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Become a Working Artist

Lesson 8 of 22

Gallery Shows: Personal & Juried


Become a Working Artist

Lesson 8 of 22

Gallery Shows: Personal & Juried


Lesson Info

Gallery Shows: Personal & Juried

The next thing we're gonna talk about is organizing your own show um and especially something that lisa and I have done together um we how to show at a gallery in new hampshire together in two thousand eight we knew the gallery owner we made this proposal to her we, you know, collaborated on a theme and made work around it and helped her to publicize it. So um first thing you want to decide is whether you want to sort of develop and pitch your own show or whether you want to develop and pitch to and it doesn't have to be a gallery could be a cafe or a store a place that has room to hang art a group show on dh the benefits of group shows are that you can really involved the other people in the show in promoting it and the onus is not all on you to create all of the work except for that if you're organizing it you also our project manager, so be sure yeah, you're clear on we'll get responsibilities yeah in a little bit, but yeah it's a big it's, a it's a whole other undertaking making bu...

t it's a nice way to make something happen yeah instead of like waiting around around that's right that's right onda lot of eyes to own a store that had a gallery for a few years and um occasionally people would email me or and say I have this idea for a show and I noticed you have a gallery space are you and taking submissions? Are you interested in this and it's actually how I got a few shows and these worth this was with people I had no relationship with before s o a lot of places even smaller galleries will be interested in and what you have to say you want to scout locations and again a location needs to make sense so do your research is it a place that regularly shows are what kind of art do they show? Um see another one of your responsibilities if you're the organizer is to figure out what the theme of the show is, um and here the artist will be so, um, that of course all has to sort of fit into, um you know, if if you're showing in a place that has had shows before, do your research on what kind of shows that they had, you might even want to go to the owner or the gallery owner with with a couple of different options. Two I think there are some organizations locally and I'm sure nationally also who have information on their website about how they receive proposals yes, exactly like this so southern exposure is one of those I mean, but there are many so if you do a little bit of scouting, you'll find that they'll have dates and the type of things they're looking for and what they want in their packet and on dh, then I would say, just remember that there are so many art spaces out there who need to do programming, you know, month after month after month, and, well, some it's not that welcome, ah lot will be quite welcome to receive an idea. Yeah, and part of your responsibility as the organizer is to promote, which we're going to talk a lot about ways to do that in the marketing section. But you have any good tips for promoting lisa? I think that's, your department e, you're really good at it carry as a gallery curator and someone who manages this kind of thing all the time. What do you guys usually do to promote your shows? Wait, do quite a bit, we always do a press release, and we try and do some targeted marketing. So if it's, an exhibition about textiles, were looking far and beyond into, you know, the guilds and the various publications that might be media specific, we're definitely working on social media and trying to push that out there, sometimes we buy ad space, so it may be that if you're working with the collective and you're gonna ten of you are going to do a show somewhere you might want to go in on an ad in the east bay express or someplace where you can afford word of mouth every single person involved in this show if it's one of these collective shows each one of you should make a pact you're all gonna launch you're going to use instagram and twitter and facebook and you're going to use every platform you possibly can and hopefully you know support each other's posts as well a proponent of postcards and snail mail and stuff too I really like it when I get a card for so I think that I put it on my fridge I actually remember to go if I get a card like there's something about it it is rare now so it feels even more special in some ways so I really like having a physical thing too besides all the social media which definitely is a big part of it we'll talk about postcards I understand your responsibility so if you are going to organize a show, remember that you are ultimately responsible for like you might want to get the input of the gallery or store or cafe owner but ultimately you're responsible for finding the artist you're responsible for communicating to them what kind of work they need to turn in by when deadlines when silent to be whether they need to also submit photos or the website if they you know all the information they need to turn in for any kind of press you're doing or the list of work that's going to be available so you're sort of in charge of you know, the more people in the show the harder and harder it is yeah but also communicate clearly with everybody about what you want so everyone should have work and it should be framed and wired and ready to go and communicate with everyone in there if you're the organizer about how things are going to be designed someone's going to have to design the installation and it's you know it's that's a touchy thing because there are always good spots and not great spots in every gallery and so talk about that be upfront about it and make sure everyone has a sense of what the floor plan is going to be and that everyone gets three pieces or whatever this is good whatever it was like I miss make sure everybody knows no yeah yeah no surprises yeah and if you want people to show up to the opening which obviously you d'oh you know be clear about that and I think this sort of like organized community and professional communication not just with the person who's hosting the show but with the other artist is really, really important all right? We're gonna move on to the last part of this conversation, and this is an area in which cary is actually an expert she hosts and curious, um, great shows in her gallery all the time. Um, so carrie tells what is a juried show? Let me just start