I decided to write this post about my experience with Agora Gallery (530 W 25th St New York www.Agora-Gallery.com) after being asked about it both by fellow artists who were interested in what it had to offer and also by the team at Agora Gallery itself about my involvement in an exhibition – ‘Fine Art from Down Under and Beyond’ May 19 to June 9 2015, their promotion of my work, and my impressions of the overall experience.
I have to say at the outset that it has been a positive relationship. I was approached by the gallery via email after they had viewed my website (www.christinereadart.com) to submit my work for adjudication for possible representation by them. I was sceptical about being approached by a New York Gallery and so did some research online and also asked my daughter – in – law, her art opinions matter a great deal to me, she has worked as a curator in some of the high end London art galleries what she thought. Online posts indicated that it was what is called a ‘vanity’ gallery, in other words you pay to exhibit and for the promotion and sign a contract to that effect. There are a number of levels of support.
My daughter-in-law said that the gallery was exactly what it claimed to be, not a scam, and that I should decide whether I wanted to go ahead. I asked some questions of the gallery director, Angela di Bello, including that I was very busy at the time and could not fit the time frame suggested. Angela replied that I could go ahead when I felt ready and so I submitted my work. The response was positive and useful in that it also made clear that this was a commercial gallery and the choice of my work for an exhibition would be on the basis of what would appeal to their market.
My decision to go ahead was based on the fact that I am older, this is my second career and something I have always wanted to do and I felt that if I did not take the opportunity to promote my art myself, who else would? I also have family in Los Angeles and have loved New York since my daughter lived there for a number of years and I visited quite often. Another chance to soak up the Big Apple and to be in a New York Gallery was too good a chance to miss. I did not have huge expectations of sales as art is so subjective, but was determined to enjoy the experience.
Two or three other artists have contacted me to see if I thought that it was worth spending the money and was it worth it in a professional sense. So, what have I gained so far? I took out the basic level option – 18 months of promotion online and an exhibition and reception with other artists in the gallery for three weeks. The team has been very helpful in answering all my questions about shipping the works – something I had never done internationally before, so I have learned a lot there – one point is, use a shipping company, not the postal service – I did both and the shipping company was much more efficient, although the Australian postal service seemed very helpful and the goods moved out of Australia fast, it seemed to be at the US end that there was a hold up.
Initially eight of my works were posted online http://www.art-mine.com/artistpage/christine_read.aspx I did not know how to price for the US market and, of course, there is a commission, so I asked Angela to put a price on the works – very fair, I thought. To my amazement in December 2014 I sold the most expensive of the works – ‘Fragments of Memory – Varanasi’ and it was shipped to New York (this was the one that was slow and I became a bit anxious) and the money was in my bank account within a month – even better because the currency exchange from US$ to AUD$ worked well in my favour.
I have since put more works online. Angela chose five of my works for the reception last Thursday…. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially meeting the other artists who seemed to be just like me in deciding to take the chance and to enjoy the opportunity. Everybody had done their research and had made a conscious decision to be part of it. I heard no negatives from the others about their experiences with the team although I did seem to be the lucky one in having sold something already. it was also terrific to discuss my work with the viewers – and there was a huge crowd. As you would expect in New York, people had strong opinions about what they liked!
As far as I know, I have not sold anything in the exhibition, but it’s not over and I have had some positive feedback – I guess time will tell. Have a look at the ‘you tube’ video of the fun we had at the reception ……
Would I suggest others do what I have done? Absolutely – it’s been a blast and my CV looks quite good. Just assess what you are aiming for with your art and promotion – everything you try has pluses and minuses, risks and benefits, but where would you be if you never took a risk in life?