How to Contact an Art Gallery

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:11
Reaching out to an art gallery isn't easy—it takes a lot of courage, confidence, and organization, as well as a strong sense of identity as an artist. Getting your art accepted into a gallery can rely on a lot of factors that may be...
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Reaching out to an art gallery isn’t easy—it takes a lot of courage, confidence, and organization, as well as a strong sense of identity as an artist. Getting your art accepted into a gallery can rely on a lot of factors that may be completely out of your control, but don’t give up! Proper preparation and a lot of dedication to your craft can go a long way in setting you apart from other artists. With some patience and an open mind, you can put your best foot forward while contacting an art gallery.

Part 1
Part 1 of 3:

Assembling Your Portfolio Materials

  1. Step 1 Arrange your recent...
    Arrange your recent art samples in a physical and digital portfolio. Collect some really high-quality pieces of art that you’ve completed in the past few weeks or months. Choose some artwork that really represents your identity and capabilities as an artist. Place any physical copies of your art in a sheet-protected binder that’s super easy to flip through. To go the extra mile, upload some of your artwork to a personal portfolio site.[1]
    • You can use simple, free site builders to create a portfolio website, like Wix or WordPress.
    • As an extra precaution, scan any physical drawings or non-digital art pieces to your computer so you have them on hand.
  2. Step 2 Draft an artist...
    Draft an artist statement that describes your focus. Think about the core elements of your art that really make it stand apart from other artists’ work. Write down the exact medium you work with, as well as the types of projects you like to create. As a finishing touch, shed some light into your creative process, like how you get from point A to point B. Ideally, you only want your artist statement to be between 100 and 300 words, since you’ll be including it in your portfolio materials.[2]
    • Basically, write down the “what,” “why,” and “how” of your artwork.
    • An artist statement is a great place to talk about your influences and inspirations.
    • For instance, you can say something like: “I’m a digital artist who uses wet medium brushes to create abstract watercolor portraits. My art encourages viewers to contemplate their identity so they can have a fulfilling journey while looking at my art. I like to paint the colors one at a time to give my art a sense of detachment.”
  3. Step 3 Include an introductory cover letter in your portfolio.
    Draft a brief but interesting letter that describes both you as an artist as well as your art style. Provide a brief, engaging explanation of why you’re reaching out to the gallery so the gallerist has a clear idea of what to expect from you.[3]
    • For instance, you can write something like:
      “To whom it may concern:
      I believe that art should tell a story—with this in mind, I’d like to share my story with you. My name is Jessica Simon, and I’m a freelance digital artist who’s trying to find a place in the world. For many years, I’ve admired the sense of identity that your art gallery has, and I would love to be a part of it.”
  4. Step 4 Establish a typical price range for your artwork.
    Think about what you usually sell your artwork for, or what your commission rates usually are. Draft a price list of the different commissions and art styles you usually offer to clients. Mention the dimensions of each art piece as you figure out the pricing.[4]
    • For instance, you can list digital, flat color portraits for $60, cell shaded portraits for $90, and digital paintings for $120.
    • Specify the exact medium for each item on your price list.
  5. Step 5 Write a biography to give to the gallery.
    Draft a short paragraph that describes your background as an artist, as well as your biggest accomplishments. Talk about some of your most well-known exhibits, along with any other important information. Try to keep this around 1 paragraph, if you can.[5]
    • You can include your biography on the same page as your artist statement.
    • For instance, you can write something like: “My name is Claire Murphy, and I have been studying digital art for over 10 years. I graduated magna cum laude from the Pratt Institute, where my work received numerous accolades.”
  6. Step 6 Create a CV with your professional capabilities.
    List any formal art education you have on your CV, along with any special awards you’ve received through the years. Mention any exhibits you’ve been a part of, along with any publications that printed your art. If you’ve displayed your art at a gallery before, list this on your CV as well.[6]
    • For example, you can include a list of your most well-known art pieces, as well as any accolades you’ve received for your work.
  7. Step 7 Design a social media profile so you can get a following.
    Artists with a big following are more likely to be taken seriously by gallerists. Encourage your followers and supporters to join a mailing list, or to support a social media account dedicated to your art.[7]
    • If you have a large following, you may be able to bring a lot of foot traffic to the gallery.
    • List any big social media pages you have on your CV, if you’d like.
    • You can also gain a large following on an art website or blog.
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Part 2
Part 2 of 3:

