Gallery La Crosse Artists Cooperative
We are a Juried venue, to assure high quality wares and exhibits for our customers.
Our business model has evolved from a hybridization of the concepts of a Traditional Gallery, an Artists' Cooperative, and an Antiques Mall...
into being an Artists Cooperative, as of January 1, 2018, and we are working toward becoming legally a "non-profit" entity.
An ongoing Fine Arts & Fine Craft Sale, and more...
All of our Exhibiting Members manage their own spaces within the Gallery.
Once they are Juried in, it is left up to the Exhibitor to select what to exhibit, as well as how to best display their wares and when to rotate items within their area.
Detailed guidelines for exhibition are provided in the Contract.
A wide variety of spaces and exhibit opportunities are available. We leave it up to the exhibiting Members to decide which space(s) will best suit their needs and budget. Within this framework, we are very flexible, and allow for changes to be made as Members' needs evolve. We would much rather meet the periodically changing needs for our Members than be inflexible and see them leave.
Opportunities exist for both Staffing & Non-Staffing Members.
Our Staffing Members enjoy several incentives to thank them for stepping up to support their fellow Members.
The main street level Gallery is for Fine Arts & Fine Craft,
with a few fine Antiques & Vintage Wares blended into the mix.
This level and our clean public restroom are Handicap Accessible.
The front area of our main Gallery level features a multi-use space that is used for Receptions, Artist Live Demos, Arts & Crafts Classes, Community Group Meetings, and relaxed visitor seating.
Downstairs, is our "Rustic Cellar".
This area is delightfully filled with Shabby Chic, Vintage & Antiques, Rustics, Handcrafts, Primitives, Garden Art, & Bird Habitat items.
Exhibitors are on Annual Memberships, though our Contracts do offer the option to make Quarterly payments.
Our main level Gallery spaces vary in size & configuration, most being about 3 feet or 5 feet wide by 9 feet tall, and all include floor space for display shelves or cases.
Additionally, we offer to our Exhibitors Bonus Spaces: in the Card Rack, the front revolving Jewelry Rack and in the front counter Display Case.
All of our Exhibitors are also welcome to bring in their Antique & Vintage items for sale in our Rustic Cellar area, as space allows. And, all Exhibitors may sell winter Holiday items year-round in our Celebrations Corner.
Visit in the Gallery to see which spaces are currently available; they change often as our exhibitors are very welcome to move from one area to another within the Gallery.
Exhibitors are always VERY Welcome & encouraged to enjoy lingering visits, and also to do live Demos of their skills to help promote sales of their wares. Doing a live Demo is FREE, though advance scheduling is appreciated to maximize your benefit. Often the person doing the Demo sees good sales of their wares to the people who came to view them at work. This is like doing a portable show, but without having to pack up all your wares & displays & tent to make it happen.
Commission of either 20% or 25 % is applied to the selling price of wares. When discounts are given on purchases, they come out of the Gallery's Commission, not from the Exhibitor's proceeds. All staffing and marketing of the gallery in general are provided by the Co-op's Members
Exhibitors are encouraged to promote their other venues around the region by use of materials placed in their spaces. Details for doing this are provided in the Contract.
We promote our gallery as being very friendly for the general public, a place to shop just for fun things, for everyday Gift occasions, as well as for Heirloom Quality Fine Art.
All of our Exhibitors are very welcome & encouraged to offer Classes.
Gallery La Crosse does not take any commission from your fees for classes & materials. You set your own prices. There is only a nominal fee for use of the space; fee depends upon whether is is held entirely within normal Gallery open hours, or after-hours.
Classes are to be held if at least 2 Registrations are paid in advance of the starting time of the Class.
The fee for holding your class is waived if there are no enrollments.
All of our Exhibiting Members enjoy FREE access to a variety of Marketing Tools and Opportunities offered by the Gallery La Crosse Artists Coooperative.
Links to two personal websites of your choice from our website... (whether a stand-alone site of your own or Etsy or eBay or Zazzle, etc.) Reciprocal links are appreciated, but not required.
Your contact information & brief description of what you have to offer on our Current Exhibitors Page.
For our Former Exhibitors in good standing, your contact information and a few words about your wares on our Former Exhibitors Page.
(We have many Exhibitors who rotate in & out seasonally, and we believe in always welcoming back those who leave in good standing.)
Downtown La Crosse Promotions:
Gallery La Crosse participates in every Historic Downtown La Crosse promotional event.
These are held roughly every 2 to 3 months, and bring into our Gallery anywhere from 200 to 1000 visitors in a single day, with additional swarms of folks also window-shopping.
