Art about Looking at Art:A work by Gail Norfleet at Valley House Gallery depicts a gallery-goer studying a work by Susan Kae Grant at Conduit Gallery.
Guest blogger GAIL SACHSON owns ASK ME ABOUT ART, an art education service, is Vice-Chair of the Cultural Affairs Commission and a member of the Public Art Committee. The advice to artists which follows is from a course Ms. Sachson teaches at SMU for emerging artists, “An Intimate Insider’s View of the Dallas Art Scene:From Museum to Marketplace”.
The annual Spring Gallery Walk presented by the Dallas Art Dealers Association was this past weekend. Over thirty galleries and alternative venues participated. It was the best free entertainment and education in the city.
But how do artists without gallery representation get to be part of the scene? Finding the right gallery for you is a lot like dating.
- Survey the scene and prepare for the date. Going to openings, having conversations with the directors, looking at the work in the various galleries is essential before deciding upon which gallery best suits you and your work.
- It pays to be set-up. An introduction by an artist who shows in the gallery of your choice , is best.
- But which gallery is for you? You must know which audience you want to reach. Each gallery has its own focus and its own following. Determining your audience will help determine which gallery is for you.
- Choose a gallery the way you would choose a partner in marriage. Trust and mutual respect are primary. Expectations should be clear. Written contracts are advisable to safeguard against misunderstandings. (Sound like a pre-nuptual?) Contracts are usually negotiable. Know what’s important to you, such as publicity, shows, prompt payment,etc. Realize what is expected of you…a body of available work, on time delivery and perhaps…sharing discounts and commissions when offered.
- Your gallery director and you want a personal long-term relationship. Galleries prefer to deal directly with you, rather than with a representative. Reps and consultants are advantageous when placing work in corporations or hotels.
- Your website and portfolio should be up-to-date, well edited, and work should be professionally photographed. Most galleries post submission requirements on their websites.
Even with quality work, a charming personality, flowers, candy and flattery, your chosen gallery may reject your advances. Remember, there are more fish in the sea.