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A Beginners Guide To Self-Promotion
Benjamin Cook
A Beginners Guide to Self-Promotion
More and more film and video is being shown in galleries, they are a great platform for your work, offering a sustained period of exhibition often up to six weeks for each show.

Obviously a gallery may only have six or eight shows a year so each exhibition will represent a significant investment in the particular artist's work. There are six different kinds of galleries:
artist-run spaces - often unfunded and working more with emerging artists;
public-funded galleries - different scales but often with a particular focus;
municipal galleries - often more traditional, but with a local focus;
national galleries and museums - focus on large scale shows and their permanent collections;
commercial galleries - these are businesses focusing on selling work, often from a group of artists they represent;
galleries for hire - you pay to use the space for self-organised exhibitions;

So how do you get a gallery to show your work?
First do your research, look at the kind of work the galleries show, the artists they work with and the way they promote themselves. Ask yourself whether your work fits in and be realistic about the kind of career stage artist that the gallery works with. Most public galleries have a submissions policy where they will look at unsolicited applications, this is not a great approach as they will receive a huge amount of other works this way and very little work is ever accepted through this route. However if you do approach them this way make your application as professional as possible, keep it simple, brief and to the point. It can often take a long time to get a decision, sometimes as long as 3 - 6 months, be patient and avoid personal approaches to the gallery without an appointment, this can really count against you. Most exhibitions actually come through some kind of personal contacts, with curators and with other artists so ultimately the best way to get a gallery exhibition may be to work on developing your network. There are a huge amount of forums, peer critiques and participation events out there so the best thing is to get yourself and your work out there - and get noticed!

Documentation of Baltimore by Isaac Julien, 2003
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