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Grey Cross Studios
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Let the Gallery Handle It

We take a lot of things for granted when a gallery handles a showing of our art. I discuss the negative aspects of the gallery system and how it is failing emerging and unknown artists. But lets talk about some of the positive things a gallery does.

We count on the gallery having an A List of potential buyers of our work. But there is a lot more that goes into doing a showing.
Lets look at something that may sound simple. "Transportation". 

In a show without gallery support we must consider the following problems. How the art will be transported safely from point A to point B. Do artists coming in from out of town have transportation to the airport? Can they get to the show venue? Is there sufficient parking for visitors at the venue? Do you need a truck? Do you need special materials such as blankets to protect the art or special boxes for transporting?

These are all questions which face an artist who is putting on their own show without the help of a gallery.

Other issues include things such as is there food at the venue? Is there liquor or beverages of any type? Is there music? If so are there speakers? How are they placed to get the best sound? Are there print invitations? Are there e-vites? Have your closest friends and associates received invites? How is the art lit? Do you need additional lighting? Is their wall space? How are things hung on that wall space? Do you have enough easels? Do you even need easels? Do you have a photographer to document the show? Do you need a press release? Do you need advanced advertising on radio or TV?

These are just a few of the dozens of questions that face an artist who is trying to put on their own show without gallery support? Its no small surprise that many artists DO NOT put on their own shows and hope and pray for a gallery to take them on. 

And I've not even mentioned your own personal role as the "artist". Is your work ready to be transported? Has it been cleaned? Do you have signage ready for it? Do you understand the best way to display it? 

There are issues even in the small things, like what are you wearing to your own show? What are you going to say to your guests? How do you personify your art so that its personal to potential buyers? What do you or even more important what don't you say to your guests that make them want to buy?

But there are advantages also. Pulling off a show based on your own specifications is intensely satisfying. Its almost like building your own frame and canvas for your art. You've done it all! You've put every creative piece together. If done the right mindset it can almost be like creating a large piece of art using all the small pieces to create the whole. Or it can be a nightmare.

But we should not take the role a gallery plays lightly. The details are many and whether we are doing it ourselves or with the help of a gallery or just close friends, we have to rely on others to make it work successfully. We should never forget that. Don't try to do it all alone. You'll lose your mind. If you do not have a gallery at hand then find those who can help in small ways and like a ring leader pull it all together with your own creative energy. 

The role of galleries may be disappearing, but the details are not. Don't get discouraged if you must put on your own show, but consider carefully how to make it as professional as possible. 

This is the new world of the artist we are living in. I don't think its any easier or harder than it was for artists that came before us, but it is different. We have different priorities and we must consider every detail if we want our art to look its best.

Start small. Put on a cocktail party for select guests. Work your way up to a major event. Don't try to do it all at once or you will lose your mind. But it can be done with planning and logistics. 


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