Q: I am an artist and I am thinking of opening a gallery next year. The aim is to sell not just my own work, but also that of other artists. Can I just check from a legal point whether there are any licensing requirements for art galleries that are open to the public for the purpose of selling work?
A: There are no licensing requirements specifically relating to the operation of what will effectively be an art shop, but there may be other considerations you need to bear in mind. For example, if you decide to have background music to create an ambience, you will need a Music Licence to play copyright music in public. A single licence from PPL PRS will usually suffice, unless you plan to play music managed by a different body.
If you plan to offer credit facilities you will need consumer credit authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. And if you decide, as many art galleries do, to boost sales with a small café facility, then you will need to register as a food business with your local environmental health department.
Depending on the type of work you sell, you may need to familiarise yourself with the legislation relating to artists’ resale rights and royalties, as you could find yourself responsible for paying royalty fees to one of the collecting societies. You can find information about this on the DACS and ACS websites.
As with all shops and other buildings open to the public, your gallery will be subject to a range of general legislation designed to protect both you, any staff you have, and the visiting public. This includes ensuring goods and services are not misleadingly described, clearly displaying retail prices, and complying with workplace health & safety and fire safety legislation.
Finally, if you are planning to rent premises for your gallery it would be worth seeking legal advice before signing a lease.
This question has been answered by Robert Williams, a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter, please visit our website www.ghplegal.com and use the contact us form, or call us on: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194