These are excellent opportunities for doing live Demos, either in the front window or the main level Gallery or in the Rustic Cellar or on the sidewalk in front of the Gallery windows.
You may post in your space information about; yourself, your other exhibit locations, upcoming portable shows, etc.
Having business cards in your space is required, as people who see your wares one day may wish to buy from you in the future.
Individual and group Special Exhibit opportunities are available in several ways. Inquire with Ann for more details.
Daily Visual Promotion:
Your space at Gallery La Crosse is an excellent way to safely store your wares between portable shows (better than the basement or garage or your closet), as it will keep your wares in the public eye and available for purchase.
You will arrange your wares as you please within your space.
We provide a space at the entrance, where all exhibitors may elect to have a portfolio about themselves & their work for public perusal.
Inquiries are welcome for 2 weeks-long Contract "Guest Artist" exhibitions.
Plan on setting your dates at least 2 months in advance, subject to availability.
The exhibit spaces available for this are in our front area, prominently located within our Gallery, and highly visible to people looking into Gallery La Crosse's front windows 24/7.
Exhibit Fee is only $ 75 per two-weeks exhibit !
Two Artists may share the exhibit, but any one Artist is limited to one "Guest Artist" contract exhibit opportunity per calendar year.
While we previously did charge a 10% Commission Fee on all sales of the Guest Artist's works, our current policy is as follows:
No Commission Fee on sales of the Guest Artist's works, and Guest Artists agrees to accept a price reduction of 10% on their retail prices during events for which the Gallery La Crosse Artists Cooperative normally offers our customers 10% off everything (First Fridays, DMI events, etc.) if such events occur during the selected Exhibit dates.
EXHIBIT FEE INCLUDES:
~ use of space for the contracted dates
~ opportunity to hold a Reception in our Gallery during the exhibition
~ opportunity for Artist to do multiple scheduled &/or spontaneous live demonstrations during their exhibit dates
~ sales will be handled by the Gallery's staff, and Gallery La Crosse will collect & pay the Sales Tax to the State of Wisconsin
~ listing on Gallery La Crosse's website (Events & Special Exhibits Pages) for the exhibit, including a link to the Artist's own website for the duration of the exhibit
~ marketing by Gallery La Crosse will also include: creation of a Facebook Event, and submission of a listing to the Downtown Mainstreet, Inc. newsletter. Exhibitor is expected to provide a good quality digital image of something from the exhibit to be submitted to press along with their general information.
This opportunity requires the exhibiting Artist(s) to complete the process of Jurying, signing the Contract, and making full payment for the exhibit at least 2 calendar months ahead of the Opening date. Whenever more than one is interested in the same exhibit dates, the first to complete these steps in the process will have the date; any others will need to select another opportunity.
Full details are available by viewing our "Guest Artist" Contract in the Gallery.
Please, note that this "Guest Artist" exhibit is an entirely different Contract opportunity offered to Artists who are not regular Exhibitors, and is not the same as our Exhibitors' two weeks long free "Special Exhibits".
For more information on about your opportunities as a regular Exhibitor for the free "Special Exhibit" of 2 weeks this prominent location visible from the window, please, review your Contract and speak with Ann about available dates.
To provide optimum selling opportunities for all of our Vendors, we do need to impose some gentle limits on the number of exhibitors within any particular style &/or media.
To check on availability of spaces, you may call, visit, or phone to our Gallery.
Arrange a time to bring a representative sampling of your Artworks to the Gallery. We prefer to examine things in person, rather than viewing photos. Please, plan on being present in our Gallery at least a half-hour for this process.
If accepted, you will need to take adequate time to review the Contract before signing it. It is a lengthy document, designed to provide a very clear understanding of all terms and conditions for exhibit spaces, holding receptions, teaching classes, and various details.
We desire to see everyone get along with one another, and to maintain a very Cooperative spirit within our gallery.
Once you have Contracted for your Membership and use of space, it is up to you to manage your space within the Gallery Contract's guidelines. You are very strongly encouraged to actively market yourself, as all of our best selling vendors do this.
As of January 1, 2018; we have become an Artists Cooperative
(Previously, we did allow some Antique Dealers to participate in our project.)
Though all of our Exhibiting Artists are very welcome, and encouraged, to bring in Antiques, Vintage Wares, and their various Crafts which do not rise to the level of Fine Art.
The finer of these to blend well with the Fine Arts on our main level, and the bulk of these create our wonderfully sassy fun Rustic Cellar...
