Presentation key in business of art - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Presentation key in business of art

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Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2007 6:12 am | Updated: 6:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

In Scottsdale, the art gallery business can be hard to conquer, both for artists and curators. But now two schools are paving the way for easier access. The Scottsdale Artists’ School is hosting a lecture Tuesday called “The Gallery Perspective.”

The lecture will feature three experienced gallery directors discussing how they entered the business and what makes them successful.

Also starting Tuesday, Scottsdale Community College will offer a class

called “Gallery Operations,” which will allow students to plan gallery shows, learn how to create a presentable portfolio and talk to gallery owners.

Joan Griffith, director at Trailside Galleries, said presentation is key for artists who want to show in galleries and people who want to work in them.

“People come interview for jobs, and you wouldn’t believe how they come dressed,” she said. “Same with artists.”

Griffith, who will serve on Tuesday’s panel of experts, said artists need to know they can’t just pop into a gallery and expect to show their work.

“They need to have a good portfolio, know what the gallery is all about and know if they’re a good fit for the gallery,” she said.

Those who want to work in a gallery also need to know what they’re getting into, Griffith said.

“A lot of folks think they’ll be selling beautiful art to beautiful people,” she said.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes going on. The bronzes don’t get up and walk around and place themselves.”

SCC instructor Rebecca Ross said she spent 20 years figuring out how to make art a business.

“Had I been able to take this class 20 years ago, there would’ve been much less headache, and I’d be a lot farther along,” she said.

In her class, she hopes to give the students hands-on experience in planning and marketing a show, choosing art and organizing an opening reception.

She’s hoping the experience will help students who want to work in galleries, but also students who want to approach galleries with their artwork.

“I’ve exhibited since the ’80s, and I’ve grown so much from my own work that I said, ‘Good grief, I need to be sharing this with students,’” she said.

The class will meet every Tuesday. There are still openings, Ross said. Prospective students can register at

‘The Gallery Perspective’

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E. Second St.

Tickets: $20, available for purchase at Scottsdale Artists’ School, 3720 N. Marshall Way, or by calling (480) 990-1422

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