Within the last decade, the methods artists must take to be noticed by galleries has changed significantly. Through the advent and exponential growth of web-based and social technologies, the art world has become a global marketplace operating twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
With such vast windows of communication and commerce open and available to both artists and galleries, the paradigm of propositioning one another has greatly changed.
In this evolving landscape, how can artists get noticed by a gallery? And, what is the best way to approach them now?
We talked with gallerist Erica Berkowitz of Haven Art Gallery in Long Island to get a gallery owner’s perspective on what works. Here are her top 7 tips:
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Online Footprint
Web presence is extremely important in getting noticed and considered by galleries. The more online appearances you have, the better the SEO visibility and overall chance of being seen.
Websites are Still Relevant
Make sure yours is clean-cut and updated with your most recent body of work, relevant links, and C.V.
Maximize Social Media Channels
Social media is still mostly free and serves as a living, breathing archive of your work. Remain active on all channels by posting, engaging with your audience, using hashtags, and being consistent with your posting times.
Remember: This is one of your digital storefronts. Professionalism is of the utmost importance.
Keep Your Pricing Consistent
Do not expect a gallery to be pleased if they find out that you have doubled your prices to cover the the cost of their commission. The financial sacrifices of taking a hit on your commission will contribute to the greater exposure and overall growth of your career and marketplace as an artist.
Reach Out to Press
Many online art blogs and art pages on social media have open submission policies. Take the time to follow their submission guidelines, too. Many of these online art forums have a large readership and you never know who could be following the blog. The reach you may obtain through their features could become exponential.
Work With Other Galleries
Most galleries watch their peers and competitors. If you can’t get your dream gallery to reply to your submission, take alternative approaches to be seen by them.
There are plenty of galleries out there who focus on young and emerging artists!
Keep Honing Your Skills
If galleries are not a present option, look into commission work, take classes, or spend some time creating for yourself. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reaching that next level.
Image courtesy of Haven Gallery
You got their attention … now what? What is the best way to approach galleries?
Most galleries will not accept unannounced visits from artists, nor will they always offer portfolio reviews. Make sure to do your research.
Before approaching galleries in their spaces, find out if they are accepting submissions and if they are, verify if they conduct in-person portfolio reviews and if they do, schedule an appointment.
Galleries are fast-paced environments with packed schedules. Do not mistake being turned away in person as an insult but instead a reflection of the busyness of the gallery.
Check their site for their submission policies. Galleries typically have a submissions section on their website. Check their “About” and “Contact” pages for this information.
Another great way to grab the attention of your dream gallery? Present yourself professionally with Artwork Archive. Get inventory, consignment reports, and invoices with the click of a button.
Erica Berkowitz is a co-owner of Haven Gallery in Long Island, New York. She has her Master’s Degree in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and has worked locally on Long Island at the Nassau County Museum of Art and the Islip Art Museum. Most recently, she left her position as Director of Last Rites Gallery in NYC for nearly three years to open up her own gallery space. Prior to Directing at Last Rites, she was the Director of Press and Publications at Forum Gallery. She has been working in the art world for over eight years and is also a self-published author. Along with her husband, she has been collecting art for nearly a decade.