ALL of our Exhibitors are Fine Artists &/or skilled Fine Craft Artisans, and all of them maintain their own Exhibits in our main level Fine Arts Gallery.
OUR BUSINESS MODEL...
We are an Artists Cooperative, which provides very unique opportunities which Artists &Artisans cannot find elsewhere.
While Gallery La Crosse is a Juried venue, once an artist's work is recognized as being of high enough quality to exhibit here, it is left to the artist to determine what their exhibit will be.
Each Exhibitor manages their own space according to their own preference for content and frequency of changes.
Receptions for individual exhibitors are simple to schedule, and may be arranged to go along with a special exhibit, or just because. We hold an open and casual Reception on the First Friday of every Month.
Gallery La Crosse will never require an exhibitor to restrict their offering of work to our gallery, and we encourage you to provide information in your space about where else your work can be found.
We frequently refer our customers to other local galleries to find what they are looking for; if we cannot provide it for them, and if they are simply looking for opportunities to view more local art.
This is in keeping with our policy of cooperatively promoting the Local Arts Community in every way possible.
Gallery La Crosse will always feature a variety of goods, an eclectic blend of: Fine Art, Fine Craft, Jewelry, Antiques, fine Vintage wares, Habitat Art, Vintage Norwegian Sweaters, Rustic Originals, Shabby Chic, and a winter Holidays "Celebrations Corner".
Within this model there are two distinct personalities, with the street level main Gallery focused on Fine things, and the Rustic Cellar having a very relaxed atmosphere.
Historic Downtown La Crosse attracts a wide range range of visitors, and our Gallery's unique mix draws in many people who never knew they would enjoy shopping in an Art Gallery.
We also do see a lot of the established art appreciation population coming by frequently to see what or who is new in our gallery.
Vendors may set very marketable prices and still receive worthwhile income for their efforts. When your items sell, the Commission is only 20 % or 25 %.
With our very affordable Membership Dues, our Exhibitors may select what their own Marketing costs will be.
As a comparison, when you divide your membership Dues by 12, you'll find that your monthly cost of Exhibit Space & Marketing Services is actually much less than the cost of a typical one-day portable show space.
With display spaces available in many sizes and configurations, you select what fits your needs best. It is very common for our exhibitors to change their spaces by moving to a different area of the Gallery, to present a fresh exhibit, or meet seasonal needs for more or less space.
Exhibitors determine for themselves how much they wish to invest in marketing themselves, and how much of what style display space they wish to utilize.
Display here also includes varying amounts of Internet exposure for all of our Current & Former Exhibitors (in good standing).
A significant component of our business model comes from Ann's experience as a member of an Artists' Cooperative. One of the membership requirements which was often difficult for Members (when the Co-op operated a Gallery for three years) was staffing. Many members were challenged by fitting their shifts into their busy lives, and our Wisconsin winters offered special problems for those who had a fair distance to drive in to staff.
Our exhibiting Members may select the option to Staff in the Gallery for at least one day per month.
As of 2018, Exhibitors are only required to attend for 12 hours out of every Year of Reception time (very easy to do, if you attend only half of the First Fridays, or a couple of the special Downtown Promotional events), their choice of Receptions &/or Events.
(Please, be aware that Exhibitors who elect to not participate in these Receptions & special Events are required to pay $15 per each quarter of the year that they have not attended for at least 3 hours, as the opportunity for Customers & Exhibitors to mingle is very important to our business model.)
You have here the freedom to come in at any time we are open, to visit, &/or to do live Demos of your skills as you desire. When you do these Demos, you may work in our large front window, or elsewhere in the Gallery, and you are encouraged to interact with our customers. Providing advance notice of the Demo will allow for it to be announced on our website & on our Facebook page.
We freely offer linking to two personal websites for any & all of our Current Exhibitors in good standing. Return linking back to our website is greatly appreciated, but is not required.
While each of these existing business models has good things to offer, we've taken the best of each to create a new and different business model. The owner/manager of Gallery La Crosse has exhibited, as an Artist & a Collector selling Vintage or Antique items, in all four of these familiar models, and will continue to do so at times (based upon terms, opportunity, fundraising events, & need).
A BIT MORE ABOUT AUTONOMY ISSUES FOR THE ARTIST...
In the traditional gallery model, it is the gallery owner, not the artist, who makes all of the decisions regarding works exhibited &/or offered for sale to the public. This often restricts exhibition opportunities to well known and established professional artists. Who exhibits, and which of their works are exhibited is tightly controlled. Students, semi-professional, and many other skilled Artists, Crafters, and Folk Artisans often find it difficult to gain the opportunity to exhibit.