by saying there are two different kinds of exhibitions that that I tend to organize one is an invitational, which is where I'm going out into the world, and I'm deciding on what the theme of the conceptual ideas, and I'm inviting the artists I'm choosing each specific work, the other format is a juried show, and that is where often at the bedford will have a theme sky or yellow or whatever on dh, we're inviting artists most likely it's on a national scale to submit work that has that pertains to that specific thing. We always invite some guests, jurors, and they might be in brooklyn or lola or whatever, and this is we can do this now very easily, because we're using a platform called slide room, so you're going to go on slide room. And as lisa said, you're going to follow their directions about how to size your images and how to submit them so that when we look at them, they're not showing up, um, as postage stamps, because your work won't show up, and you won't get in then otherwise eso and and usually there is a fee to enter and this helps defuse the cost of using that platform and paying our jurors which we always do and usually there's an option to put either two or three works in for instance and I would say if you're going to go through all the bother, go ahead and pay the extra little it's usually an extra five dollars whatever to put one more in so that you could do as lisa said, you can have your three images and line them up and think about how they're going to be shown um label them slide one two, three so they go in there but that that is the other thing that you'll see on every online platform is there'll be a different way in which they want you to label the slide and do that so that all of that information is really clear however whoever is managing her administering that part of the the jury show so so how do they work? So I submit something either online or I used to be on the board so that exposure which is this art organization in san francisco and we had a couple of jury chose where people actually their work off and the juror actually was the juror or jurors were actually looking at the work that and I think it's probably far less common now, maybe more common previously but what with the juror looking for and how did they make decisions about what? What gets jered or selected for the show and what doesn't I think this is again where you do your research so first off there's a website called call for entry um and it lists almost every during show that you can imagine now they almost all funnel through they're not all of them but a lot of them really do and so it's a great sort of place to start called for entry dot com um no it's called for enter I think it's not work but if you if you search for them you'll find them on dh but logos is like cafe or something call for entry like they're being cute but that's a great place to start and there's and there's another list in the back of our tink to more of additional juried show yeah, I think this is another place where you get to do research so look at who the jurors looking through the spaces how many is this there? Only during show how many jared shows have they done before or do they have online images of what they're pasturing shows look like if you get the name of the jurors who are they who where they curating what kind of work do they like? What other shows that they carried it? You can actually figure a lot out about a juror by googling them and if they tend to like abstract working you're a photo realist than maybe that isn't the jury chauffeur you to enter like you can figure some of that out and it'll save you heartache and time and money to do that and to make it a point to do that and I know it depends on the theme of the show, but generally they're looking for our that fits into that theme in this maybe interesting in some way I have to say when I jury a show and there's no theme, which is more a really tasty ok, I I don't know if other juror zahra's ecumenical as I am, but I often do try and look for the various media and photography and I like a show if it's a community show I like I appreciate a show that has the the various genre that are represented so so you would know that about me if you see that I'm during a show then versus museum curator who is more more minimal yeah and and I think you can figure that out it's not that you know it's not that difficult to figure out those clues you know? The other thing I was thinking is in the end I used to do this a lot when I was really young I did a lot of jury chose when I first was out of college and ultimately, what I found is that they end up being lines on the resume, and I began to like I began to look at but it's a museum or is there curator? I want my work in front of him, and so I think the big decisions are what is the venue? Is that an important venue? Is that interesting for you to go to santa fe? Perhaps because there is a lot of other activity in santa fe and you could go and meet someone and talk about why I've got a show in town, and there also might be a juror that you would like to get your work in front of and that I think important in terms of where they're coming from. Where do the curate I think that's huge, I think that's often a new like not talked about or looked at enough you're like whoever the jurors curator's are like sponges. They remember everything. So even if they don't put you into a show that there during if they like your work for whatever it may be, your work doesn't fit into the sky theme, even though you thought it did, they don't, I think it does, but if they like your work, they're going to remember your name. And they're going to remember your work and then five years later you get a phone call and they'll say can you come to the studio because this is a great opportunity for people who want to break into the fine art world to start getting shows on there wasn't a great yeah unity chris we have any questions from the online audience butchery chose well jackie just wants to know our jury chose really worth submitting to she says they look legitimate on a cv do people interpret jury chose differently than other shows a guy question I think you get it depends on the venue it depends on the juror like I think if you on ly have jury chose on your resume it starts toe strain honestly, I don't think you need to say it's jury yeah I mean I really don't think that has anything to do with the price of bananas I just don't care you know it's you have to show it mizuki missoula museum and that's where you showed I think