Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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05/22/2004: "Juneau Artists Gallery"

I mentioned a couple days ago about applying to see if I could get into the artist co-op here in Juneau called the Juneau Artists Gallery. Today my application packet came in the mail and I was really disappointed. First of all, you have to pay an initial $250 to join, secondly, you have to pay $200 a month for a very small amount of wall space. Thirdly, you have to work 20 hours a month (5 hours a week) in the actual gallery to help keep it open. I figured it out that I'd be paying $2,650 a year plus a %15 percent commission on sales! That's not factoring in my time working the desk (well over 4 grand if you go by my current hourly rates) so, a total of close to 7 grand!

I couldn't make anywhere near that amount in sales so I'd have to be high to try and get accepted there. They have this whole application project and each interested artist's work is juried by a board of directors as well as the other member artists to see if they want to let you in. For that kind of money they should be willing to take anyone. No, I think for now I'll be content with self-promotion, selling paintings online, doing commissions, and having a solo exhibit once a year or so. It's maybe not as hoity toity as having a gallery but it's where I'm at for the time being.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Sunday, May 23rd, Howard said

Something doesn't sound right there. Do all those artist listed on their site have to put in five hours a week? That would add up to 130 hours a week.
That's a huge expense just to show work. It must be really hard when the primary market are tourist.

on Sunday, May 23rd,">Elise said

I just checked it again and it says they are open from 9-6 seven days a week, or 63 hours total. I counted the artist and 26 are listed, so you're right, they can't all be full members. There are other options, getting a half space for half the monthly rent and half the hours to put in, or more than one of the member artists can share a space and share the work load, so...most of the artists must be doing the 1/2 space or the multiple artist in a space approach.

I only read the requirements for full membership. I could see sharing a space if I did small sized work but I do large sized work and even with a full membership it would only be wall space 80" wide, which isn't very much.

And yes, the primary market is tourists. We get close to a million tourist each summer from the cruise lines. And as (I think Stacy) was saying earlier, my work probably wouldn't fit in that well with people doing watercolor landscapes of alaska.

Anyway, it was fun to think about but not really a smart financial move at this time for me. I think the pressure to recoup my money would be so strong I'd probably start painting stuff just with the idea of selling and that would not be good at all.