Generally taking in revenue only from commissions on works sold, in order to survive in business, traditional galleries need to keep 40 to 60 percent of the selling price of what they present to the public, and they need to usually exhibit only the very high-volume-selling works. This high commission requires the artist to either price their work above an optimal selling price, or to accept less income when their work sells at a lower and more marketable price point.
Traditional galleries are often visited by people seeking a fine art viewing social experience, and who may or may not be inclined to actually make purchase Artworks. Even top-selling artists in a traditional gallery may sell only a couple of pieces each year. Many resemble museum exhibits with stark white walls and a very limited amount of work on exhibit at any one time.
Some galleries also require exhibiting artists to sign an agreement to not offer their works elsewhere in the region, or even nationwide. Artist receptions are usually only scheduled according to the gallery owner's preference, if the opportunity is even offered. Many of them will list names (& some bio's) for exhibitors on their websites, though most of them will not provide links to artists' own websites.
FOR THE ARTIST WHO DABBLES IN BEING AN ANTIQUES DEALER...
Typically, space in Antiques Malls is charged out by the square foot, with Vendors left to carve out aisle space from the space that they are paying for.
Most offer only a couple of sizes or shapes to chose from for your "booth".
In this region, we have found that monthly space rent ranges from $1.50 to $4 per square foot, and most also require exhibitors to staff the store on top of this. No matter how good or bad your sales are, there is no option for lower cost spaces to maintain a presence and contact with the public through them if you find the cost too high. It is an extremely rare Antiques mall that will list Vendor's contact information on their website.
While their per square foot cost is set at 100% to 300% higher than us, they don't usually charge a commission on items sold.
Here at Gallery La Crosse, if you have a month when your sales are low, you do benefit from much less cost, and still benefit from Marketing both in the Gallery & on-line. During the months of good sales, you will still see much lower total costs for selling than in most other locations.
We do not charge by the square foot for the space; Members select from our spaces space by the size, configuration, and cost that they find best fits their needs. All aisle space in our main level Gallery & in the Rustic Cellar is provided for by our Gallery, so you may actually use every inch of the space you pay for.
As of 02-01-2015; our entire Rustic Cellar is now utilized as an entirely cooperative exhibit space with a wide variety of themed sections.
Whether as an Artist, Crafter, or selling Antiques, it is hard to beat the personal face-to-face interaction of the one or two day shows.
However, being stressed-out and anxious, as well as physically exhausted by them, is one of the factors in why Gallery La Crosse was created. We just seem to find it harder every year to pack up and take the show on the road.
Sometimes they go well, but often it is hard to justify the many days or weeks of preparation, set-up time, jurying process, booth staffing time, transportation issues and costs, meals, lodging, etc; all on top of paying anywhere from $ 25 to $ 2500 to lease the space for just one or two days.
Sometimes the net income after show expenses is only enough to cover the cost of materials for the items sold. Once in a while a customer from a portable show makes contact at a later date for a custom work, or something they saw in the booth and later decided to buy.
Occasionally, the weather for outdoors shows is perfect, and a wonderful experience is enjoyed both by the Artist & by the customers. Rain and wind, though, may turn these into experiences in which one simply tries to survive with a minimum of damage to their wares.
These portable shows can be fun at times, yet are really best thought of as marketing opportunities to drive customers to the long-term retail exhibits where the Artist's work can be found between shows.
An Artists' Co-op is a magical thing, beneficial in so many ways, and a place to create lasting friendships with other artists.
The cooperative energy brings a special life & energy to the Co-op gallery.
Memberships are usually done on an annual basis, with the monthly cost of dues ranging from $ 30 to $ 120, depending on the region and retail location. Commissions on sales of items sold in Co-op galleries range from 10 %, to very commonly 20 or 30 %, or higher.
Members do have a great deal of control over what they present, and when and how.
With staffing and governance of the Co-op's retail gallery by and for the members, members must serve on Committees, and are required to work 1 or 2 to 10 full days every month in staffing the shop. Most Co-ops have websites, and some of them will allow a link to member websites.
From the beginning, we have intended for Gallery La Crosse to "someday" become a genuine Arts Co-op; we hope it will be soon.
Gallery La Crosse has been set up to incorporate the best elements of all of these.
Please, do pop in sometime to check out our Main Level Fine Arts Gallery, and our sassy fun Rustic Cellar.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our website and learn more about us.
Visit with us in the Gallery for a good look at our Contract.
We offer Annual Memberships, with the option to pay your Dues Quarterly..