Fighting for your Rights, as an Artist
Didn't think it would come to this.... I'd been at the Blackhawk Gallery in Danville for 7 years. Had lots of laughter with the Management staff, which are also exhibiting artists. I've held the position of Director of Publicity for 2 years with their supporting non profit organization ADAS / Alamo Danville Artists' Society (which all were exhibiting artists at the gallery), and clocked in more hours of gallery work and demonstrations than anyone else in the gallery.
After a year of adding 3D Resin work, along with my 2D painting work to the gallery which I did for the last 6 years, I find myself pushed into a corner, days before a new exhibition and set up for that exhibition. Fees to exhibit have been paid, I pay twice because I'm one of the rare people exhibiting 2 different categories. It's a coop so we all have to work the gallery and have been given shifts to work, so I work twice the amount of shifts, and helped out hanging periodically when needed.
I have through the years created Art Live Demonstrations, created Meet Ups at the gallery and worked tables out front of the gallery, all to bring people into the gallery that might have just walked by. My thoughts were that if I do all this work, not only do I get something out of it that might produce in sales, but the gallery of artists will also reap the rewards and have the opportunity to have sales. The management always remarked on how hard I worked and was grateful and very sweet.
Periodically I would have to spell it out, my new ideas to create activity, because most were not familiar with retail strategies other than just hanging their work in a gallery. Many had never worked sales in their lifetime other than being available to ring up sales at the gallery.
I've dropped out because the NEW 3D set up requirements, according to their recent requests, do not align with how I want my work displayed. I also felt since the beginning the 3D curator spoke to me in a dismissive manner, rude and insulting, but not only to me, others in the gallery too. Others mentioned it to me. She told me one thing and then turned around and denied it. She is a sculpture artist and wanted 3D work to be sculptures only, not my Art & Function 3D pieces. She wanted to be a jewelry artist, but that position was given to me when a coveted spot opened up. She asked me why I was chosen and not her... She had something against me and there wasn't any way out of that, so I tried to be around her as little as possible. I tried as tactfully as I could, to deal with the situation, but to no avail, our differences stuck out like a sore thumb.
After last minute changes (a few days before the new opening) and an attempt on my part to work with the management, it just didn't work out. I withdrew my work from the exhibition and requested my fees be returned because I was not going to use their service and exhibit my work in the gallery. Their answer was a simple No. Sighting my last minute withdrawal and not considering their last minute demands, for changes in my set up.... definitely not a 2 way street.
It lead me to request they reconsider their decision to keep my fees, because they were the ones making last minute requests for changes in my 3D set up, that I did not agree upon when I paid my fees. Their negativity has left a bad taste in my mouth, but has taught me a lesson. *Never work with a gallery unless they are a Progressive Gallery, such as myself as an artist. Never work with a gallery unless they were open to new ideas. Never work with a gallery unless they give their artists time to decide, if changes are made, to continue with their representation of your work or not.
Life is Short and not worth the headaches put upon you, in order to exhibit your work. Now I feel FREE! The heartaches was few and far between, but it has cost too many sleepless night.
Pictured: My display of Art & Function work in the Blackhawk Gallery, taken by the New President of ADAS and Publicity Social Media person, who is also the Assistant Director of The Blackhawk Gallery. She felt it was good enough to promote in the last exhibition, but now feels different and voted against refunding my fees. What?! Who does that!!