhibitions; and
•Starting your marketing campaign.
Module XII (45 mins): How to make the most of your network – Networking & ReferralsPresenter: Susan Mumford

•Business cards;
•Networking tips (entering/exiting conversations, what to do and not do);
•Follow-up (short-term and long-term);
•Getting referrals by your clients; and
Module XIII (1 hr 45 mins): Sell, sell, sell! – Selling Art, options, approaches & methodsPresenter: TBC
•Selling mindset;
•Top tips for selling going from start to close;
•Potential client and collaborator interaction at solo and group exhibitions (in galleries, open studios, art prize exhibitions, pop-up shows, corporate events at which art is displayed, etc);
•Art fairs;
•Art prizes;
•Charity auction events; and
•Bespoke commissions.
Module XV (45 mins): Art fairs - Presenter TBC
•From start to finish, a guideline of what to do to make a success of an art fair (takeaway provided).
Module XVI (45 mins): The dealing of art dealing – Presenter TBC
•Hear from an expert about how to arrange sales of art on the primary and secondary art market, including differences for varying types of transactions; and
•Buying from auction houses (using client’s name or yours, and options).

Informal presentations by all students (1.5 hrs): Goals & Next steps – with Susan Mumford and Guest Facilitator
To finish: a summary of 10 things you can do straightaway to advance your career.

Date to be announced: Graduation ceremony

Read more about the Be Smart About Art Academy

Please note that the above is intended as a general guideline and is subject to change.

Photographs above © Chris King 2012.

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