The benefits of being represented by a gallery cannot be exhausted. However, if you don’t apply the right techniques- you will only end up wasting your time, and energy including other essential resources. At Arteasy Nigeria, we are focused on helping you grow, mature, and develop which led us to gather insights on how to be successful in approaching a gallery for representation or collaboration. 

The fundamental fact you need to know first of all is that walking into a gallery, without prior notice or awareness of such visits, to discuss your art piece is not going to work. Galleries will hardly react favorably to this, why? Maybe because some of them consider it forceful though you are only being determined. Not every one of them sees it that way but this step to step guide would bring in better results. 

  • Make A List Of Galleries

It is important to do a shortlist of galleries that represent artists who create your kind of art. The galleries should be a good fit for your work. Always consider the styles or medium before picking any gallery. This first step is essential to ensure that you don’t waste precious time on the second step. The idea is to prevent you from wasting resources on galleries that cannot represent you either because of your style of art or the fact that you are a new artist. 

  • Carry out a systematic investigation: 

Then you do serious research on the listed galleries. The purpose of doing research is to help you find out the galleries from your list that are receiving requests for [emerging] artists representation and the official process they have created to do that. Similarly, it could help you identify the gallery you might be thinking of reaching out to that doesn’t receive that kind of request at that particular time or at all. If you do your investigation well enough, you will be able to save time, energy, and focus your resources on the ones not interested in such discussions. 

  • Reach out to the gallery: 

If you discover the contacts of any of the galleries on your list who you have confirmed to be currently receiving such requests, contact them. Also, if after carrying out your research you don’t find any information about a gallery accepting representation from artists or not, the next thing to do is not to phone call or visit. It is more appropriate to send your message through and electronic mail or direct mail. 

Electronic mails are not really advisable because they can be quickly ignored or dismissed and links might not be opened by the gallerist or the right gallery staff who is supposed to see your message. Sending a direct mail to the gallery you have carefully chosen after research still has a high percentage that your letter and resume will be read, images received and seen by the gallerist.  

It is not advisable to contact a gallery after the representation entry has closed or they have clearly stated that they do not accept representations or when they do not represent artists in your category or medium. Remember, the focus is to save resources like time, energy, and money but use them strategically and smartly. 

  • Attend art fairs: 

When it comes to getting galleries to represent you, attend art fairs and events for reasons that include: 

  • Scanning multiple galleries easily under one roof
  • With the objective of finding one that showcases art in your style category
  • Note them down to possibly approach them after the fair has ended or better still
  • Get their contacts so you can email or mail them after the art fair. 

You need to understand that engaging galleries in discussions about representing you at their various booths during art fairs are another NO, NO. They paid substantial amounts of money for booths to attract likely buyers and befriend potential leads like collectors, investors, and patrons. Therefore, do not attend fairs to approach galleries.

Finally, you need to understand that galleries get so many requests for exhibition and representation by hundreds of artists like yourself probably every day. Since it is not practicable that they represent or exhibit all artists, you should not take their refusals for whatever reasons personally. If you follow the steps above and by staying committed you eventually get your opportunity to be represented and exhibited by a gallery. 

But never let the rejections cause you to become spiteful and less passionate, lose focus, become jealous or less confident. By remaining optimistic and patient your chance will come.  

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