What Is An Art Gallery"WHAT IS A GALLERY?" can be the most frequently asked question of our time. However, an even more relevant one right now is; "How is an art gallery to run?" It's heard often enough, and in it lays yet another question; how do galleries truly operate? The answer is complicated, yet not without intrigue for those who wish to better understand what an art gallery is and how they function. To begin with, art galleries are the collective gathering of art enthusiasts from around the world. These artists and their patrons have come together to enjoy, learn, and be inspired by the work of others. It's also called a fair, as that's what it's supposed to be: a marketplace where works of all artists are sold to the public. And just like any marketplace, the art galleries of today have evolved, becoming multi-faceted and increasingly customized to satisfy the needs of their members. Let's examine a few of the changes taking place today. The evolution of art galleries is taking place because the art form is no longer primarily represented by the artist, but rather by the medium through which it's presented. Take the case of abstract art, for example. Once, upon a time, when an artist produced a painting and hung it on the wall, that painting was simply a reflection of his/her artistic temperament and style. A person looking at the painting would say nothing about the content of the work except that it was pleasing to the eye. Now, on the walls of many art galleries, paintings are displayed in such a way as to interpret the work of the artist in context. One type of this kind of environment exists within the context of contemporary art galleries. In these venues artists display works of varying degrees of expressive ability. While the goal of these art exhibits is still to produce visual art, the finished product is often a product of artists using multiple media, such as paint, collage, photographs, wood, fabric, videos, etc., to convey their messages. These multiple-media exhibits are now commonplace at contemporary art exhibits, whether they're held at a gallery or placed in museums and other public settings. There are even online art galleries, where an artist can exhibit his/her artwork across the Internet without having to physically go to the site. This is the same kind of situation that exists in the world of the artist, where an artist can use various media to create a multimedia work of art. Another example of the evolution of the art gallery can be found in the increasingly customized nature of contemporary art fairs. Just a few years ago, when an artist opened up a gallery show, he/she was expected to bring only a table and some chairs with a couple of chairs placed on the floor around which the art would be displayed. Nowadays, art galleries are realizing the power of their online presence, and artists are coming to realize that there is huge market potential in selling art online. These galleries not only take on regular visitors, but also host regular promotion events that invite local artists to display their work. Many traditional galleries are beginning to explore the possibilities that online gallery offers. A final example of changes that are taking place can be found in the types of exhibits that are being used at many contemporary exhibitions. For a long time, the typical exhibition consisted of a series of canvas paintings or sculptures for sale or viewing. As new technologies, such as digital cameras, started to become accessible to the general public, artists began to exhibit their work via the Internet. At one point, an artist would set up an entire website, complete with a blog that offered interesting facts about their work, as well as information about upcoming exhibitions, projects, and artists' personal lives. Nowadays, exhibits take advantage of technology to include interactive exhibits, streaming visuals, audio visuals, as well as videos featuring behind-the-scenes information about the artists, their works, and the gallery itself. It's not just the venues that have changed with technology. The type of exhibition that an artist has at a given gallery may have shifted, as well. If a gallery was once devoted to strictly photographic exhibitions, it's likely that photographs are no longer the primary feature of its program. In fact, some contemporary artists prefer to showcase multimedia works instead. These multimedia exhibits, including installation art, performances, installations, sound displays, video projections, or video intermissions, are becoming increasingly popular at contemporary galleries. A final example of the ways that art galleries are evolving can be found in the way that they interact with their clients. Most traditional galleries sit down with a client, discuss their ideas, and make plans on how to execute the artist's vision. But with the popularity of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and sites like MySpace, what used to take months to arrange now takes minutes. Artists who once needed to meet with a potential client at an art gallery now meet on a daily basis through social media sites. Before long, a gallery artist may even come into direct contact with his or her future fans. And the fans themselves can tell the story of the artist's success through word-of-mouth marketing.