How to Professionally approach a gallery
Are you ready?
• Is your work ready for display?
• Is the body of work cohesive?
• Do you have your resume, statement, and bio prepared?
• Do you have high-resolution shots of your work ready for press?
Look for galleries that exhibit artists like you.
• Research different spaces and look at their past exhibits. • Do they exhibit emerging artists or students?
• Look for annual exhibition proposal calls.
• Apply for group shows.
• Many galleries plan exhibitions 6 months to 2 years in advance.
Do you have financial resources?
• Exhibitions take up a lot of time and money with no certain return. Prepare a budget for the exhibition or look for grants that assist with these expenses.
• Check to see if the gallery covers shipping or if the artist is responsible?
• Entry fees can get costly; decide if the opportunity is worth the expense.
What galleries do you visit regularly?
• Go to openings and network!
• Build a relationship with the director or curator, if you haven’t already.
• Tell the organization you like what they do and ask how you can get involved. • Be aware of local calls for proposals.
Having trouble finding a space for your show?
• Be unconventional and think of other spaces where your art can exist. Does a gallery space really fit your work, or could you display outside a business, within local business, etc.?
Where can you go?
• Start with your hometown.
• Use Google maps to search galleries in other cities and save them in your favorite places while logged in to your Gmail.
• Collect galleries guides from other cities.
• See where your peers, other alumni and favorite artists exhibit.
Information you should provide every gallery. Electronically is preferred:
• Who you are, what you want to show, why is would work for the gallery, and how to contact you in the future
The world is small.
The art world is even smaller.
• Follow up in a professional and friendly way
• Promptness is important. Always keep your word and stick to your budget and schedule.
• Act like you know what you are doing, if you have questions, bounce them off others before hand
• One connection or exhibition can lead to future opportunities • Someone might know someone you want to know
• Deal with rejection in a healthy way and know that your work may not be a good fit for the gallery at the time.
Contracts and Agreements
• Always have a written agreement with the gallery. It can be as complicated or simple as you like. Most galleries will provide one, but if they do not, talk about arranging some agreements to protect your work such as payment and return of work timeline.
• Double check to see what the gallery will provide and what you are responsible for contributing such as shipping arrangements, insurance and press materials.
• Ask what is the consignment % agreement between the gallery and artist, 50/50, 60/40?
• Keep your own records
• Provide detailed instructions for installation. Make it as easy as possible for the gallery to install and de-install