Podcast: Give galleries what they want

While there is no standardized format for submitting your portfolio to galleries, you can earn points by being professional from the get-go. Fewer galleries = fewer artists in galleries. There isn’t much room for error. You must behave professionally in every way.




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5 comments to Podcast: Give galleries what they want

  • “Give the galleries what they want” whenever you can is good advice.
    It is important to remember that sometimes the person who answers the phone at a gallery may say “the gallery isn’t taking new artists right now” just to try to keep the piles of unsolicited submissions from artists down to a more manageable number. In my experience this kind of a “no” doesn’t always mean no. If you send galleries you are really interested in postcard announcements of your other shows, they may start to get interested in you despite their “we’re not looking” public stance. I’ve worked with several galleries who warmed up to me after a few years of receiving show announcements from me.

  • This comment is somewhat overdue, but does I think relate to the current topic. I purchased Alyson’s The Relatively Pain-free Artist Statement some weeks back and committed myself to completing the programme before I went overseas. I saved it on the computer and entered my answers into the text, in blue font. In answering the questions it certainly expanded the information I can now use for future artist statements, and talks that I give occasionally. When I came back from overseas I re-read my comments and was very pleased. I regard it as a great resource, easily accessible and which I can update anytime. Thank you Alyson. Diana Parkes, New Zealand

  • Curious Matter

    We are a gallery that often gets submissions via e-mail. A curt “take a look at my website” message is not appropriate for our gallery. It actually puts us off and we assume that the artist is unprofessional. We will look at websites of artists we are interested in, but only after they have gotten our attention with a few well selected images.

    While we are at it, please recommend that artists edit their resumes to just the pertinent information. We realize that someone may have worked hard and long for that degree in law, but it is not relevant to us as a gallery looking at artists. It actually communicates that you are NOT committed to being an artist. We don’t care what the artist does to make money, but unless it is art related, it detracts from the artist as an art professional and should not be included on an artists resume.

  • Great newsletter Alyson, artists should always be professional. I have never cold called a gallery to ask about their submission process, because I feel I could be interrupting client communications or other gallery business. If the submission guidelines aren’t posted on their website, and I think my work is suitable, I will send a query email asking the gallery director if they are currently accepting artist submissions and if so, what submission materials they prefer. I always include a link to my website, if they want to go ahead and click through to see my work. By using email, they can answer my request when it is convenient for them.

  • Philip: Yes! That is so true. “No doesn’t always mean No.” Another reason NOT to ask them if they are accepting submissions–only ask them what they’re preferences are. Of course, they can always add the No Thanks in there, but at least you don’t give them an open.

    Diana: Thank you! I’m so glad that The Relatively Pain-Free Artist Statement has been helpful for you.

    Curious Matter: I, too, receive those emails. Aren’t they rude?! It’s like they need to take Manners 101.

    Amen to the editing the résumé thing. Maybe a newsletter topic. Is there a length you prefer? If everything is pertinent, does it matter if it’s 10 pages long?

    Casey: I’d probably be with you. I like writing and emailing because I can get my words “just so” and that is how I prefer to be contacted.