How To Keep In Touch with Gallery Owners
Hi, Dr. Maisel, I’m lucky enough to be represented in a few galleries but they are all very far away from my hometown. How can I maintain good contact with them from such a great distance? — Laura L
Thanks, Laura. I know exactly what you mean! Virtually no one I work with in my capacity as a writer, creativity coach, and trainer of creativity coaches lives near me. The coaches I train reside in places like England, Hong Kong, and Australia. My clients are in similarly far-flung places. My nearest publisher is fifty miles away; my furthest, many thousands of miles; my literary agent, on the other side of the continent.
There is nothing the least bit unusual about this nowadays. If you are fortunate enough to have created relationships in the arts’ marketplace, it is entirely likely that many of those relationships—with gallery owners, collectors, supportive peers, and so on—will be long-distance ones.
It is naturally smart and rewarding to cultivate local relationships. But it is equally smart and rewarding to fashion distant relationships. Once fashioned, though, what are the best ways to maintain them? If you live in Topeka, you can’t drop in on your Manhattan gallery representative on a weekly basis. (Nor, to be frank about it, would your representative want you to drop in that often). If you can’t maintain a friendly physical presence, what are the next best options?
The very best option is the brief check-in email. Don’t burden folks with lengthy emails full of news, questions, or requests; instead, check in frequently (say, monthly) with a brief note that reads something like the following: “Hi, Mary! Just wanted to see how the three new paintings are doing. Are people responding to them?” An email of this sort allows Mary to reply with a simple “People are loving them and I’m sure we’ll sell one soon!”; it allows her to pass along news that she might otherwise not have bothered sharing; it opens the door to a conversation the both of you know was due; and it puts you back in Mary’s mind, exactly where you want to be. You don’t have to wait for “new news” (for instance, the completion of your latest painting) before penning check-in emails of this sort. They are not mini-press releases but the equivalent of “Hi, how are things going?”