Friday Tips: The Importance of Getting Into Galleries in Other Cities



When the sculptor Arlie Regier first came to me in 1994, he was as unknown as an artist as I was in the gallery world.  But I instinctively realized that his works in stainless steel, some of them composed of 5000 pieces of stainless–like the one above– would likely find a broad audience if I could just succeed at promoting him.  Man, did that take years of hard work for both him and me.  A new artist (he was 64 at the time) is always slow to be recognized.  But if you believe in the work and artist, you stay with it no matter how many times you hear the word “No.”  We heard it literally thousands of times.

Nonetheless I continued promoting him, deciding that the only way his career would broaden would be through placing the work in tourist meccas.  I mean I might have a well respected gallery in Kansas City, but KC ain’t no tourist destination.  So I put him with a gallery in San Francisco; they moved nothing.  Then I put him with a gallery in Aspen; they moved nothing.  Then I convinced Khourde Fine Art in Santa Fe to take him.  That was the right fit.  Over the years, they began outselling my gallery–which takes some doing.  In fact they have a show for Arlie and Dave next Friday. 

Eventually I placed Arlie with a gallery in Carmel, then another in Vail.  Finally, this year, The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, acquired one of his works for their permanent collection.  With the enormous credibility that gives him, I can now place him with galleries virtually anywhere I choose.

As I write this I’m in Las Vegas, closing a deal with a gallery on The Strip.  Vegas?  An art town?  Well, not quite yet.  As you probably know, it specializes in kitsch.  But the tourists are here, and among all those tourists are certainly collectors.  We plan to work with that market.  Yet none of this would have happened if Arlie and I hadn’t persisted.

My point?  If you’re having little success with galleries in your own region, don’t hesitate to try other regions.  You may have to try several.  But just stay with it.  Perseverance brings its own rewards.  As for approaching galleries in other cities, I cover that in Living the Artist’s Life.  No, you don’t have to go out and buy the book.  Just go to a library.  I understand it’s with a great many now.

10 thoughts on “Friday Tips: The Importance of Getting Into Galleries in Other Cities

  1. I have considered trying other cities but when you’re starting out shipping large and/or heavy work can be prohibitively expensive.

  2. Congratulations on all this hard work. Hope the Vegas deal works out as well. The pieces are just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing the photo and information.


  3. Andrea: Yeah, shipping can indeed be prohibitive. We don’t tend to place the really large works with the other galleries for this reason. But the smaller works that weigh between 30 and 150 lbs ship very cheaply in reinforced cardboard boxes, via UPS ground service or similar carriers. In that way, crating and shipping averages $60 per sculpture. Add that to the sale price, and everything’s cool.

    Jo: Thanks. The hardest part is finally over. Interesting journey, but I wouldn’t want to take it again. Other journies to take now instead. Glad you dig the work. Arlie and Dave are quite amazing.

  4. I’d love another good gallery or two, and I don’t ever mind going far afield. But I’ve been burned with the costs involved. — shipping, travel, promotions, the whole thing. You are right. One just has to keep on keeping on.

    And yes, I have the book and have read it!

  5. Paul: You give such down to earth, real advice. I just bought the book after reading several of your Fridays Tips. This particular tip, approaching galleries in other cities, is of real interest to me since I live in a very remote area. I also believe that perseverance is right up there with gotta love it. Thanks for all the useful info.
    Best Regards, Barbara

  6. Martha: You may have to try several galleries far afield before finding the right fit, as we had to. You just weigh the risks, and minimize the expenses, doing as much from home as possible. With the right fit, it will pay dividends. Otherwise, it’s strictly a money-losing proposition. But your career will never expand if you’re only represented in your region.

    Barbara: Anytime I cease to be down-to-earth, you just let me know. There’s enough BS in the art world without unnecessarily complicating things. Living in a remote area is not the disadvantage it once was–but only if you’re well represented.

  7. I have started wooing out of my state galleries…with little to no luck so far, but…like you said…I will just keep trying.
    Thank you for this blog and your book, I just finished it and it really rocked my world with great information and I like the way you write so easy breezy and straight from the hip.
    Congrat’s on the Vegas deal to you and the artists.

  8. Heather: Good attitude. Only when you anticipate rejection, and determine to learn from it, will you ever get around it.

    Glad I rocked your world a little. The art world needs that in general. Far too many artists struggling unnecessarily. With the right information and attitude, a lot of that could be changed.

  9. Thankyou for this post, it really rang true with me. I’ve been scoping out and plugging away at local galleries with little success and was wondering if the market here (Australia) isn’t really suited to my work. everyone says to look locally first but if it isn’t working then I don’t see anything wrong with looking as far afield as possible. the world is smaller these days and we aren’t so nailed down.

    I have been approached by dealers and commercial galleries in the US and Canada. which is extremely exciting- the costs are prohibitive but somehow I will make it work!

  10. Jennie: I have always advocated showing farther afield if you’re having little success at home. This will help you to have that success at home, since the locals are always impressed by anything achieved far away. This lends you a “legitimacy” that in their eyes you might currently lack. It’s also just human nature.

    US and Canada? Sounds cool. Please just watch the expenses.

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