Artist's co-op

Hello Lee, A co-op of any kind (farmers, antique dealers, artists,
etc.) can be a marvelous thing or a real headache. It is only as
strong as its weakest member. By that I mean the one who fails to
show up to staff the store, clean up, or otherwise honor a
responsibility. Whatever agreement is made has to include some kind
of “or else” to eject the under-performer, then the guts to follow
through with action. Otherwise, a few people end up carrying the
burden and the whole thing fizzles away.

Antique dealer “malls” are pretty common, and the ones that work the
best operate as a booth rental co-op. The rental pays overhead,
sales staff salaries, advertising, etc. Rental fees are handled
like apartments, with last month’s payment in advance. Each dealer
stocks and prices items as s/he sees fit and arranges his/her booth.
The same concept should work for an artist’s co-op gallery.

In any event, some one has to step forward and lead the effort.
Thank God for such selfless, volunteers.

And speaking of volunteers… do your part to help Hanuman with a
donation to Orchid. (How did you like that segue???) Judy in Kansas

Judy, You 'hit the nail on the head" ! I have seen many artists’
coops come and go. They almost always fall on their faces because of
the nightmare of getting a large number of temperamental people to
fulfill their obligations in a timely and responsible manner.

Your mention of the collective rental approach is a concept that
does work. When the artist gets around the problem of having to bear
the large overhead of good exposure he or she can sell their work
with minimal overhead and effort. As a matter of fact, the
aforementioned approach even works when it is operated by a
government entity. The artists coop gallery in Belo Horizonte Brazil
has always been a favorite haunt of mine. Here the works of artists
and artisans throughout the region are sold in an elegant venue
located on prime real estate. It is a destination venue and is a
credit to the creativity of Brazilians in general.

The simplistic assumption that all business persons are bloodsuckers
that draw blood from innocent artists is simply silly. The
relationship between busiiness persons and the creative community is
typically one of cooperation. Furthermore, the artist is generally
the one who comes out on top inasmuch as the average commission
favors the creator. The fact is that there are many artists who
might never survive were it not for the fact that there are people
out there who are willing to give their works exposure without the
overhead that would otherwise be born by the artist. Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, Ca.

In our co-op gallery, we have different space rental and commission
between workers and non-workers. The split is sufficient to entice
adequate workers. Because we have 2D and 3D works in various
mediums, there is sometimes a problem with a desk worker fairly
representing work outside their discipline. Good fortune, Regis (in
Pensacola where people all over are beginning to mumble “rain rain
go away…”)