that's fine interesting thing about jared shows at least at the bedford and a lot of other places is there's money involved usually so this last show what that we just had was walnut creek one hundred was supported by the lesser foundation and there were three thousand dollars worth of worth of award money so you know people are walking away with five hundred dollar prizes that's worthwhile as well. That pays for your shipping and potentially your, you know, trip to santa fe or wherever the show is. So I can. Because weighing your options yeah, the questions from the audience are hand back there. Okay? I wanted to make a very brief pitch for the san francisco women artists organization, especially since the vast majority of us are of the female gender and it's, an organization that we had a gallery on sacramento. We're going to be opening one on irving street, and I invite everybody to go to the website and look at it. It's, theirs juried shows there's also going to be walls for rent and other kinds of activities. So there are all these ways if you figure out on the internet it's a great resource for that digging deep into places where you can insert yourself in the art community and it it first they may not feel very prestigious. Maybe not, but this is the way that you build your c v. This is the way you build your resume. If not, everyone's gonna end up in a prestigious gallery right off the bat. It's also could practice. Yes, like, this is the way for you to figure out well with my order, right, right. Did the order okay, the order didn't work, so you think our maybe my what I thought was cohesive wasn't cohesive enough, right? And so you try again and you re work it until you get a positive response and getting accepted as a lot of fun. Yeah, yeah, it really is it's great for the morale. So other questions now we have another question that came in the chat room. This one comes from canaan marissa gil they say my question is for international artist what extra steps wouldn't artist from outside of the us need to do in order to show their work in the u s gallery? A lot of the jury chose that I see are open teo artists internationally, I actually have started doing a lot of research on pinterest and if you go to my pinterest board, you'll see some of the research that I'm doing, and I think I'm not sure if other curator zehr doing this as well, but I think that there there there are various ways in which one can push your work out there bye bye of social media's I think the only thing you need to be worried about with international is the cost of stuff like that seems to be the only barrier is shipping costs and time constraints and stuff because otherwise I don't really think it matters everybody it's really the world is global when I was curating for a small gallery in my shop several years ago and I had two or three over the course of a couple of years two or three shows with ours from europe in canada so the world is so small I feel like so many of the artist friends that at least lisa and I have made over the last especially initially on the internet even though we live in the same city you know our international artists so the world is very small and uh sort of online our community to yeah I feel like it's just about cost because it is still kind of expense a ship a crate and then especially if it's a solo show or if you're in a smaller group show you want to go but if they're smaller works it's doable yeah no there's ways around it but I feel like that's the barriers the cost issue more than anything any other questions and in general about don't necessarily about jared shows but in general that you wantto ask lee sir carry before we wrap up yeah ana how do you make I mean for example near gallery how is the best way of receiving or somebody wants to send me for a solo show or something like that? Do you also have people that have submitted to you okay? This is the body of work that I want to show our because you say some of them are by invitation, but has there been a you know what would you recommend for somebody that wants to I have a shoot? They're actually on our website there is if you go into opportunities if you go into the link for opportunities we have how you khun submit and people send packets all the time but stacks and stacks of packets to look at and over the course of the year we have two or three times where we view it all we take a big chunk of seventy or eighty, so to lisa's point we're looking, but we're looking at the images pretty fast and reviewing for what we're planning on in the future or sometimes I'm just banking artists because I'm interested in the work and want to remember them and that's the one way I will do it, I think the package you put together is really important. I don't know if you're going to talk about that in your marketing like what? What should be in the packet? We have a few specific things that we asked for in terms of the amount of images and the way in which they're there they're packaged but um if it's a cold call, I wouldn't consider putting two or three eight by ten or five by seven images of the work in there, not just a cd it's rare that I get a pack shinning let's I'm so curious let's open this up right now because you're busy and but if there's a few pictures in there and I like something I like them I will put the cd in and I'll look further I do one thing to you is because when I worked in together you have to be patient like sometimes we didn't look at packets for six months and I would always just bat your back right away wait feel bad for the artist like as an artist I would feel horrible but there was just no way to get to them and so six months later we would finally look at them and then finally get back to people so you just have to be patient teo and not expect the worse because you're not hearing anything and every gallery has well either. Generally speaking, I'm sure they're exceptions to this will either tell you that they're not accepting submissions and don't bother them if that's what they say or they will tell you how to submit and so always go on the gallery or you know the institutions website and find out what do your research first before you start sending out lots of guys can't find it then call yeah pick up the phone, which is something we don't do as much anymore yeah christian my name's, christian davies and a painter this came up a little bit earlier in the morning, the idea of gallery representation and how did that was listed as goal that was mentioned a couple times, and I was wondering