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Old 12-30-2019, 07:58 PM
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michelle.mcel michelle.mcel is offline
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Arrow Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

Hi
Sorry, a little long but want to (hopefully) clearly explain what's going on.
I applied to show at a gallery in November, they responded and said they really liked my work and would be happy to have me show, although the only month available for 2020 was January. I accepted the self-imposed challenge by accepting, worked my heart out for 5 weeks and created 10 new paintings to add to the 10 I already had with a certain theme for this show. I had been posting on my social media to promote the show and linked to the gallery. I noticed there made no posts and also no mention on their website, in fact had another show listed for January
When it was 3 weeks to the show I emailed the owner who I had been dealing with over email and politely mentioned I have been posting and directing people to their social media and website but there is no mention and that another show is listed for January and just wanted to check in to make sure we're still on. No response.
A week later I wrote another email to "check-in" and received a response that she has been very busy and has just posted the opening on their website and made a facebook event.
I feel a little foolish, I am still linking to their social media via whatever I am posting through but they still haven't made any posts, although are posting once a week about their next show, after mine, as they are promoting a call for art. Or they post about just visiting in general, no mention of my show. They even "liked" my last post promoting the show that I tagged them in but still no post on their part.

I live about 3 hours from the gallery and emailed her to find out when is a good time to deliver the pieces for the show. She responded that she will be at the gallery on a certain date anytime after 12 noon and through to the evening. I said great. I'll be there at 2:00pm. I make the 3-hour drive on that date (this past Sunday) and...she's not there. There was another artist there working on his stuff and made it clear he has nothing to do with the show, couldn't answer any questions and to leave my work over by a wall and that I should email the owner- because she wasn't in today. AT ALL.
I was, of course, disappointed and really trying not to take this personally. She is clearly not focused on caring about the show she invited me to do. I emailed her when I got home saying she wasn't there but I was directed to leave my work by a particular wall (which I did with labels and inventory list) and I may have brought too many pieces (I didn't realize the space was much smaller than I thought) and I understand if all of them can't be hung but please make sure the ones I that posted on social media get hung (and listed the 5 paintings)
Nothing.
Does anyone have any advice? I'm actually nervous, she has my hard work from the past month, plus another 10 paintings. I am concerned at the disregard for any interest on their part in promoting the show and keeping plans or letting me that she couldn't keep plans to meet me after a long drive (I know she's busy, but I am too) The opening is Friday, so I guess I'll just show up and have to hope for the best.

Any words of wisdom from dealing with similar situations?
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Last edited by michelle.mcel : 12-30-2019 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Detail
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Old 12-31-2019, 05:04 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

I would not have left the paintings there. It sounds like this gallery is this woman's hobby, not a business. Did she ask you for any money to have this show? Because if she did, I suspect that leaning against the wall is all the show you're going to get. If that happens, write reviews of the gallery on Yelp, etc.

Everything should be in writing with any business, but especially a gallery. Because too many gallerists are at best incompetent and at worst just plain thieves.

Last edited by Harold Roth : 12-31-2019 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 12-31-2019, 07:10 AM
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michelle.mcel michelle.mcel is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

I know, I am having mild panic attacks about leaving the paintings there now.
They did not ask for any money.
I saw the gallery space that they will be hung in that the current show is in. Today is supposedly hanging day and I'd almost take off work and drive 3 hours up there but with no answer and a snow storm going on up there from now until 4am I don't know if I'd risk driving the three hours up there and possibly find it closed due to weather.
I do see on their social media that they pretty much don't promote ANY show, just a post the day of the opening and closing.
But I just don't know what to do about the paintings without being sick to my stomach that I left them there, as annoying as her lack of response is, I chalked it up to being a small NH gallery that is more of an "art center" with classes and resident artists and she for some reason has other artists show but doesn't seem to care.
I had only read good reviews of this place online and she was responsive at first then...got busy.
I'm actually losing sleep over this now and wish I never left the paintings there.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:51 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

Well, if it's art center with classes, then it's probably not going to care about selling any paintings. I got involved with a gallery like that here. It was basically a way for the owner, also an artist, to make money selling their own paintings and doing the lessons. At least the other artist saw you leave the paintings off.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:40 PM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

If I were you, I'd drive over and pick up my paintings. Lack of communication, as you have probably figured out, is a huge red flag when dealing with a gallery.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:45 PM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

But I do see your show listed here: https://42maple.org/project/michelle-mcelroy/
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:43 AM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

I was thinking maybe they got bogged down because of the holidays. I wasn't thinking about them, but I myself got pretty bogged down this year. I hope that was the issue and that everything goes well for your show. I like your art.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:38 PM
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

Thanks everyone for your comments! It actually turned out fine, I went to the opening and the director was super nice, I know she may have been busy before but to tell me to say she'll meet me at a certain day and time when I live 3 hours away and not be there, and then not apologize is very different than the person I met at the opening. Just weird. I'm just glad it worked out and all of my work was nicely displayed. I will definitely not leave work without someone to sign off on the inventory again!
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Old 01-11-2020, 12:08 PM
Harold Roth Harold Roth is offline
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Re: Advice for dealing with a difficult gallery?

Glad to hear it!
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