A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.


How to navigate scary art galleries

Some good advice about how to approach an art gallery from my good friend Allison Marvin. She's the one who guided the way for me when I first started hanging around the DC art scene. She made me realize it's really not so scary at all! Read her suggestions HERE.


Blogger scormeny said...

Kinda interesting, but it puts a ton of onus on the visitor to manage the interaction. Is there some reason that galleries can't do the heavy-lifting work of selling the art?

Also, I'm always honest that I'm a lookie-loo who is unlikely to make a several hundreds of dollars purchase. Any advice for the casual observer, besides "you're right, we don't like you, stay away," which is what I read between the lines of the advice you're linking to?

2:59 PM

Blogger Allison said...


I don't mean to suggest that the visitor has to do any "heavy-lifting" or qualify him or herself to enter a gallery. Really, my idea is as easy as taking 5 or 10 minutes to look at images on the gallery's web site to see if any artists are of interest to you. If so, then why not bring that information with you to inform your visit? If not, then perhaps you wouldn't waste your time visiting that particular gallery. Of course, you could walk in "cold" to a gallery and take the same approach I've outlined in my article... introducing yourself and saying you'd like to learn about the gallery's program. Either way, the burden is on the gallery to show you the works and educate you about them so that you'll be inspired to collect them. Believe me, the gallery is doing the heavy lifting (physically and literally). A lot of time, several visits and many follow up calls or emails often go into each sale.

Also, with respect to your concern that you'll be told to "stay away" if you're not in the market for anything, I'm not sure where you're getting that from my article. Perhaps I could have been clearer, but I meant to get across the point that a good gallery will welcome and spend time with anyone who wants to learn about the gallery's artists. A gallery never knows whether the person walking in the door is a purchaser or not. It hopes so, of course, but it can't ask for a guarantee upon entry. A gallery doesn't operate on upfront guarantees. As mentioned in the article, it treats each visitor as a potential client. A gallery is in the business of cultivating collectors, which, it understands, takes time and patience. So, I don't think the "casual observer" has anything to worry about. You wouldn't be told that you're not liked or not welcome. In fact, its typically the opposite.

Some top tier, A list galleries may not fit this profile, but most galleries do.

Allison Marvin

4:51 PM

Blogger Allison said...

Additional comment: In the same way a gallery should be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and take a chance on you, you - whether the casual observer or otherwise - should be willing to respect the gallery's programming and resources and be open to making a purchase, should you find something that really speaks to you.

5:05 PM


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