if you guys could speak to what's entailed and gaining gala representation if and maybe cem cem tips or steps towards heading in that direction as far as working exclusively with one gallery and still being open to show in multiple places? Um, well, there are terms I get thrown around like exclusivity usually means that the gallery once to be in charge of your career, that one space is going to be in charge of making contact with every other space. So that something that you went away, whether or not that that that's something you want to give up, like being able to be your own ancient and show another spaces in terms of building a relationship with the gallery, I think the best analogy is a dating analogy. Um, so it's, like you meet and you figure out, if you if you have some kind of connection, they might offer you a group show like that might be like your first date, um and if that goes well, and if they're interested and they do a studio visit like what's going on, maybe they'll offer you a two person show like they're sort of different sometimes happens really fast, like, you know, like dating that sometimes, like instantaneous. Okay, thank you. Thank you. All right, great let's do this thing, but you just never you don't know. And I think you want to think about, like, what region you have calorie representation in on how far away they are and whether or not you want to do with that, and once you are actually sort of in cahoots with the gallery, you have to think about what that means in terms of schedule, how often are you going to be exhibiting with them? What are you responsible for? What are they responsible for? For each relationship is different, it is really like a marriage. Each gallery that you work with sort of has different expectations, and you have to be ready to deal with that. The very short answer to a very discussions were also sort of wondering, how do you even get into cahoots with the gallery? Really? Ask out a gallery in the same way, way think what we talked about, like making the connections like when I was in the gallery, the way that we met other artists was usually through artists that we already represented, so making friends with artist, going to openings like making friends with characters like I've been introduced to galleries through curator sze they say hey, this is someone that I think you might be interested in and then the gallery contacts me so it's really about widening your network and connecting with artists and curators tze and gallerist on dh everybody and again being willing to talk about your work and you know and whatever way feels comfortable like if you're like this kind of person and then you do it that way if you're like a shy and quiet person than you do in a shy and quiet kind of way like I think you could do it authentically and I also think you know, back to the idea of a relationship you've already done your home work by the time you get to this gallery and you know you're making a certain kind of work and they're showing a certain kind of work so rather than at the opening which is not the place teo engage in a police pay attention to me visiting and you know, just during the regular open hours and striking up a conversation about the work that's here and why you're interested in it and what why it's meaningful to you and within the context of that conversation what you're doing and how that that there's there's a dovetail there if you khun help coax that along that understanding about what you're making versus what this gallery is doing there could be some good synergy there for you thanks this question just came in and it's a good sort of general wrap up question here about the gallery so I want to take this one three people have voted on this one too but when taking work to a gallery for the first time is it smart to consult with them on price? I'm assuming it's in their best interest to assist on the pricing pricing is a whole other ballgame president segment twenty oh stegman I don't know you I've had I've had I've had both I've had a couple of shows that commercial galleries where I send him the checklist in the price and that's what's posted so I've set the price and I have also had a couple of experience experiences where they've said you know it seems a little hi or this one seems a little low or whatever yeah and we've had a discussion about it so if you are unsure and you feel comfortable with the idea that they might say hey you know fifteen is high for an eight by ten can we bring it down to nine fifty? I think there'll be a sale at nine fifty if you're going to be comfortable with that open up that dialogue if you don't want that dialogue don't bring it to the table but the the dealer knows his or her clients and so they'll know that the difference between fifteen and nine fifty there's a threshold there for them I had a solo show in two thousand eleven at a gallery in san francisco, and what the gallery was sent to me was, I want you to set the prices initially. What do you and then and then lie minute review them, and I'm going to suggest adjustments, if any, and some prices she thought were perfect and some she thought, should actually be lower. And some, she thought, should be higher. And I it was in my best interest to trust her judgment because she knew her market and she was pretty right on. So I think you have tohave prices. I don't think you can walk into a situation with a I have no idea your mind like that you cannot do in any way, shape or form, but I do think that depending on this base and the person that there's wiggle room and I think also when you're entering a show or, you know, it's it's, another artist who's organizing the show or it's not as sort of a big deal show where, whatever, at a sort of higher and gallery. It's, always going to be up to you to set the prices, rarely is there for enabling that's going to go on there. But the more the heart higher echelons you get in the art world, the more negotiation there needs to be with the person who's responsible for selling your, I'm sure you'll talk about it. But it is important to be consistent with your pricing structure, like you don't get to be like, hey, it's this today and that tomorrow, that energy, they say, if you sold a piece that's done, raise this size at twelve hundred that's, an established price for you now, so you're not going higher or lower. That's not to your advantage, keeps right system. There. There's a formula to raising your prices eventually, to this has been a fantastic thank you so much for your expertise here.

