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A Day in the Life of a Gallery Director

A Day in the Life of a Gallery Director

Carolyn Edlund | ArtsyShark

Robert Patrick is currently the Director of Marketing and Wholesale (and in-house blogger) for Linda Jones Enterprises in California, dedicated to the art of legendary film creator Chuck Jones. Robert has a long history of curating and producing shows, tours and events, including 12 years as a very successful gallery director at the Walton Street Gallery in Chicago. Robert graciously agreed to an interview focused on what artists must know about galleries, collectors, selling, and making presentations.


Robert Patrick

AS: Could you describe a typical day for a gallery director?

RP: I would have to say that a gallery director never has a ‘typical day’, but I think there are certain processes and steps that a director may take each day that insures the viability of the business of an art gallery.

My day usually began the night before. Before leaving for the evening, I would clean off my desk and I would write a short to-do list for the following day, leaving it neatly centered on my desk. The next morning, on the trip into town, I would do a series of visualization exercises focusing on the items that I wanted to accomplish that day plus I always visualized selling a work of art. I encouraged my staff to do the same.

Once in the gallery, I would consult with the staff regarding their plans for the day, delegate tasks to the back of the house staff (assistants and registrar), and drink copious amounts of coffee (alright, maybe not copious, but at least a cup or two).

If we were planning a show, there would be press releases to write, invitations to design, envelopes to hand-address, catering/flowers to order, art to install (which usually entailed a complete overhaul of the gallery—walls would need spackling and painting, etc) and although the back of the house staff would do the work, it was my responsibility to see that it was done as directed and as needed for that particular exhibition. Along with exhibition planning, usually a few days before (or even the day of the reception) we would meet with the artist for an exhibition walk-through. This would be a time for the staff and I to have some one-on-one with the artist, able to probe and discover new ways of discussing their artwork with our collectors. It also gave the artist the opportunity to make any changes to the installation of the show.

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