Guest blogger: Ruth Soller
Does the idea of approaching a gallery make you tremble in your boots? I feel your fear!
Here is a process that has earned representation for me in two new galleries this year – alongside nationally known artists.
I begin my search in art magazines such as Southwest Art, Art of the West, and Western Art Collector. These are the gold standard for my market. Yours might be different.
I study gallery websites, noting artists represented, preferred art style and subject matter, and content of current and past shows.
After narrowing my search to galleries in which I think my art will fit, I visit galleries in my local market.
My goal of each visit is to see how the gallery owner and staff treat potential customers.
- Do they greet each client personally?
- Do they initiate a conversation?
- Are they knowledgeable about the artists and art history?
- Are the prices in the gallery in line with my pricing?
- What framing styles does the gallery prefer?
- Would I like to work with this person?
Before traveling to an art show or leaving on vacation, I study galleries in the area and select one or two to visit. While there, I pick up a business card of the gallery owner or director for future contact (#4).
I prepare for a gallery presentation by cleaning my frames, labeling and packing my artworks.
I print a two-page resume, an artist statement, and a price list to leave with the owner if my work is accepted.
I outline and practice answers to typical questions such as:
- What do you know about our gallery?
- Why do you think your work is a fit?
- What do you expect from a gallery?
- What do you offer for the gallery?
After my research and reconnaissance, I have my target galleries in sight.
I phone the gallery to introduce myself and request a meeting with the owner to show my work.
I respect the gallery owner’s space and time during our initial meeting.
I ask questions to clarify aspects of the partnership between the gallery and the artists such as their artistic vision, show schedules, advertising and promotions, inventory methods, artist payment schedules, receptions.
After I leave the gallery, I make notes of what I learned in order to aid my memory.
I make notes of any promises I made in order to follow up promptly.
When I find a match, I rejoice. I know I worked hard and take time out to celebrate this new business partnership.
Most artists can’t make a living from one or two galleries. I’ll keep repeating this as often as needed to achieve my goals.
What has worked for you?
About Our Guest Blogger
Ruth Soller paints the western landscape in a magical style pronounced by intensified hues, symbolic motifs, and dramatic value contrasts. You can see a video of a recent solo exhibit of her work on the home page of her website.