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Secrets to Gallery Representation

Secrets to Gallery Representation

Amy Wilson


Attend the openings of the galleries you’re interested in. This is a great way to meet the staff in a situation where they are expecting visitors. It’s inappropriate to bring a portfolio or otherwise pitch your work during someone else’s opening; however, it’s perfectly fine to meet and chat with the people who are associated with the gallery and then follow up that conversation with an email the next day — but only if there was a significant connection. Openings are mainly social affairs; don’t expect to go to a friend’s opening and walk away with a show of your own. But you can use an opening as an opportunity to establish a friendly relationship with the gallery, and establish connections.



If at all possible, talk to artists who show at the gallery, as well as curators and others who do business with them. See if any of them would be interested in showing your work to the gallery, or if they have any advice. Often, these people are easier to approach than actual staff. Additionally, their opinions and recommendations are worth quite a lot to the gallery. Remember to be as polite and professional as you would to anyone working directly for the gallery.


A few “don’ts” to keep in mind:
1. Don’t send unsolicited slides or CDs, as they will most likely go straight in the garbage.
2. Don’t show up unannounced expecting someone to look at your portfolio.
3. Don’t “spam” the gallery with a million minor announcements – space out your correspondences and save them until you have something important.

Keep Going

It’s often hard to know when a gallery is checking out your work — they may be going to see a show when you’re not around, or taking a peek at your website. Sometimes the process of being represented can take years. But don’t fret! By following these steps and staying proactive and motivated in your artistic career, galleries to notice you before you know it.

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