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Tips on Getting Your Work in an Art Gallery (and what we look for)

Displaying your artwork at the Art @Bentall Gallery is an incredible opportunity. Highlighting your hard work can lead to new buyers, new connections and help with taking the next step in your career as an artist. Below are tips to improve your chances of a successful application and ensure your artwork is gallery-ready. We love to help artists and display their art. By following basic guidelines, it assists us in our role of supporting your success.




Professionalism / Quality of Work

The content of your artwork is subjective; it is the quality of the work that will get you accepted. As small as they may seem, little mistakes are noticeable. Things such as holes in the canvas, fingerprints, pet hair and the canvas smelling of cigarettes should be avoided. Remember to fill in any spots that were missed due to the easel clip obscuring the canvas during creation.


Always ensure works are ‘clean’ by implementing simple techniques like painting to the edges of your canvas and making sure no glue is visible for a mixed media piece. You would be surprised how many artists show up without clean edges. To paint to the edges, you can either carry the painting over the sides or paint the edges black or white to keep it clean. If you are carrying the artwork over, paint the edges away from the painting so the piece appears clean.


Unity of Exhibit

A collection within an exhibition should have a cohesive theme. Different elements in each piece should create a sense of wholeness and completion on a gallery’s walls. Unity can be achieved through similar lines, shapes, colours, materials, textures and themes in each piece of a collection.


Check out the space of the gallery that you’ll be exhibiting in. Although white space is important, ideally, the collection will fill the whole space rather than leaving large blank gaps on the wall. Consider the dimensions of the whole collection. How do they fit together? It is preferable to have pieces the same size to promote consistency and unity.



Framing

Frames are not necessary for Art @Bentall Gallery, but other galleries might differ. Frames risk drawing attention away from the piece, but if used, they should be complementary. Consider the weight of the frame. They could inadvertently make the piece too heavy to hang. Additionally, be aware that some purchasers may ask to purchase the work without a frame, or in a different style or colour of frame.


Installation and removal of work

For showing at the Art@Bentall Gallery, all pieces must have a wire installed on the back to allow them to be hung safely in the gallery. Wires protect work from being knocked off the wall. Artists are also encouraged to buy damage insurance to mitigate any mishaps to their artwork.


The artist is also responsible for transporting the artwork to and from the gallery, so don’t forget to plan ahead. Remember weight is a factor, so do your due diligence regarding whether or not the gallery walls have the support required to hang exceptionally heavy work.

Publicity and promotion

The first step in promoting any artist is creating an online presence. This information helps us and other galleries learn about who you are, what your art is about and what makes you stand out. Ensure you include a detailed yet concise bio. Make sure your bio, website, and social media pages are up-to-date, relevant and easy to read. The more detail you provide about yourself and the collection, including any fun facts, the easier it is to promote (and more engagement is garnered!).


We will help promote and support your exhibition at the Art @Bentall Gallery by displaying the artwork on the website and posting it on social media. We also encourage artists to post and share about themselves and their current exhibit to their audience.


Alongside social media, networking is important to support your career. This involves nurturing connections and leads, including collaborating with galleries, art fairs and festivals in order to increase your own network. As one of the many membership benefits at VVAF, we assist artists in obtaining representation at other galleries. We have an established community and we are happy to help you grow yours.



Photo by @doukisarika

Inclusion and inspiration

Here at the Visual Art Foundation and subsequently the Art @Bentall Gallery encourage and prioritize highlighting diverse and underrepresented groups. In your bio, include a little about where you are from and how you fit in with our values.


Tell us about the inspiration behind the collection, and share any interesting background stories. Art lovers and potential purchasers like connecting to the artworks that have a story, or spark a dialogue, as they see it as an extension of their own personalities.

Don’t forget the basics

All submissions need the following to ensure accurate labels are on the artwork:

  • Title of the piece

  • Medium used

  • Dimensions

  • Artist name

  • Year

  • Price

Art @Bentall Gallery creates the labels in-house for consistency. Other information required in the application includes your availability to show your work in an exhibition, as each showcase is a month long. All galleries are different. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask about the application and commission rates.

Do your research

Many galleries have an application page on their website. Do your research on requirements; firstly, to help educate yourself, and secondly, to show you are dedicated.


Click here to apply to the Art @Bentall Gallery.


Remember, if you don’t apply, the answer will always be no. So, why not try? What have you got to lose? We can’t wait to hear from you.


Written by Wendy Cooper

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