The ideas for actions and resources here were generated from the Summer 2020 Survey Results, the July 2020 convening, and were discussed, revised and added to during the Fall 2020 Roundtables.

These are crowdsourced ideas from our community and are an evolving list. If you'd like to add additional ideas for actions or resources, email us at galleriescommit@gmail.com. 

Individuals who have signed the commitment can access a recording of the roundtable here

View the presentation as shared on the call here



VISION: A gallery with a carbon negative building footprint, achieved with offsets starting in 2021, and by eliminating carbon emissions by 2030.

Immediate Actions to Take:

  • Convert building energy to a clean source

    • NYS Power to Choose

    • NYC 2030 - covers buildings in Tribeca, Chinatown, East Village, and parts of Brooklyn

  • Turn the AC down

  • Upgrade lighting

    • Use LEDs, not halogens, halide track lighting, or fluorescents

    • If that's too expensive for today: Install dimmers or motion sensors to turn off when not in use

    • Resource: Lighthouse (guarantees upgrade will pay for itself over time)

  • Use 2019 footprint to set goals for 2021 reductions



VISION: A gallery that has eliminated all waste to landfill.

Immediate Actions to Take:

  • Plan Ahead

  • Recycle, and make sure it’s convenient to staff

  • Terracycle

  • Compost

  • Ban single use plastics that are purchased by the gallery

  • Use green cleaning products

  • Purchase only recycled/sustainably sourced paper products

  • Make all gallery sponsored meals vegetarian/vegan and locally sourced

  • Eliminate Amazon and Uline orders, especially next day shipping orders

  • Enact Shipping + Packing Protocols (see last week's notes!)

  • Assign someone to research and identify more sustainable products

  • Write to your regular vendors and ask them about availability of eco-friendly alternatives



VISION: A gallery where the whole team recognizes and feels ownership over the overall priority for climate-consciousness.

Things to address:

  • Define the "Best" option as being the most conscious option (not just the fastest or cheapest)

  • Slow down - address your exhibition, operation, and fair calendars

  • Create a travel policy

    • Reduce flights / consolidating travel

    • Economy only flights (½ the carbon footprint of business class)

    • Prioritize mass transit over car travel

    • Rail travel only if a route exists

    • Offset remaining travel footprint

  • Oppose harmful systems of historical domination, including racism, wage and labor inequality, and threats to mid-tier and emerging galleries

  • Switch gallery banking to a climate-conscious alternative

  • How are these principles shared and communicated?



VISION: A gallery where all employees feel supported, empowered, and facilitated to be able to make individual decisions that allow them to live a climate-conscious life within and outside of the gallery.

Things to consider:

  • Create incentives for using low carbon or public transportation

    • Offer bike-share membership or seasonal bike-tune ups

    • Provide monthly metrocards

    • Discourage private cars

  • Provide coffee/tea on site (that doesn’t have plastic pods!)

  • Support thoughtful lunch - Coordinate group lunch ordering from vendors without plastic containers, allow time for staff to pursue conscious lunch options

  • Provide filtered water

  • Provide time to commute to work and meetings in carbon negative ways

  • Make compost & recycle bins easily accessible

  • Pay staff and freelancers fair, living wages

  • Keep working hours that allow time for staff to maintain climate-conscious personal lives

  • Provide affordable, quality health care benefits

  • Provide 401Ks that have green investment options



VISION: A gallery community that has collectively and transparently collaborated to ensure sector-wide, rapid change towards becoming Carbon Negative by 2030, that is able to serve as a role model for other sectors of the global economy.

  • Be transparent about what policies the gallery commits to

  • Align these commitments with other galleries

  • Communicate priorities to artists, clients, and the public

  • Hold us accountable to each other

  • Support galleries with less resources by sharing research and/or resources

  • Participate in a NYC Gallery community climate-conscious fund that's able to direct mutually accessible research and distribute resources to ensure all NYC galleries can commit to taking action.




  • Metrics - what is the carbon footprint of the gallery as a building, and what is it from our "activities" (traveling, art fairs).

  • What's the reduction from recycling, from reducing travel? Etc.

  • Echo on metrics -what is the baseline? What are the decisions you make EVERY day?

  • Step-by-step Guide by people who have gone through and done them, volunteer to take on one actionable point to make a manual or checklist to share with others trying to do it

  • Creating a network for shared shipments, shuttles, resources so we can consolidate

  • Reduce, Re-use, Recycle - recycling is external, reducing/reusing are things I can do at the company

  • Galleries Commit endorsements for energy source, freight company, vendors or services that are the most efficient/sustainable

  • Collaboration

  • Organizational framework to organize a timeline and ensure you're hitting these goals

  • Community to support each other

    • Resource call out: Lighthouse (upgrades lights and commits that they will pay for themselves

  • Lobby vendors like Valentine, shippers, or art fairs to ask them to provide the options we need

  • It's a trick question: We can do it NOW!!

  • It's on us! Buy-in from everyone on staff! Peer Pressure!

  • Lobbying major players - it's the fossil fuel companies that need to make the change - can we use the resources of a luxury business use our influence to lobby for change?

  • Clients are interested in this! And will become increasingly a priority for them.

  • Leadership supporting assistants to actually execute new practices

  • Galleries Commit Certification (like WAGE or LEED certified) - have met certain levels, like gold, platinum

  • Footprint notes: 

    • building footprint is one of the biggest carbon producing element

    • 63% of offsets purchased in 2019 were from Fossil Fuel companies, if you are buying an offset, it's 50-50 chance you are actually buying it from an oil company

    • Christie's reduced paper use by 50% (pandemic helped, didn't ship catalogues), clients welcomed the change

    • David Zwirner, large building footprint, recently worked with Atelier Ten to calculate carbon footprint of Harold Ancart exhibition - by far the greatest carbon emitter was the building

  • Shared Resources:

    • How do we get shared resources for transport, for crates?

    • Collective purchase of solar panels for communities to lower individual cost - Shayna will research

    • Collective carbon assessment - RESOURCE CALL OUT - has a contact available for carbon assessments for collective group at low cost - well under $1k

  • Resource Call Out! Art to Zero

    • Tools and resources are being built - measurement guide being built by Art to Zero, certification is in the conversation with global groups

    • Nascent platform and Resource Hub

  • Hard do commit to doing these things when you are always responding to the fire in front of you and it's senior leadership has been there for years and you are new

  • Slowing things down so you have time to act on these things


Next Steps:

  • Create Galleries Commit Collective Google Group list serve

  • Arrange Monthly Meetings to check in

  • Take on individual practices that can be shared with the wider community

  • Create Collective Plan for Action for NYC Galleries to take this fall