Agora Gallery reviews the best way to get accepted by a gallery
Even in the age of the internet, when artists can display and promote their works in a huge number of ways, the role of bricks-and-mortar galleries like Agora Gallery is still an important one. It helps artists to achieve a level of legitimacy and a sense of being established in the art world that can be beneficial both to their self-confidence and to their career.
Therefore, the process which artists go through to get their work shown in a gallery is worth thinking over. There are some artists in the world who are so famous that almost any gallery would be happy to show their work, but there are very few of them. Most professional artists have to present themselves to prospective galleries such as Agora Gallery carefully. Often, this will be the first time they have heard of you or seen your work, so the impression they get matters.
Agora Gallery offers advice on portfolio submission
Research is a vital factor in getting that first impression right. It’s easy to find out about most galleries you’re interested in applying to — visit their websites, read their promotional material, speak to anyone you know who has a connection with them. Work out if your work might be suitable for them. If it’s obviously not a good match — if they only show oils and you work in watercolour, for example — then don’t apply. Many galleries, including Agora Gallery, work in a range of mediums and styles, but it’s worth checking in advance.
Similarly, if you work in a number of media, sit down to decide which is best to show the gallery. If you think two or more would be suitable, try one first. If it’s not successful, you can send in the others. Don’t confuse the submission by trying to present all your kinds of works. Angela Di Bello, the director of Agora Gallery, reviews many portfolios and she finds she gets the strongest impression of an artist’s style and approach when they have submitted a consistent body of work.
If you have a contact at the gallery — one of the assistants there, perhaps, or an artist who has shown there in the past – it’s worth trying to get in contact through them. While your work will ultimately have to stand on its own merits, an initial personal touch like that can make a difference.
Remember that a gallery is a business. If you already have a reliable customer base, they will be interested in hearing about that. If you have made sales all over the world and are held in international collections, or have won a prestigious award, that is relevant information. Don’t be modest at the wrong time; it’s important to share this sort of detail.
Sometimes a gallery owner or director might approach you at an art fair or some similar event and express interest in your work. If this happens, make sure to react in a friendly and approachable way, and to get the contact details of the person who’s talking to you. Follow up soon after the first meeting while the details are still clear in their mind.