Monday, August 6, 2012

Gallery Panel Discussion

Finally got my notes organized, sorry about the poor quality of the panel photo. At the last meeting of our pottery guild, Potters' Guild of Florida, we had a panel presentation and discussion with four gallery owners/managers from the St. Petersburg area. From left to right are Nancy Markoe, Mindy Solomon, Jeff Schorr of Craftsman House Gallery, and Maggie Duffy, manager of Florida Craftsmen Gallery. The goal of the discussion was to help our group better understand what galleries look for when they are selecting work and what is the best way to approach them for representation.

Gallery owners are looking for artist's who have a line or body of work. A line or body of work can be a set for functional or one to five pieces for sculptural work. The work should show beauty, design, function, quality, and price. The artist must decide on their wholesale price for the work which should include their profit. Functional work should include a set which buyers can purchase repeats of. Gallery owners agreed artists should not over price work since price can always go up, but it's hard to go down in price.

Before approaching any gallery for representation research should be done by the artist to see if their work is a fit for the gallery. Research can be in person, via internet, or via magazines such as Niche or Craft magazines and check the ads in the magazines. Then find out if, how, and when a gallery is accepting new artists.

Some galleries purchase work outright and others take work on consignment. Some galleries have a combination of both. Some galleries represent local artists, some national, and some international. Artists should also research other areas besides their own location for gallery representation. Other area galleries may be a better for fit for an artist's work.

Gallery owners do not want to be approached without an appointment. Each gallery owner has their particular way they wish to be approached. Some owners prefer photos and prices of work to be sent through the mail, some prefer an email introduction with a link to a website, some have artist applications and review those at a set time of year, some have membership requirements and review applications, some represent only national or internationally known artists, some only sculptural artists, etc.

Be creative in exploring representation in galleries by perhaps offering to do a group show, a pop up show, or perhaps your guild will organize and do a group show. The bottom line is for the artist to make excellent work, have a body of work, decide what the goal for their work is, and do the research. Many thanks to all four gallery owners and managers for taking time out of their busy schedule to discuss this important topic with our guild. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Hello Linda:
    You must have found this session most interesting and helpful particularly in these very difficult times. We are certain that gallery owners are most likely a very individual group of people, each one requiring a very personal approach.

  2. It's a lot to think about for you artists. I did not know about all this. Good luck to you.


  3. This must have been a very interesting discussion, especially having specific gallery representation to say what they are doing. Thanks for bringing the discussion to your blog!

  4. Really good information here, thanks Linda. I would guess that a lot of artists in all mediums would be happy to read this article. And the galleries would be happy to have more educated artists.

  5. You certainly covered everything I know about galleries. I'll bookmark it for young artists in town to read. I live in an arty little town with two galleries. The newer generation of budding artists (and their parents and friends) don't understand why they don't get all the money, or why a shop owner doesn't want to sell their hand printed tee shirts.

  6. My question would be, Why do some galleries buy outright (wholesale) and why do some do consignment? I'd like to have clear, direct answers from gallery owners to this question. Maybe I should just start asking? Thanks for the great post.

  7. Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, yes you have hit on the nose, they are all very individual.

    Hi Elna, thanks, it was great they were willing to share with our group.

    Hi Lori, thanks, yes the gallery owners will benefit from educated artists.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, it was great to hear this information direct from the gallery owners and that they were so willing to share taking time out of their busy schedules.

    Hi Joanne, thanks, hopefully some others can benefit from this post.

    Hi Ron, thanks, one gallery owner said they consign with local artists but buy wholesale for out of town artists due to the shipping costs and inconvenience of it. It may be cash flow or if the gallery has very expensive pieces perhaps they can't afford to buy all the art outright. I would think with consignment they can exchange work easier if a particular piece of art doesn't sell. I guess it's all in how they operate their particular business. If I find a gallery I think is a good fit, I'm just going to ask them and go from there. Wouldn't it be nice if galleries had printed info to hand out to artists.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment