by Gina Fraone
As a longtime art consultant and gallery director, I see on a daily basis how tough it is for visual artists to navigate the strange, seemingly impenetrable “art world biz.” It can be so frustratingly difficult just to get your work “seen” by the right people who can help sell your work to private collectors and museums.
I have worked in the art gallery business for 16 years now and have witnessed firsthand the struggle for so many artists to get discovered. Seven of those years were spent working in New York City, where I saw how things can happen a lot more quickly for artists than in smaller cities. Surviving in a wildly expensive city like New York is no easy feat, but being in such close proximity to such a dense art scene can certainly accelerate your career in a way that’s hardly possible in a smaller city like Boston. In New York, there is always someone organizing an art show that will allow your work to get seen by people who can help fast-track your careers. (Whether that fast-track-ing is good thing or not is another matter for debate.)
What, then, can artist do in a place like New England, where the art scene is prominent and respected, but opportunities to show work are far more limited? Should you go to art school? Or get an MFA? Should you put a portfolio of images together and start submitting your work to your favorite art galleries?