by: Hookey Hamilton ~ Aviles Street Gallery

If you’re friends think you are good enough to be in a Gallery, and you aren’t sure if you are ready, here are some tips, pros and cons, and suggestions on how think about it, and possibly to go about it.
First things first. Take a critical look at your work. Think about what kind of Gallery you would like to be in, and that would fit your work. Is your art Realistic? Semi abstract? Abstract? A new form of art? Would it be a Consignment Gallery where you hang your work and leave it in the Gallery for them to sell ? Are you interested in a Co-Op Gallery, where you increase your percentage of your commission by working part time at the Gallery and selling your own work plus the work of the other member artists?
If you are outgoing and like people, think about a CoOp. If you are an “emerging artist”, go for a Co-Op in an emerging Gallery, maybe not one of the more established Galleries. Next, go to every single Galley where you live. In St Augustine that could be between 20 to 30, of them so take your time. You might want to jot down their names, and note whether you might be interested or not, from a 1 to a ten. If that sounds like the question your doctor asks you “What is your pain from one to ten?” that’s a good example. See which Galleries you feel comfortable in. Next, narrow it down to the top ten, and go back again. Look more carefully this time and ask yourself if you think you’d fit in and if your work would fit in?
Once you have that in mind, create a portfolio of your work in a notebook. NEVER GO IN AND SHOW THEM YOUR IMAGES ON YOUR PHONE! If you don’t have a portfolio, make one. If you don’t know how, find out by asking some really good artists in your field if you can see how they did their portfolios.
Here are some tips. I’d suggest no more than 20 images, each on 8 ½ “ by 11” blank pageof good quality.. Print only on one side; don’t distract by printing on both sides of each page. At the bottom, put the title. Simplify. Less is more. In the front inside page of the portfolio, put your name, address, telephone number and email address, plus your website if you have one.. This is a good “starting” portfolio.
Once you have your portfolio, call the Galleries you liked and felt most confortable in and ask for the contact information of the person who handles the interviewing. Thank them and hang up. Call back the next day and ask the appropriate person for an appointment.
The next step is to keep that appointment, take your portfolio and one of your works as you present it (the finished work, framed, gallery wrapped, etc.)and be prepared to be able to answer their questions about your availability, experience, etc. If they seem interested, ask them how their Gallery works, what their schedule is, what they are looking for,what they expect from their artists,etc. Don’t be discouraged if they are not interested. Ask them for suggestions of other Galleries they may suggest you approach.
They are usually qualified to figure out which ones would be best for you. If you feel it is an issue of the quality of your work that doesn’t fit, smile and say you’d like to come back when you‘ved worked to improve it.
In any case, thank them for their time. Never, ever, if you are serious about your art, never get discouraged; just get better and better and find the Gallery that works for you.