Class Description

"This is an incredibly helpful class for anyone who feels intimidated by all the "giants" in the land of art, and wonders if it's really worth keeping trying to make money from their talent. Lisa breaks everything down into manageable steps, while not dumbing things down. Her manner is very approachable, so that you can imagine yourself doing what she does. Her generous spirit means too that she is sharing really useful stuff - not just some fluff, and keeping all the good ideas for herself!"
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An enthusiastic audience that appreciates your art is waiting for you. Join Lisa Congdon, illustrator, artist, and author of Art, Inc. for Become a Working Artist and learn everything you need to know to make a living as a fine or commercial artist.

In this class, you will find out exactly what it takes to break into the art world and reach new, diverse audiences. Lisa will show you how to:

  • Identify the characteristics that make your style unique
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  • Land and negotiate art licensing deals
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Every artist faces rejection and setbacks on the road to finding an appreciative and paying audience. Become a Working Artist will teach you how to navigate the inevitable disappointments and push through to build a vibrant, rewarding career in art.

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I was very happy and inspired to be able to attend to this class! It helped me so much to understand which are my goals as an artist and what I need to make to make them happen. Lisa is amazing and I cannot be happier to have been part of this, thank you so much!! I am now more than inspired to create beautiful things and make the tasks I need to make to become the professional artist I aim to be. Thank you Lisa for your wonderful generosity and Creative Live for hosting and creating such a wonderful event!


This course was fantastic! The format was great and Lisa was extremely helpful, knowledgable, and engaging. I was so inspired and loved that she gave very real information and great advice. I came away with a great new plan for my business and a renewed excitement for growth. I would highly recommend this class!

Simply Stated Architecture, PC

Professionally, I am an architect, but I also dabble in some watercolors as well as wood and metal work. When I started my own architectural office, I found good resources for business information were scarce. Most of what I found applied to retail or service businesses that really did not apply to a creative professional. One of the best resources I have found has been my local art guild - The Yellow Breeches Chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. I found that the painters, jewelers, potters, fiber artists, and other artists faced much more similar issues to what I was dealing with than the contractors, store owners, financial planners, insurance salesmen, and other business people that I was finding in business groups and classes. Lisa Congdon's class is the first CreativeLive course that I've taken. I had signed up for the CL email recently and Lisa's class just caught my eye. I'm glad that I took the time to sit through the sessions. A few of the segments - such as that on illustration and licensing or fine art - really did not have any practical application to my own situation. But there were items of value in pretty much all of the segments that I could take away to adapt in my own business. For someone just starting off in a creative profession, I'd highly recommend Lisa's course as a roadmap of items to keep in mind and plan for in their business. But by no means should you consider this to be a "beginner only" course. I started my business four years ago and I really wish that I had found something like this course in those first months or first year. But even after four years, I found great value in this course. The information on setting goals, actionable tasks, and the final segment on managing your success were extremely valuable and gave me many items to work into my own business in the coming weeks and months.