There’s no one formula that will guarantee your entry into any gallery, but there are a few steps you can take to make the path a bit easier.
– Painter, Chicago, IL
The first step is to do your research. Take a look at galleries that interest you. Does your work fit in with their current roster of artists? Do you have anything in common with their other artists in terms of style, medium, career stage, and price range? If the answer to all of the above is ‘yes,’ then you can move on to the next step where you visit the gallery website, find out their submission policy, and send your beautifully designed informational packet.
That said, in my experience, the easiest way to get your work into a gallery is to be introduced to the gallery’s director by one of the artists that’s already working with that space. Get on the gallery mailing list and start going to their openings. Add the gallery to your mailing list (This means your snail mail, postcard invite mailing list. Never add a gallery to your e-mail list without permission!) Introduce yourself—not only to the gallery director, but also to the other artists who work with the gallery. Once you’ve spent time getting to know the workings of the gallery, the director, and the gallery’s artists, then you might go about asking the director if they’d be interested in looking at your work.
If this whole process sounds a bit like a dating ritual, that’s because in some ways, it is. Essentially, when you sign a contract with a gallery, you’re entering into a complex business relationship that involves plenty of risks for both parties. When viewed from this perspective, clearly, a bit of “courting” is in order.
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Subject Line: Fresh Rx