So you want to close your gallery. What happens next?

First come the long, painful phone calls with artists. Then comes the packing of the inventory. Finally, you have to figure out what to do with all those boxes of archival material in your basement.

The process of closing an art gallery is as unique as the business of art dealing itself. In recent years, dozens of mid-size dealers have closed up shop amid rising rents, punishing art-fair schedules, and increased competition from mega-galleries. But when your business is all-consuming, what happens when you decide to shut it down?

artnet News surveyed a number of New York dealers who have changed course in recent years. Some of them have joined larger galleries, opened non-profit spaces, or begun to deal privately; others have left the art business altogether. What’s clear is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The decision to close is “never taken easily, because when you are a gallery that sells emerging artists, that means you’re at least half an idealist,” says Jimi Dams, the founder of the Lower East Side gallery envoy enterprises, which announced plans to close last month. “In my case, I was 100 percent.”

For every dealer, however, one thing is clear: Closing a gallery is a much more significant life change than moving from one 9-to-5 job to another. read more