Interacting with Galleries

  1. Step 1 Search for art galleries in your area that match your style.
    Look online for galleries within a reasonable distance from you. Peruse their website to see what kinds of art they tend to display. If your creative identity doesn’t mesh well with the gallery’s artistic preferences, you may want to take your business somewhere else.[8]
    • For instance, if you create a lot of abstract paintings, you won’t want to submit your art to a gallery that sells realistic landscape paintings.
    • Some galleries may not have their works posted online. In this case, you may want to scope out the business in person.
  2. Step 2 Send a basic email if you want to introduce yourself.
    Draft a brief, engaging email that gives the gallery a little background about yourself as an artist, as well as your own interests in the gallery. Try to make your email as personalized as possible, so your query stands out from other artists.[9]
    • For instance, you can say something like this:
      ”Greetings! My name is Andrew Nelson, and I’ve been making oil paintings for the past 5 years. I truly admire the solid sense of identity that this gallery has in their oil paintings, and I’d love to schedule an appointment with you.”
    • This type of communication is pretty risky, since a lot of galleries don’t like being cold called by prospective artists. If you choose to reach out to a gallerist this way, make sure your message is very clear and to-the-point.[10]
  3. Step 3 Join the gallery’s mailing list if they have one.
    Check online or visit the art gallery in person to see if the establishment has an email list you can sign up for. This small gesture shows the gallery that you’re interested in developing a relationship with them, and that you’re really invested in the gallery’s future.[11]
    • Use your professional email when signing up for any mailing list so you can stay really organized. You don’t want work-related emails going to your personal inbox!

    Tip: Social media is another great place to stay up-to-date with an art gallery. You can also engage by commenting on their posts and updates!

  4. Step 4 Attend the gallery’s events to develop a relationship.
    Check the gallery’s calendar to see if they have any exhibits or other events in the coming weeks and months. Make an effort to attend these events and speak with the gallery owners and curators. Don’t focus on selling yourself as an artist—instead, focus on developing a positive, friendly relationship with these people.[12]
    • It’s a lot easier to get your foot in the door if you’re on good terms with the gallerists.
    • For instance, you can introduce yourself to a gallerist like this: “Hello! Thank you so much for hosting everyone here tonight. My name is Sarah Marshall, and I’m a really big fan of the gallery. Do you have any favorites in the collection here?”
  5. Step 5 Hand out business cards that provide an overview of your skills.
    Print out a set of distinct, stylish business cards that really match your identity as an artist. Place a logo or your initials on the card, as well as your email, portfolio website, phone number, and any other contact information. Hand these out to any casual, professional acquaintances that you run into—it may help you stand out from the crowd![13]
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Part 3
Part 3 of 3:

Submitting Your Work

  1. Step 1 Read the gallery’s submission criteria before sending in your art.
    Check online and ask in person to see what materials you need to submit the gallerists. There’s no hard and fast rule for this application process—some gallerists prefer hard copies of your portfolio, while others may prefer something more digital. Double-check the exact submission requirements before sending your work in.[14]
    • Don’t try to be an overachiever! If a gallery asks for 15 samples, just send 15. They’re probably getting a lot of applications, and don’t have time to look through 50 different samples of your art.
    • Some galleries may not have submissions open. If this is the case, respect their wishes and don’t send in any unsolicited art samples.
  2. Step 2 Ask if you can schedule an appointment with a gallerist.
    Call or visit the gallery in person and ask to speak with a gallerist. Express your interest in working with the gallery, and ask if you can meet with them to discuss possible opportunities. [15]
    • For instance, you can say something like: “Good morning! Do you accept in-person appointments for prospective gallery artists?”
    • Even if the gallerists aren’t willing to meet with you, they may suggest some galleries that are looking for new talent.
  3. Step 3 Give a 20-minute presentation that describes your art process.
    Don’t waste your appointment time with small talk! Instead, discuss your identity as an artist, along with the creative process that you use. If you’re working on a collection or series, describe your plans for it.[16]
    • For example, you can say something like: “I’m currently working on an abstract portrait series that represents each horoscope sign. These paintings represent a collective sense of human identity, and I hope to be finished with them within the next 2 months.”
    • You can really set your presentation apart by offering the gallerist small refreshments.
  4. Step 4 Show recent samples of your art with an updated portfolio.
    Only include artwork that you’ve made within the past few weeks or months, whether you’re submitting your portfolio to the gallery or presenting it during an in-person appointment. Gallerists want to see what you’re capable of now, not what you were working on 6 years ago.[17]
    • If you don’t have any recent art, galleries probably won’t want to work with you.
  5. Step 5 Pay the required commission fees if you’re accepted in a gallery.
    Keep in mind that most galleries will pocket at least 40% of your art’s commission. Don’t make a fuss about this or try to increase your selling prices—consider the commission payment as a price for exposure.[18]
    • Don’t try to raise your prices after hearing the gallery’s commission costs, as this is pretty unprofessional.
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  • Don’t make any assumptions when speaking with a gallerist. Acting like you know what’s best for a gallery will probably come as a turn-off, and won’t positively set you apart from other artists.[21]
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