Recently, a couple of questions from readers have asked whether a certain gallery or craft show was a good fit for their work.
Here is a sample letter (below). I took out the name of the gallery to avoid any potential embarrassment.
Have you heard of a gallery called (fill in the blank ____)? It is a downtown gallery that specializes in sculpture and paintings. But who knows about places one has never seen or been to. I'd appreciate any information you could give me about it, and if you have even ever heard of it. Thanks so much for your time.
I've never heard of this "gallery" but after looking them up online, with just a quick view, it is not what could be called a Gallery with a big "G". It is a tourist store at best. Admittedly, I am biased towards galleries with a big "G", so don't let this stop you if your work is the appropriate media, subject matter, or price range for this venue.
If you still want to show your work at this venue, ask them for a few artists' names as recommendations or find some of the artists listed on their website and contact the artists for their opinions. (Facebook is really good for this sort of search.)
Ask the artists who show their work at this venue about their experience working with the store/gallery. Does this store/gallery really sell work? Do they pay on time? Do they offer discounts? (yuck) Do they return work promptly when asked? Do they have a good contract? Make sure you ask the store or gallery for their contract BEFORE sending any work.
This same approach as described in the above two paragraphs will work for any store, gallery, Gallery, or craft show. The time you invest in your advanced research will be worth it.
Recently I was approached by a very eager "seller" on 1stdibs.
The seller called several times. They wanted to sell my work on 1stdibs (which is a nice quality online site selling mostly antique to vintage objects and jewelry.) I was very complimented.....but wondered how I could possibly examine the situation more closely. The seller wanted me to reserve at least four items, did not ask for prices, and the work was supposed to be shipped to a United States address (not the client.)
I waited until my mind had a few minutes for clear thought.
My reply was very courteous and sincere. I asked for a link to their 1stdibs page, and for a list of artists they represented. In addition, I asked to see the contract that would represent our working relationship. The final question asked "Why would I ship to a United States address instead of directly to the client that made the purchase?
All of my questions were based on previous experience. How could I possibly sell work without having a clear definition of our working relationship? The enthusiasm and persistence of the caller was set aside for taking a few days to formulate an approach.
Guess what? I never heard from this person again.
This post was updated on February 5, 2022.