Sunday, December 23, 2007

Creating an Artist Press Kit for Gallery Submission

I have had many people in the past few months ask about how they should approach a gallery for submission of their works of art. It really depends on each gallery and I would recommend contacting them to she how they accept submissions. More and more galleries are willing to look at your work via an online portfolio, but just like snail mail is more personable compared to email, so is a hard copy of your press kit vs. an electronic one. So after speaking to gallery owners in Chelsea, learning in classes taught from curators at the Met, MoMA, Whitney, MassMOCA, and other major museums, and now working in a gallery where everyday we are inundated with at least 5-10 calls or email inquiries on how to get their artwork represented in our gallery, I have compiled the best resource I can experience on getting past the general mailbox person at the gallery.

So this is my gift to the art world, and if your art warrants submission and you follow these directions, then submit to the right galleries, understanding that they might have space for you, then you just might have a chance of getting your work on their walls. Good luck!

1. Use a pocket and clips folder, black or red cost, called 2 pocket folder with fasteners at Staples(see picture above)

2. Use clear pocket sleeves for ALL papers put in the middle of the folder in the clips section

3. The front page in the clips section should be just like a title page on a report: Your name, address, contact number, and a photo image of your best work or photograph of yourself

4. The following pages 5-8 should include 6-8 images of your work. Make sure the images are professional quality and not taken with a digital camera by your friend after a few drinks. Professional photographs will cost money, but will get your work in a gallery if it is at all possible. Each image should be labeled with the Title in italics, then material, then cost. Example:

Starry Night
Oil on Canvas

Only 1-2 images per page should be displayed.

5. The front left pocket when you open the folder should contain a resume or list of your education, works purchased (include year and cost sold, and which collection it belongs to. Example: Starry Night, SOLD 1995-The Private Collection of Dr. John & Rosemary Stevens, Cleveland, Ohio or The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, $10,000. If you have formal training in art (a college degree) you should list it at the top of your resume. Then comes your awards, works published in print/media, then list of most recent shows (one man first, then group shows listed), then most recent works sold. Unless you hold a PhD, M.D. or have actually published written works, under NO circumstances should your resume be longer than 1 page. Some artists who have been exhibiting for over 20 years at :Art Institute, Guggenheim, MoMA, etc etc can have 1-2 page resume, but unless your work is already at the MoMA and you are still living, don't push your luck. Unless your name is Kiki Smith, Elizabeth Murray, or any other famous living artist, you don't need a 2-pager and if you are, you are famous enough in the art arena to not need a press kit. O.K. onto the next item...

6. The back pocket should hold Xerox copies of any work from newspapers, trade reference magazines, publications, etc. If you have digital images of your work or other info offered on a cd, put it in a sleeve and stick in the back pocket. Make sure to label the cd with a title such as, "N.Wilkinson Expression Gallery Show Dec. 2007". A clear title will indicate your info in case it gets lost from the folder.

7. After its done, flip through it, impressive huh? This is what you have accomplished as an artist. Great job. If it doesn't look that great to you, you better get cracking! After all of this, write a great cover letter about how you are looking for gallery representation in ...... New York, Charlotte, Athens, Wherever, and that you feel your work would be a great fit with their current collection. Always start the letter with the gallery's address and info in the top left corner, address it as Dear Gallery Manager, and sign it Respectfully Yours, Best Regards, or some other form of endearment. Don't forget to put your contact info again on the bottom of the cover letter under your name/signature.

8. Put it in a manila envelope, write down the name of the gallery you are sending it to onto a sheet to keep track of where you are sending your info and in 4-5 days, call the gallery to see if they received the package. Following up is impressive and gives you a second chance to make contact.

If you decide to do this kit via email submission, write the cover letter in the text/body section of the email and attach your resume, articles of publications in magazines, newspapers, etc, and images of your work, or a link to an online slide show where your works can be seen such as a Myspace page or Picassa sideshow page(Picassa slide show preferably than Myspace page).

I hope this helps you on your journey! Good Luck!


Nancy Noel said...

Dear Nicole,

Great article & very informative. The only thing I would add is on the information regarding the work, list the title, medium, size and retail price. It helps to know that the beautiful image is 8"x10"
for a price of $10,000. This is very helpful to a gallery to determine if the work fits in with the other work represented by the gallery.

ErinT Fashion Accessories said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I am very new and am still learning a lot in terms of designing and creating, but this is very helpful information for the future.

gwalters415 said...

Thanks for the informative article. It's a big help. I'm a new jewelry dsigner and just starting to try and get my work out there.