Gallery Strategies

So you’ve found a great, natural wood-floor, well-lit gallery space, and you rented it. Now what are you going to fill it up with?

My first answer would normally be “Nothing”.

Me, I’d leave the gallery totally empty except for a few very large, very impressive celebrity art in the form of paintings or other types of hanging pieces, and maybe a few full-length sculptures, a meeting area on a luxury Persian carpet, and that’s it.

My preference is to make a few good sales a year, rather than keep the register going “ka-ching”, but that’s not how we’re going to run this gallery, because there’s a lot more at stake here than celebrity art and celebrity artists.

We have a work community.

That work community is learning to dedicate itself to the marketing of rare and unusual items which carry the Work Force forward and outward.

Each item placed with an owner is a road outward into the main mass of humanity, thus creating a real refuge from organic life for those who contact the School through these artifacts.

Yes, artifacts.

What do you think I do all day long, turn out junk jewelry for a little extra cash?

These wearables and placeables are not trivial junkware, nor are they casual constructs. They take an imbuement and carry that Blessing outward along strings of pass-alongs and giftings.

The content of the message is, itself, largely unimportant.

In this case the medium definitely IS NOT the message, the whole message and nothing but the message — it’s the Massage, which if you read the title of McLuhan’s book carefully, you’ll note that it is spelled “massage”, at first a misprint, then gladly accepted as the actual point of the book; the premise is completely and fully contained in the title itself.

Guitar, if quietly played, is about the same as playing recorded music, and should be handled in about the same way — keep your sound inside your space.

Smells are a different order of animal entirely.

I’m not sure I can do it, but I’d gladly install our popcorn machine and give away free popcorn all day to anyone who actually comes inside the gallery, not just at the door looking for a handout.

The Medium IS the Massage.

What that means is that the object contains the energy and releases it to local life forms, meaning that it leaks out energy in much the same way that a lightbulb socket leaks electricity when there’s no bulb in the socket.

If you can manage to create an item that implies gift giving, so much the better.

One of my major offerings will be views of Nevada City in the form of postcards, stationery, stamps and other fun tourist items for visitors to Nevada City & environs.

Tourists.

You know I love ’em. Tourists abound in the area, and I’ll tell you what happened yesterday to give you an idea of what’s going on, although if you REALLY want to know what’s happening, you’ll have to ask the town drunk.

The street was so packed at noon that you had trouble weaving your way around the clusters of people walking and standing around.

We waited to turn on the street until the crowd thinned down a bit. It was busier than Hell on a Sunday afternoon.

This was without the Art Walk!!!

I’m impressed. Grass Valley was never like that. Oh, sure, you’d see people walking around, but most of them are reading meters or sweeping the sidewalk, or carrying mail or looking for something or someone.

When a School is encapsulated in, or presented as, a gallery space, there’s a lot of ritual involved in getting the product made and packaged and placed on the marketing shelf.

Holding a baggie in the left hand, transferring it to the right hand, using thumb to separate the opening, holding the bead scoop just precisely right, tipping it to pour, and much, much more.

There are so many intricate operations in the goods themselves, but even more in the research, paperwork and tax accounting areas, and when you add in publicity and advertising, plus ethical customer service, you get a LOT to juggle and remember.

The artistic issues are nothing in comparison.

In fact, the art is in itself unimportant, just as the particular coffee, tea or chocolate in a package is not nearly as vital as the packaging and graphics.

In the end, it’s all about marketing.

Product can be anything. Buy it, make it, find it, beg it or borrow it. The exact nature of the thing is wildly out of bounds.

In short, concentrate on the reality, not the apparency.

I’ve been sorting beads and counting them out to go into small 2″x2″ ziplok bags, to be sold at 2 bags for a dollar, which is 50 cents a bag, in case you failed basic math.

Even if you didn’t flunk math, it’s still 50 cents a bag, but we sell them two bags at a time — you can’t buy just one, like the sign on the basket says, “2 for a Dollar”.

I think that’s clear enough.

If it isn’t, I can always work it out, but most folks do get the idea that they have to buy two bags in order to get that price, but if they don’t, tell them it’s a dollar a bag, or two bags for a dollar, that’ll get ’em starting to think.

I’m kidding — you don’t ever want to encourage an ape-descendent to actually think. First of all, the effort might put them away, but secondly, you wouldn’t be able to use any result from that particular source.

There are several ways you can participate in the Gallery.

