Art Market

U.S. galleries reported enormous revenue losses due to COVID-19.

Justin Kamp
May 20, 2020 3:39PM, via Art Dealers Association of America

Visitors at the preview of the 2020 ADAA Art Show. Photo by Jocko Graves/, © BFA 2020

An Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) survey found that galleries across the U.S. project a 73 percent loss in overall gross revenue for the second quarter of 2020 due to COVID-19, up from a 31 percent loss in the year’s first quarter. The survey also found that while 85 percent of full-time gallery staff have kept their positions since lockdown orders went into effect in mid-March, 74 percent of contract workers have become unemployed in that time.

The ADAA survey was conducted between April 15th and May 4th, with input from 168 galleries from across the country, and included member galleries of ADAA, Gallery Association Los Angeles (GALA), New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), and San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA), among others.

In addition to the alarming projected losses, the survey found a majority of galleries are on uncertain ground in terms of their property rental. Eighty percent of respondents rent their spaces, while only 51 percent received any sort of accommodation in the way of deferred payments or rent reductions from their landlords. For the remaining 20 percent of galleries that own their own spaces, only 14 percent had received mortgage accommodations.

The survey also found that many galleries plan on reducing their commitments for the remainder of 2020, with only 47 percent of respondents planning on participating in at least one fair for the remainder of the year.

ADAA President Andrew Schoelkopf and Executive Director Maureen Bray said in a joint statement:

The survey results underscore the enormous role that galleries play in the well-being of the arts and culture economy and landscape in our country, not unlike the role of small businesses across every industry. While the survey is focused on near-term impact, the implications are far-reaching and long-term for art galleries and the even greater number of employees and artists they support, both financially and as key partners in fostering their practices and careers. Such immediate and devastating revenue losses will undoubtedly have a ripple effect on these small businesses and the broader arts community for the next 12 to 18 months if not longer, and it is still uncertain how long such losses may continue.
Justin Kamp