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How Safe Is Your Work In The Gallery?


insuring art exhibits

Imagine a tornado making its way across the landscape, an earthquake terrorizing Los Angeles or a bomb blast, car crash – all these scenarios are risks that every individual faces in his or her daily life but the chances of them happening are really low. However, to an artist there is an added danger of this happening to the gallery where they have their work displayed and them possibly losing their work. Who covers for their loss and will they ever get back what they lost?

Still not convinced? Well let’s hear the tale of Maria Proges, a renowned sculptor in Oakland. She had her works on display at the James Harris Gallery in February 2001 in Seattle when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake rocked the city damaging not just the gallery building façade but three of Maria’s sculptures too. While the building was insured and thus repaired quick, her sculptures were lost forever because the gallery did not have protection for artists against earthquakes since it was cost prohibitive! They did feel sorry for her though.

It is the same thing as you leaving your car at your mechanic’s garage only to have it wrecked the next day by a looter. Who pays for the damages? Does your car insurance cover that? Or is there some special kind of motor business cover that protects your vehicle and the mechanic too? Maybe it is just enough for the mechanic to feel sorry for you?

Before you make any judgement, know that the James Harris Gallery actually has one of the top insurance covers for its premises and all artworks as opposed to many galleries that tend to have zero insurance or protection. Funny thing when you consider that many galleries stay open not because of what work they own but because of consignments from artists across the globe.

If you are an artist then you better learn from Maria’s tragedy and ask questions before allowing a gallery to showcase your work. Ask them for their insurance policy and what covers your work has. Be more strict on the exclusions and take necessary precautions. Granted sometimes you just don’t have the choice but in these situations you can always take up a personal insurance, one designed exclusively for artists and their work.

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