There is a lot of work and cost involved in preparing submissions to send to galleries. I have put together a list of tips to create an intelligent submission strategy which will streamline your preparations and hopefully pay off with less work.
1. Find galleries that show artwork of a similar genre to yours. The research for this can be as simple as looking at a gallery’s website. Shockingly, there are a huge number of artists who fire off submissions to galleries before doing any research at all. This becomes evident when, for example, a submission from a local street photography artist arrives at a gallery which only shows historical paintings.
2. Once you have found a number of galleries that you think would show work of your genre, research their artists further. Be analytical and realistic about your career and your art. Some things to consider:
-Are the artists they show local to their community (are you?)
-Are the artists they show emerging or established (how does this compare to you?) *if their artists tend to have shows in large public institutions, and you have not yet had a show, they are not who you should be submitting to. Ideally, you want to be looking for a gallery which shows work similar to yours and that supports artists who are in similar stages of their careers.
3. Once you have whittled down your list of potential galleries, inquire to each establishment about their submission policy. Each gallery has a different preference, and you are likely to get more attention from them if you send them material in the form they prefer. Some will only accept unsolicited submissions by email, some will not look at email. Some will not be accepting submissions at all. While in contact with the gallery, you can also ask if there is a specific person you should be directing your submission to.
4. Once you have done enough work to decide which galleries you will contact and what format they prefer, you are ready to prepare your materials and submit. At this point, I can’t stress enough the importance of being polite and respectful. Every gallery receives droves of submissions, and they have the luxury of choosing or not choosing artists to show. Being pushy, demanding, or unrealistic about your work will only make you undesirable to potential galleries. Being polite and respectful will usually earn you a polite and respectful response.
Copyright The Practical Art World, 2011