  • MAKE SOMETHING — Don’t just stand there with your pinkie up your nostril, bunkie — get some gumption and make things for your space.
  • GET A SPACE — You can have a CUBBY for only $100 a month, plus $30 a month for Ashram space. All members of the gallery must be Ashram members.
  • GET A PREMIUM SPACE — A Floor Display will set you back $200 a month. There are only 11 of them, and I’m already using two of them, so you’d better hurry, if you want to secure a JAL case & base for yourself.
  • WORK IN THE GALLERY — Not so fast. You’ll have to prove yourself able and willing to run the gallery, which also involves security for the gallery, locking doors and verifying that they are locked, handling cash. I’d want to know a whole lot about you before I let you risk losing the gallery and everything in it by carelessness or bad practices.
  • CREATE PUBLICITY — Learn how to place ads in classifieds and display, how to write a news article that WILL get published. Above all, learn the ropes of the public relations field.
  • LEARN HOW TO BUY — Selling is easy. Buying is a bitch. When you’re buying anything, from simple wooden beads all the way to European oil paintings, you’d better know what you’re doing, and what the market will tolerate, what the market desires and what the market is doing NEXT, not now.
  • FIND A PATH — There’s a world of relaxation and heightened energy in patterns directed by the work effort, and you’re entitled and welcome to find it and get it and use it to Transcend the Earth Plane.

Well, that’s it, that’s the concept of the gallery on the inside track, and if you’re good at what you do, you’ll be able to use the group necessity and the group’s combined expertise to achieve your lifetime spiritual goal, which should be completion and moving on, if I calculate correctly, and I seldom don’t.

One sure-fire draw to the gallery will be the rare art books and antiquarian books that will be offered ONE AT A TIME to the public.

I’m not so interested in selling them as using them as bait.

Sure, it’s bound to happen that they’ll sell, one by one, over time. But the general effect is of building traffic, so as soon as I’ve sold that book, I’ll take the money from the sale and buy another book, not necessarily the same one.

It depends on what’s out there TODAY.

Every buying day in the book trade is a new experience. You never know what’s gonna walk through that door, as the booksellers will say.

So there will be bookshelves.

There will also be a place for people to do the crafting, and as well, there must be a place where they can purchase, so that means a register of some sort.

COMCAST means that we can do things we couldn’t possibly do on a slower server, so we’ll be considering running LIVE auctions, perhaps even do it on eBay, if they’ll let us peons near it, and why should they all of a sudden be nice???

Mostly you’ll find copper in the gallery, no silver, no gold, no precious gemstones, mostly wood beads, with a few inexpensive ancient beads scattered about here and there to be found by the diligent shopper.

Everything is geared toward the rummage sale, except the big-ticket high-end art, which you won’t find typically in the gallery.

It’s available for viewing by appointment only, unless we bring something in for the day, which we will definitely do.

The “Rare & Unusual” window will have a wild and unique display for one day only, probably Saturday.

What do we do the rest of the days? We use something cheaper. Just as exciting, maybe, only cheaper.

Hats.

People are just not wearing enough hats. We have hats and to spare, and I’ll be painting and decorating hat bands for a few weeks, no doubt, to get this line introduced.

Denim Jackets.

I have all sizes of denim jacket and jeans, ready for painting, plus the fabric paint that I’ve used for years with perfect results.

It’s French, and it’s expensive, but once you try it ,  you’ll never go back.

Wax.

Ah, wax encaustic is a big recent craze, but we won’t be doing any of that. Instead, we’ll be doing “melt-art”, which is even wilder and more beautiful than melted wax, as you’ll soon see.

I do melt-art with a hot plate and a hair drier, and what’s more, I can put that on copper bowls and plates without too much problem.

Ventriloquism.

It just isn’t taught anywhere nearby, and we’re going to fill that market — probably four people in the county want to actually learn to operate a vent doll, and they’ll all show up at the same time.

Puppetry.

Same as vent doll, there might be a few folks in the woodwork looking for these skills.

Magic.

Okay, there are exactly 8 people out of a total of 560,000 in the local area who might be interested in learning the French Drop and maybe one more trick, and we’re after them, to train them for hospital gigs.

Comedy.

Are you kidding? When do I go into the public without some comedy material? I hope you do the same, which will allow you to fit in at the gallery real good.

Folksinging.

Ah, lots of it, with the songbooks and guitars, and photos of Pete and more.

Theater.

Not sure how this would work with the limitation of the small gallery, but I can definitely see some theatrical presentations for a small audience and small troupe performing.

Money.

If it’s money you want, keep the day job.

Okay, I’m back to work on my favorite job, sorting. This time it’s beads.

2 bags for a buck.

See You At The Top!!!

gorby

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