Those of you who follow my Facebook Page may recall that I submitted artist applications to a couple of art galleries in my local city a little over a month ago. This may not be that big of a deal to most people, but you may remember, outside of my safe-zone of cyberspace, I am incredibly shy in real-life. Walking into an art gallery with the intent to ask about submitting my work, IN PERSON, was something that took me awhile to convince myself to do. (I’ve sold in galleries before, but that was a few years ago and it’s been awhile.) After gathering the courage, I selected a couple of galleries that I thought my bead work would be the best fit for.
One of the two quickly responded to my submission with a general “We are not accepting new artists at this time.” Okay, fine. That is understandable, especially since I sell jewelry and accessories which can be a pretty flooded market anyway. But more importantly, the OTHER gallery I submitted an application CALLED ME BACK. They sounded really excited about my work and asked me to bring some samples in for judging.
“Your prices are great and I think you will be a really great fit for our shop,” the woman who called me told me. Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I quickly rounded up some samples of my items to bring in. I tried to grab at least 1 of everything that I sell. 1 bracelet, 1 necklace, 1 headband, 1 ring, 1 pair of earrings, 1 lanyard, 1 hair clip, 1 barrette, etc.
About a week later I got another call from the gallery, from the same woman who had called me before. She told me it had passed level one of the judging process. Basically, that meant if I only wanted to do a visiting artist contract I was approved for that. (Such a contract would mean a 40% consignment fee would be taken from my sales, or $70 a month, whichever ended up being greater, and I would be limited to 3 months of selling time.) “Or you can apply for a full-membership,” she suggested to me, encouraging me to do so. A full-membership sounded like a much better deal. Only a 20% fee would be taken out of my sales, or $45 a month, which was greater. Also, I would get more gallery space and more say in what went on in the shop. Members had to work at least 3 shifts a month as part of their deal, but that sounded like fun to me, and totally worth all of the benefits that came along with it.
However, in order to be given full membership, every single current member would have to approve of my work, not just the 3 or 4 who already had approved me for the visiting contract. Feeling confident and excited at this point, I told the gallery I would like to be considered for full membership. And then I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the gallery to finally get back to me. Like, almost a month eternity.
Feeling pretty confident, I began making new pieces, saving them from being listed in my Etsy shop to be introduced at the gallery for the first time. (Once I was approved, that is, but surely they would approve me. The people I had talked to really liked my stuff, so they probably all would!) So I’ve been working away… looking forward to the moment when they would finally call me telling just how much inventory they’ll need to fill up my space!
Finally… I got the call.
The same woman who had been so enthusiastic about my work before didn’t sound quite so excited this time. “Everyone voted. You’ve been rejected… from both a full membership and a visiting membership.”
Wait… WHAT!?!?! Not only did they reject me from the second level of membership, but they also rejected me from the contract they had already approved me for! How does THAT happen? I had been so SURE that this would go through. I had been so excited to tell of you that there was now a cool local place you could go to check out my stuff in person. I had been SO READY to tell my family and friends about it. SO EXCITED for them to all feel PROUD of me. Now… now I feel like I’m back at square one.
I was very courteous and nonchalant when I was told the reasons for my rejection. First being my color combinations/choices. (Oops, did I pick too many wild color schemed items for my samples? I hadn’t really even thought about it.) Secondly, the metals of my findings. (Remember that GREAT PRICE that I mentioned earlier? Yeah I couldn’t do that if I used solid gold earring hooks instead of surgical stainless steel, sorry.) These were valid enough reasons I suppose, but having the artist’s heart that I do, I still can’t help but feel CRUSHED. Now it’s going to be even harder for me to gather up enough courage and confidence to get past my shyness to apply elsewhere. It may be a little while before I get past this episode and try again.