For Artists: How To Be Successful When Working With An Art Gallery

Why should you exhibit in a gallery?

Being featured in an art gallery is beneficial to artists in many ways. Not only can it build your CV and portfolio, but it can also gain you more exposure for your work. In addition, it can gain you relationships with galleries and their staff, other artists, and the visitors that view your art and could potentially purchase it.

What is a call to artists?

A “call for artists” is a request from a gallery (or other organization) for artists to submit artwork for a particular exhibition, event, etc. They could be hosting a solo show for an individual artist, a group show featuring multiple artists and/or mediums, or even a curated exhibition with a theme. It is important to always remain aware of calls in case your work suits the application guidelines.

How do I find the calls?

Arts organization sites typically host calls. These can include (but are not limited to) arts councils, art galleries, and other various arts resource sites (i.e. Creative Many or Michigan Art Guide). Know your local and statewide galleries, museums, businesses, and more to watch for calls.

Why are the details important?

It is crucial to pay attention to the guidelines calls provide to you. Typically, they will ask for a well written, concise, and edited artist statement with photos of your work. They will also provide you with framing guidelines and timelines. Before submitting your proposal, research the gallery, read the call carefully, submit your carefully written artist statement, and make sure to submit well-cropped, high-quality images of your artwork(s) with appropriate names.

Framing and presentation guidelines are also crucial to your success when submitting artwork. Stay with neutral frames that hang by a wire, as that is typically the standard for the industry (if not, the call will specify). Proper framing will show your work well by complimenting it, and it may also aid in keeping your work safe during travel, installation, the exhibition/show, and de-installation.

What is commission?

Commission means that the gallery retains a portion of the profit when a work of art is sold. Galleries also undertake the responsibility and expense of the professional staff involved in curating the exhibition, the marketing, the reception(s), lighting, security, supplementary educational opportunities, and anything else surrounding their exhibitions and sales spaces. The gallery is the market, and they sell your work on your behalf, hence the commission collected when work is sold. Many types of galleries exist: cooperative galleries, non-profit galleries, commercial galleries, online galleries, and more.

“There are many opportunities available for artists in traditional and non-traditional spaces; each offering specific benefits to the artist. Whichever space you choose it is important to work with art professionals who understand the market and how to care for and install work. The right gallery or space for you will celebrate your work and show it to the best of its ability.” – Katrina M. Daniels, Exhibitions and Gallery Sales Director

For additional information, please contact:
Katrina M Daniels
Exhibitions & Gallery Sales Director

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