Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tips for Artists Looking to Exhibit at Local Galleries/Museums
On Tuesday evening, October 13, Springboard for the Arts and mnartists.org presented a Curator and Gallery Owner Panel discussion. Betsy Carpenter (Walker Art Center), Kris Douglas (Rochester Art Center), Ann Pifer (the Grand Hand Gallery), and John Rasmussen (Midway Contemporary Art) came together to shed light on how they prefer to be approached and how they choose work to exhibit in their respective museum and galleries.
I expected the panelists’ answers to vary as much as the types of artwork shown at each institution. However, I left feeling surprised and reassured by the amount of common ground. Here are five tips our panelists shared for visual artists looking to exhibit their work in galleries and museums:
Follow the Rules for Submission
Many galleries and museums have formal submission processes. Check the website first for this information before making inquiries about the submission process or sending an unsolicited artist’s packet. Direct your submission to the curator or gallery owner and articulate why you think your work would be a good fit for their institution.
Apply for Grants
Gallery and museum professionals pay attention to individuals that receive grants. While not a stamp of approval per se, these types of awards bolster your credibility and visibility and may boost confidence for the people interested in purchasing your work. In addition to the recognition, grants often bring your work to the attention of curators and gallery owners outside of the localized art market.
Get to Know People
Attending openings shows that you are interested in that institution, and it’s also a great way to get a feel for whether your artwork is a good fit for the venue. Go ahead and introduce yourself to the curator or gallery owner, but keep your introduction brief, they are on the job and have things they must pay attention to. Later, this introduction may provide context connecting your face with your submission.
Tell Your Story
If a gallery/museum is interested, they will want to learn more about your techniques, concepts and intent. They may schedule a studio visit. This is not the time to be self-deprecating about your work; nor is it in your interest to be condescending. Tell your story and be receptive to comments and criticism. Remember that the better job you do talking about your work, the better job they will be able do on your behalf.
Be Considerate of the Gallery/Museum’s Budget
In addition to making artistic decisions for their institutions, curators and gallery owners are responsible for running businesses. Sometimes artists forget this. Be conscious that they, too, are being affected by the current economy. Many institutions have had to modify their plans, including presenting fewer and/or longer exhibitions. If given the opportunity to exhibit your work, being resourceful and willing to work within a limited budget will win you friends.
In summary, it comes down to this- do your research, build relationships, and be nice. That’s not so hard.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Artist Loan Fund is looking for change…
… and Springboard is looking for your creative input.
Funny thing over here at Springboard. I think I speak for the entire staff when I say that things are moving at a healthy clip around here, as mentioned previously in Thrilled and Daunted. Which is to say that there’s a lot going on at Springboard in addition to our regular programs.
As individuals, community and country, Change has been ringing in our ears at least since Nov. 4, 2008 (but really long before that) and was resonated anew with the challenges presented by the drastic economic shifts that have impacted so many.
Despite the tendency to see only two kinds of change in the world (good or bad), there are many shapes, directions, and gravities to change that often aren’t recognized.
Change due to necessity; Change that has been coming for some time but finally arrives, sometimes a touch early and sometimes a touch late; Change forced upon us and; Change given to us as a gift.
And sometimes there is change due to vision or what I would call the artist’s need to change. Anyone that has not just heard but listened to the creative voice that makes us break routine, asks us to question the status quo, suggests something greater just over the horizon, or just gently come to rest upon our thoughts, will understand how change and creativity go hand and hand.
For Springboard this is true of our Artist Loan Fund. The program works and has worked for over 12 years, making over $800,000 in micro-loans to artists for a wide range of small business endeavors. Yet, for some reason we decided that it’s not good enough that a program merely “work”. It’s not good enough for a service organization to simply “serve”. Springboard makes loans and banks make loans, but Springboard doesn’t want to be just a bank for artists, we want to be more, so we have decided to change. The only thing we ask of you now is for your input and creativity.
As I stated above, creativity and change go hand and hand, so please join Springboard at the upcoming Artist Loan Fund Info Meetings where we will try to work toward a new Artist Loan Fund.
Oct. 21, 2009 Bedlam Theater