Unless you have already made a name for yourself, your best bet for being “discovered” as an artist is to get your work featured in a gallery. What you may not realize is that there is a science, a plan, that successful artists follow in terms of what kind of art they show in galleries and which galleries they choose. If you are just getting started in the art business you may not have the luxury of choosing, but there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of being picked up by a gallery.
How to Get Featured in a Gallery
Many people do not realize that many of the artists that end up having their art featured in a gallery are not somehow magically “discovered” – they actually contact individual galleries, applying in a way for the right to be featured. Art galleries are constantly being faced with a deluge of requests from hopeful artists so you need to make not only your art, but your application stand out. Here are some tips:
• Don’t forget to provide information about yourself – a little bit of back story can go a long way! A gallery isn’t interested just in your art, they also want to know about you and what inspired you to create it so the art actually tells a story.
• Do your research in choosing which galleries to contact and be sure to tell them WHY you have chosen that gallery. What makes your art a good fit for the gallery and why should they take the time to seriously consider your work?
• Pay attention to any submission guidelines the gallery may have in place – the last thing you want to do is waste time crafting an application just to be rejected based on a technicality.
• Provide the right kind of information about your work – particularly your recent work and current projects. You do not by any means need to provide the complete history of your work (nor should you) but talk about how you got where you are and why your current work would fit well with the type of art the gallery tends to feature.
• Don’t forget to include practical information such as how many pieces you currently have available to show, how many you plan to complete and how long it will take, and how many pieces you currently have for sale. You should also include dimensions, price ranges, etc.
• Take the time to present your work properly – don’t just provide a link to your online portfolio and expect the gallery to take the time to look at everything. Give a brief explanation of what your art is about and provide a context for viewing your primary pieces in a particular order.
Having your art featured in a gallery is a major step in an artist’s career but it is not a goal that can be accomplished without a great deal of time and planning. If you are serious about putting your work out there, do the work necessary to find the perfect galleries to feature your work and be intentional about how you contact them and what kind of information you provide.
Each time you contact a gallery it is like you are applying for a job – you must tell the gallery what makes you valuable to them and how your work will fit in with the other artists they feature. It will take time to learn how to contact galleries appropriately in order to receive a response, so don’t give up!