Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Are you an artist that always worries about your art once you deliver it to a gallery?  It is a difficult process to learn to trust “others” with our precious art.  You may have signed a contract that the gallery generated but you still have concerns…. The gallery may not even have their own contract!!!  It happens. Prepare yourself.

I was told once by a successful artist friend that when entering into a relationship with a new art gallery, you should always have your own personal contract for them to agree to.  The reason being that most gallery contracts are written with only the gallery’s best interest in mind.  However, this isn’t always the case.  Galleries that have well-known artists for clients know that it is important to look after both parties.  Learn how to create your own contract and alleviate your stress.

For those emerging artists, you have to fend for yourself so I’ve created this blog to demonstrate how I create my personal contracts for art galleries.  And, by the way, if a gallery refuses to sign it, walk away.  Do not pass go!  Just keep walking.  It’s not going to be a good fit!

Here’s my suggestions:

Title the agreement such as “Art Consignment Agreement”.  Include your name, address, phone, email, and website address.

Define the two partners within the contract, ie. yourself as “artist” and both the name of the gallery (“gallery” )and it’s owner(s) (“gallery owner”).

Define any time constraints within the agreement, ie. one month, one year and include “from the date of this agreement”.  Include a phrase regarding  a re-evaluation of this agreement at the end of the initial time period so that they can either say “Let’s continue as is”  or you both say “Let’s make some changes” and outline your new expectations.

Include a clause about your expectation that they will effectively display your work to entice customer interest and sales.  Define your medium of art, ie. acrylic paintings, giclee prints, jewelry, etc.

If the gallery expects a commission for sales, document what percentage the gallery will receive upon each sold item and also what percentage you will receive.

If this is a “vanity gallery” that expects a rental fee for wall or display space, include a statement of agreement to this with your above mentioned time limit.  Document the fee you will pay with a total amount for the agreement’s time period.

Should you be okay with the gallery marketing special commissions to their clients, give them a n easy fee structure, such as a dollar amount per square inch for an original painting so that they can adequately estimate a fee for the customer.  Request a 50% deposit at the time of order which would be paid directly to you prior to the start of the artwork.  This gives you monies for your time and materials.  Let them know that once the artwork is complete that the gallery can be paid their percentage upon final payment from the client.

Note that the gallery agrees to sell your art at the retail prices you provide or if you wish, they can price the items for you.  Just make sure that it is defined as “your or their responsibility”.  Let them know whether you are okay with a markdown percentage for sales upon the customers request for a reduced prices but limit this to a specific percentage.

You want to include a clause as to whether or not you will agree to a reduced price for special orders, ie. giclee prints, etc.  I personally don’t discount special orders.  Special orders should also have a limited time-frame such as 3-4 days, weeks, etc.

Request that the gallery give you a “heads up” in writing prior to any planned sales or special events.  You maintain the right to withhold your items from sales discounts.

Include a time frame for the gallery to pay you for each sold item, ie. 30 days.  Ask that an itemized statement be included with the check for sales.  Note that they are responsible for the effective bookkeeping and all records of sales of your art.

Make a statement that clarifies that the gallery is licensed as a business and responsible for all state, city, and US tax collection and payments.

Include a clause that the gallery is responsible for the security & safekeeping of all consigned artwork and that they maintain insurance for theft from the premises or external exhibit sites.  Try to get the name of their insurance company so that you can include this information in the agreement  Include their willingness to submit timely claims in the event of a theft.  Reimbursements should come to you as the artist.

Some galleries will refuse to include “damaged art” in their contracts.  They know that art is easily damaged within the gallery  confines by both personnel and customers, so, they will refuse payment for such actions.   This is your typical risk.  That’s why it’s important to know the kind of customers and staff that work on the premises.  Do they appear to genuinely care about your art?  If not, then don’t leave it with them.  Rarely will you be reimbursed for damages.  You might include a statement that you would like to participate in any display changes or when your art moves to new sites.

Include a clause that the gallery agrees to abide by all state and city mandates for fire prevention and safe building practices.  You may suggest that you will not hold then liable for accidental damage to your art.  However,  should damages be defined as “damaged art via gallery personnel negligence” by the police and or fire departments, the property owner, or leasing management company, you will hold them responsible and expect reimbursement of your total assessed amount.   Include the names of the building owners or leasing agents if able.  It’s always a good idea to really “know” your gallery.

Indicate your preference for shipping, insurance, and handling.  Will the gallery or customer be responsible for costs?  Will the gallery or an external shipping company provide the shipping?   Does the gallery hand deliver art to customer homes?  Include a clause that the shipping agent is responsible for damages in route.  Note whether you will attempt to repair the damages for the customer.  Do you want the gallery to reimburse the customer or will you do that if you have already been paid by the gallery?  Clarify that the gallery is responsible for submitting all insurance claims for shipping damages.  Include a phrase that you expect 100% payment from the shipping insurance company when a claim is paid.

Include a note that you expect to be notified of all new planned media advertising.  If you are willing to be involved in press releases or events, inform the gallery that you will present a positive and supportive attitude towards the gallery and it’s owners to the public.  If this is not the case, then let the gallery know that you will not be available  to participate in any publicity events.

Finally, include a statement affirming that by both your signatures below that you both agree with all items noted within this Consignment Agreement and any additional initialed Addendum information.

List their full name and a signature space, the date, the gallery address, phone, and email information.

Then, include your full name and a signature space with the date of the agreement.

If there are any additional notes or changes to the original agreement they must be written on the pages of the original agreement or have a note specifying an additional page.  Addendum items, changes, and or corrections must be initialed by both parties.

I typically will attach an art inventory (but that’s another blog).

That’s it.

Now make a copy for the gallery and you keep the original agreement.  File it in a place that you can easily access should it be necessary.  And be sure to update the agreement each time the agreement’s time frame ends.

By clarifying the details mentioned within this blog, you can rest assured that you have covered your art’s importance and value to you as an exhibiting artist.  You will also present yourself in a professional manner.  I hope this information is helpful.  Good luck and I wish you great success with your new gallery relationship.