Ways & How

How to Get Your Art in a Local Gallery

How to Get Your Art in a Local Gallery

You’ve probably been creating artwork for some time now, and both you and your friends know that your art is amazing. You have a lot of pieces in your portfolio and want to get to the next level. So what now? To make it from starving artist to thriving artist, learn how to get your art in a local gallery. Though the thought of approaching a gallery can be a bit terrifying, especially if it’s your first time, the tips below will walk you through the process and help you successfully get your art into a local exhibition.

  1. Consider the different types of galleries. Research local galleries and identify which among them would be the best avenue to displaying your work. Do not send your portfolio to every gallery you see. Find out crucial information about each gallery, such as the type and medium of art they usually exhibit, the preferences of the art curator, their reputation, and how well they advertise and sell art pieces.

  2. Decide which galleries to target. Before sending in your portfolio, first assess each of the potential galleries.

    sk yourself questions like: Does the gallery showcase only art from famous painters? Is your art skill and portfolio at the same level as the art they sell? Honestly evaluate if your work has a chance of being accepted. This piece of advice is not to discourage you, but to simply remind you that you have to be realistic to have a higher chance of getting your work exhibited.

  3. To send or not to send? Now that you’ve decided which galleries are more likely to display your work, the natural process would be to immediately contact them, get an appointment, and send them a portfolio. This method, however, usually has a higher chance of rejection. Each gallery receives a lot of calls and portfolios, and they usually do not have time to go over each artist’s work one by one. Another reason is that they may already be satisfied with the work from current artists and are not actively looking for new art to display. You may initially contact them and ask for their submission policies and requirements, and even go as far as asking for an appointment. Some galleries may give you information, but some go straight to the point and tell you that they are not currently reviewing any portfolios. So, a good tip is to hold off sending in your portfolio.

  4. Do some networking. Connections can get you places, and an exhibit at an art gallery may be one of them. In the art business, referrals are valuable, especially if they come from reputable artists. Look up artists connected with the gallery. If you know any of them personally, even as an acquaintance, consider approaching the person. If you don’t know any of the artists personally, take some time getting to know at least one of them. Try to find a way to connect with master artists. Attend workshops, ask for critiques, or look for any possible way to get to know them more. You can also look up connections; maybe someone you know knows them personally, or maybe you know someone interested in their work. You may also do an artist a favor by referring possible buyers to their work. Drop them a call and tell them about a potential client. Whatever the possible links may be, act on them and use them to make acquaintances and connections.

  5. Ask about the gallery you’re targeting. Now that you’ve developed connections at least one of the artists from your target gallery, ask them about the gallery. How long have they been with the gallery? Does the gallery have a good reputation? Does the gallery treat their artists fairly? These questions also allow you to get to know the gallery more and help decide if you really want to work with them. Your artist friend may also share some inside tips on getting your work exhibited.

  6. Ask your friend’s opinion about your work. Ask them to provide an honest appraisal of your work and the chances that it might be displayed in the gallery. If they think your work is good enough, they may even volunteer to tell the gallery about your art. If they don’t think your work is good enough, evaluate your art and be humble enough to ask for some tips. You can still go ahead with submitting your work to the gallery even if your friend doesn’t agree, although you won’t have the advantage of their referral.

  7. Ask for a referral. If your artist connection responds positively to your work, you may then follow-up by casually asking if they could refer your name to the gallery. If your friend agrees, you now have a high chance of getting accepted. You and your friend would then need to carefully time the referral so that the gallery is not too busy and able to give you time and attention. Once your friend refers you, you can be sure that the gallery is expecting your portfolio. All you need to do is send it in, and wait for them to call.

  8. Look for ways to have them see your work. Aside from the process above where you score a referral, there are alternatives. Among these are looking up locations where you can casually “bump” into the gallery curator or owner while having some of your work on hand. Some examples are other art shows, shows hosted by the gallery, framing shops the gallery works with, or other similar avenues where you can be sure to instantly show the best artwork you have.

The tips above on how to get your art in a local gallery can be quite useful, especially for artists who are starting out. Mastering the skill of connecting with people and doing serious research on local galleries and their curators can pave the way for your art to get noticed. All in all, be persistent and your efforts will soon be worth it once you get to exhibit your work in a good art gallery.


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