For many artists, finding the right gallery to represent you and your art can be an intimidating process. But the reality is this, unless the galleries are knocking at your door, you are going to have to go knock on theirs!

Read the following helpful ideas, and get prepared to sell yourself.

Keep in mind, there is a common problem among creatives – not all visual artists have natural sales ability. In fact, many artists are rather shy when it comes to selling. This is actually the main reason why artists need art gallery representation in the first place!

So what does one do?

Below is an important check-list with questions and ideas to help you prepare yourself to find art gallery representation:

Step 1: Get Real and Ask Yourself these Questions…

  • Am I ready to sell myself to a gallery?
  • Is my art saleable?
  • Is my art technically good?
  • Have I developed a recognizable style?
  • Do I have a cohesive body of work ready to display?
  • Have I had success selling my work in art/craft shows, out of my studio and other non-gallery venues?
  • Do I have the time to fulfill the supply & demand of a gallery?
  • Do I have a website/blog that showcases my art and information? (This is not a must, but highly suggested)
  • Do I have a portfolio, biobio, and resume & artist statement?
    • If the answers are yes– you might be ready to take the next step toward finding the right gallery.
    • If the answer is no don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position.

“Approaching a gallery before you are ready is kind of like putting a gangly teenager in modeling school. It won’t help your self-esteem and it most likely will bruise your ego.” 

Step 2: Find Your ‘Target Gallery’…

  • Do-your-homework and think about where your artwork belongs in the art market. This is easy to do and you can start from home.
  • Flip through art magazines and look at gallery ads and the artists they represent.
  • Check out gallery websites and see if your work would be a good fit for them.
  • Talk to fellow artists and have them suggest galleries to you.
  • If you paint wildlife paintings I don’t advise approaching a gallery that specializes in abstract art.

Although on occasion, this might even workI approached a gallery that mainly represented fine art glass vessels, their walls were basically bare. I showed them my still life paintings and pitched doing a series of paintings with glass vases. They loved the idea and became an important gallery for me!

  • Observe the gallery through the eyes of a collector, not as an artist.
  • Watch and see how the staff greets and treats you. Are they courteous and professional?
  • Walk through the gallery and scan the art, look how it is hung and check the lighting.
  • Ask for a price sheet if available. See if your prices are within their price range.
  • Be sure and get references on the gallery from other artists. (If I am not familiar with the gallery’s reputation, I always call a few of the artists in their ‘stable’ as a referral. Be sure and ask if the gallery pays their artists in a timely fashion!)
  • Try and visualize your art hanging in the gallery and see how it compares in quality to their other artists.
  • Searching for the right gallery is a process of elimination.
  • The more galleries you visit and research, the more informed you will be about making the right choice.

Okay, you have a short list of ‘target galleries’ that are a good match.  Now what?
Step 3: Do Your Homework BEFORE You Approach Your ‘Target Gallery’.

  • A successful gallery with a good reputation gets inundated with dozens of artists’ submissions each week.
  • An artist must do his or her best to stand out from the crowd.
  • Do your homework about the gallery’s ‘artist submission policy’ and follow their guidelines. You can usually find this on their website.
  • Many galleries, especially within the high-end fine art market have specific submission requirements and policies. Which means, usually artists must submit work for review.
  • Or…you can be a rebel, take your chances and do it your own way! (more helpful ideas about this in an upcoming post.)

If you follow check-list above, you will feel well prepared to approach your ‘target gallery’ and art gallery representation with confidence and good salesmanship. And remember, you are an expert about your product – because your product is YOU!

Thanks for the visit, ~Lori 🙂


Please stayed tuned. In the next article I will explain my 7 creative ways to approach an art gallery for representation!

Meanwhile, I highly recommend the articles below:
How to Overcome 3 Barriers to Success as an Artist
Three Tips for Artists to Promote Themselves and Their Galleries
Should Artists Work with Galleries, Go to Direct to Collectors of Both?
How to Write a Bio that Gets Read

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