> Artists, Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions, The Society

The Importance of the Red Dot

Photo of red dots

They’re largely unobtrusive and quite often go unnoticed, but the red dot is a cause for celebration when you work in an art gallery, particularly one such as the RBSA Gallery.

Unlike many public galleries and museums across Birmingham and around the country, the RBSA Gallery does not receive any public funding.  While establishments such as Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and IKON receive money from the Arts Council and local authority, the RBSA has to be far more self sufficient.

As a member organisation, we rely on the subscription fees paid by our Members and Associates who pay to be part of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.  We also receive vital income from our RBSA Friends who generously pay to be part of the Friends scheme.  We are lucky enough to have several Corporate Members who sponsor the RBSA on an annual basis as well as individuals and local Trusts who sponsor prizes and exhibitions.  There are so many wonderful trusts and organisations who sponsor the arts, often without public acknowledgement, and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to many of those based in the West Midlands.

We often get asked why artists have to pay to enter our exhibitions, and the truth is that these fees also form a vital source of income without which we would not be able to operate.  Here at the RBSA Gallery we employ a small body of staff made up of a Director, a Marketing Manager, an Exhibitions Coordinator, a Retail Coordinator, a Front of House and Sales Assistant, and an Accountant, without whom, we would not exist.

The Gallery Shop on our ground floor not only means a steady income from the sale of our wonderful craft items, it also acts as an entry way to the Gallery for those who have not visited before.  We sell a huge variety of jewellery, ceramics, glass, textiles, cards, books, and prints, all of which are sourced locally from talented independent crafts people.

And then there are the red dots which are, of course, placed on the wall next to an artwork to indicate that it has been sold.  While the RBSA only receives a commission on the price of these sales, every red dot represents a customer who is helping to ensure the survival of the RBSA and its Gallery and helping us build upon a history of over 200 years.

So never underestimate the joy our staff feel when they pop a red dot on the wall.  In a time when many people are struggling with the cost of living, it’s wonderful to see that people still value the arts and value organisations such as the RBSA and its Gallery.

So come on in and give us a thrill, purchase an artwork and you’ll get your own red dot.