Artists at the beginning of their career meet tumultuous challenges in terms of promoting their artworks. They are often unaided if they are going to succeed in the art industry or if their works are going to be recognised enough to create a strong foundation in their art practice. The gallery’s role in such circumstances is to be the middleman and market the artist’s work. The gallery can market the artist and his artworks through exhibitions.
Artists that are linked to a gallery are likely to get increased recognition as art collectors will be pulled in through an institution’s visibility strategy for their work.
They will consider works more valuable if the artist is represented by an established gallery. Curators in galleries evaluate the artworks before they are exhibited so as to ensure that the works are able to sell at a reasonable price.
In this way the gallery markets only the artist’s best works that are likely to be purchased during or after an exhibition.
If the artworks sell and are able to generate more income remarkably, the gallery may decide to work with that artist therefore creating a mutually beneficial business partnership. Artists are able to be associated with business partners such as corporations through exhibitions.
The more affiliations one has with the big names in the field, the more valuable one’s works will become.
Galleries also market their artists via social media platforms. This expands their works especially in this digital age.
The gallery ensures that its followers on different social media platforms are notified about any exhibition that could be taking place.
This can be noted on how the National Gallery of Zimbabwe has been promoting their two exhibitions on social media. This influences other people to visit the gallery and they might even purchase the works they find interesting.
It is important to note that with marketing artworks online, the internet showcases your products and directs people to the gallery or to the artist and this allows them to purchase artistic products.
Artists have become prominent in the art industry due to the publicity they gain through exhibitions. Some have gone as far as having their works exhibited in other countries.
One of Zimbabwe’s most celebrated artists, Nicholas Mukomberanwa gained recognition through the persuasion of the first director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Frank McEwen. Mukomberanwa was marketed well by McEwen who accessed new markets the world over.
Closer to home, Lilian Magodi, a Harare-based young artist, states that the gallery has marketed her artworks to a number of art collectors and this has made her gain a lot of publicity and great recognition from different galleries in and outside Zimbabwe.
Magodi who has a number of her artworks currently being exhibited at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe stated that through the gallery’s marketing strategies has made herself and other artists with comfortable with art as a career. This is due to the sales generated through the galleries.
Elsewhere, through collaboration with other fields of business, galleries are able to market artists into other business venture.
An example is of the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) which was presented by Gucci one of the world’s leading luxury brands.
The event had a number of celebrities who were mostly dressed in Gucci. In cases like these were a well-known fashion label collaborates with a gallery or museum this creates new business opportunities and links as artists venture into other fields of business.
Zimbabwe has been a three-time participant at the Venice Biennale (an arts organization based in Venice) and Zimbabwean artists have taken upon this opportunity to showcase their talent on the international art scene.
The Biennale has been able to market Zimbabwean artists around the globe.
Artists in turn have been benefiting from such publicity as they end up being signed in by international galleries.