The Future of Art Is Online: A Guide to Digital
Transformation for Galleries and Museums

Adaptable and accessible digital transformations enabled galleries and museums to compete for the attention of a global audience.

The Annenberg Space for Photography, closed permanently in June, 2020. Image via Flickr
Covid made 2020 a frightening and transformative year in almost every business sector. However, even before the pandemic, the arts were already battling for relevance and pivoting into interactive technology and online platforms.

As the pandemic accelerated the closing down of physical museums and galleries, these institutions quickly learned that adopting new technologies could mean the difference between survival and growth or dwindling significance and obsolescence.

Mass lockdowns abruptly forced the art industry to move art online; and, as a result, online art sales in 2020 more than doubled compared to 2019.
In the span of a year, emerging technologies reshaped the methods for creating, displaying, and consuming art. Adaptable and accessible digital transformations enabled galleries and museums to compete for the attention of a global audience—which continues today as in-person gallery reopenings struggle to regain traction.
Art Market Report 2021

How to Implement A Digital Transformation at Your Exhibit

Immersive Van Gogh Museum Courtesy of the Internet.

Galleries and museums exploring the digital landscape must attract and hold the attention of a targeted audience.

The key to successful online and social media marketing is to stand out from the cacophony of noise emanating from content and information overload. Galleries and museums exploring the digital landscape must attract and hold the attention of a targeted audience. The following tips will help galleries implement digital transformation strategies that rise above the noise:

1. Audit Your Existing Digital Playbook

First, take stock of where your gallery currently stands with technology. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your online presence? What does your budget allow you to plan for and execute over the next six to twelve months and beyond?

From there, construct detailed short- and long-term goals. Recruiting experienced digital leaders can help you strategize and implement viable digital transformation plans.

2. Understand Your Audience, the Gallery Visitors

The best museum technology and online art exhibitions are immersive and personalized to the user. Know the audience’s identities, interests, behaviors, and preferences.

A good start is to gather visitor data at the point of ticket sale. Create a digital ticketing system and a mobile app for the gallery.

Then, you can automatically or manually track visitor activity, patterns, and reactions. Additionally, surveys, AI, and CRM software can enhance galleries’ understanding of the audiences to reach and how to routinely connect with them.

3. Engage Your Audience

Use every online tool at your disposal, and create compelling content to connect with your gallery’s audience.
  • Ideally, the gallery website and app should be easy to navigate on mobile and desktop. Aim for a search engine optimized website with an expansive and user-friendly virtual exhibition feature. Craft your online gallery tour experience to be as immersive as possible. Incorporate multi-sensory, interactive, informational, and social elements, allowing VR capability if possible.

  • Establish a robust social media presence. Keep gallery handles, bios, themes, and profile pictures consistent across all platforms to curate a distinct brand. In addition, all pages should link to each other across the gallery website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to make the brand widely accessible.

  • Visitors and buyers want a deeper understanding of the gallery, the art, and the artists. Regularly educate and entertain the gallery’s audience on all online channels through visually captivating and informative posts.

  • Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more offer a Stories feature for publishing readily visible snippets. Stories are perfect for educating visitors while tagging artists to help them promote their work and careers. Plus, Instagram’s Stories Highlights allow you to conveniently categorize Stories, for example, artist features, news updates, previews of current and upcoming exhibitions.

  • Actively review performance analytics of the gallery website and social media pages for more insights about the audience, and what content they like and pay attention to.

4. Re-engage Your Audience

Utilize growing knowledge about the gallery’s audience to keep them interested.
  • Observe which website and social media content garners the most views, likes, comments, and shares. Read comments and direct messages, and occasionally reply to drive engagement further. Host live streams for Q&As, updates, and gallery programming promotions.

  • Reach your audience through e-mail marketing to follow up with them. Whenever visitors interact with the gallery in-person and online, encourage them to sign up for your gallery’s e-mail subscription.

5. Accommodate Collectors

In addition to maintaining visitors’ curiosity, provide a smooth path for buyers from anywhere in the world to purchase art.
  • Collaborate with artists to promote their work and their own online presence so that potential buyers can contact artists directly.

  • Have collector-friendly transactional features on the gallery website enabling buyers to inquire, make offers, and purchase art. Address interested parties’ questions and inquiries in a responsive and timely manner.

  • Work with trustworthy shipping services that handle international shipping.

6. Adopt a Hybrid Online and In-Person Exhibit

Your fully digital art gallery gives you a 24/7 international stage and unprecedented access to would-be in-person visitors unable to visit galleries during closures. Your art gallery’s digital transformation, however, is not complete without hybrid virtual features that are informed by in-person audience insights.

Take notes and identify patterns of behavior from data and insights provided by the interactive technologies in museums. Digital exhibits can inspire innovative ideas when creating immersive in-person gallery experiences for visitors. Give visitors exciting opportunities to enjoy art face-to-face but through a compelling multi-sensory perspective.

Merge the in-person and virtual spaces by adding multimedia and AR components to the gallery app and even the physical displays. Use visitor analytics to personalize their paths through the gallery and guide a real-life custom experience they are certain to love—and want to share with others.

Boundary-pushing online exhibitions and digital experiences are the future of art. So, DotRed is pioneering creative hybrid virtual and physical exhibits that unleash the imaginations of artists and art enthusiasts.

Advantages of Digitizing Your Gallery Or Museum

Embracing virtual technologies provides valuable educational and business benefits to your gallery, the artists, the general public, and the arts community as a whole.

Digitizing your gallery or museum allows you to promote art to the masses and boost local and international interest in the power of art to uplift their lives—and increase awareness for your particular organization. Embracing virtual technologies provides valuable educational and business benefits to your gallery, the artists, the general public, and the arts community as a whole.

Captivate the energy and attention of substantial online audiences by empowering them with the knowledge and information to enjoy, embrace, and participate in art as a community. Galleries that master digital experiences contribute to the cultural enrichment of society and inspire future generations of artists.

A lively and engaging online presence also attracts audiences to traditional galleries and creates exposure for artists across the world. Engaging motivated art customers and enthusiasts helps galleries, artists, and art communities grow on different levels and thrive in inventive ways that allow artists to create work and conduct business.

The Future of Art Appreciation: Online and In-Person

Cohesive digital strategies present powerful opportunities for galleries to flourish in the future. While the Covid pandemic accelerated the art world’s digital metamorphosis, our continuing uncertain times are fundamentally reshaping how people everywhere experience art and creativity in cultures.

The future of showing, appreciating, and buying art will involve digital technologies. In this disruptive environment of accelerated transformation, DotRed is leading the art industry as it increasingly forges into the realm of digitally connected, hybrid art exhibitions and engagements. DotRed transcends in-person and purely virtual art exhibitions by offering unique and integrated virtual art gallery experiences to a new generation of art lovers.