Janet Kaiser on thu 5 jun 03
Those gallery maps have always been a bit of a bugbear to small independent
galleries like The Chapel of Art, Carol. They are like the listing of
performers in top Westend shows... You have the stars at the top of the
bill, but does anyone list the chorus line? Not a chance! It does not
matter that is where the Stars of the future are lurking... Oh, no..!
Put in a nutshell, we simply do not have the necessary funding to make
certain we are included in any of them... Whether nationwide CPA or Crafts
Council maps or the more limited trans-regional ones. And now that Northern
Ireland, Scotland and Wales have separate Art Councils, it is even more
difficult to gain recognition outside our own country/region. Very definite
borders between England, Scotland & Wales in the Art World as well as the
political world these days and so we become more and more parochial and
inward looking... Sounds familiar? Exactly so!
However, inclusion in these approved gallery lists/maps is not just a case
of payment per se... There apparently is a typically British solution in
that "selected" or "approved gallery" status correlates with being "high
profile" which in turn means that the powers that be know all about a
Gallery. How do they know? Because Gallery ABC spends big money on regular
advertising and after several years (around 10 or 12) it will be a "known
gallery". Then the gallery applies to the Craft Council of Britain (for
example) for inclusion and they send some "expert" (read: someone who is
personally known to a member of staff or other associate, who happens to
live in or be visiting the area) to check incognito on the gallery, to see
if it is up to "their standard".
What is their standard, you ask? Well you have to have a majority of the
work on exhibition made by people on their "approved artist/makers list".
If these "approved artists/makers" are not represented in the gallery the
day of the check, you do NOT get included as a recognised gallery. Does not
matter what the GENERAL STANDARD of the work is or the standard of
exhibition, the ambience, display, access, amenities, knowledge/expertise
of staff, commissioning services, exhibition policy, specialisms, etc. etc.
of the gallery are... You don't meet THEIR criteria, so you are plain out.
No listing, no dot on their map. You are just another gallery... One of the
Now the New Gallery seeking official approval, selection and advancement to
Star Status has a choice... Compromise their successful exhibition policy
and deny all the great artists/makers they have been exhibiting but who are
NOT already part of the Establishment OR invite all those Big Establishment
Names who are already known nationally and internationally to exhibit.
Guess what we chose to do? Guess why we are not on those "approved gallery"
lists and maps? Yup! We stuck with the local, regional, national and even
international "unknown" guys and gals with Big Names only here and there,
now and again. Aren't we silly?
Seen from the artist/maker's point of view: To get listed as an "approved"
artist/maker a good exhibition listing on a CV is absolutely vital, but if
you are not already "approved" the "selected and approved galleries" will
not show your work... A real Catch 22.
And yet... Now get this for a mind boggling caveat: An application from an
artist/maker who can list The Chapel of Art on their exhibition CV (I have
been told) helps them to be accepted, because we have an excellent
reputation for the high standard of work we exhibit thus giving emerging
artists a recognised achievement level and status... Can you believe
that??!?! We are therefore good enough for "talent spotting" and giving our
sign of approval for the Establishment, yet not good enough for a listing
as one of their "approved galleries". Go figure? I have been trying to
figure it out for years!
Big Galleries even send touts round to galleries like ours... They need to
become acquainted with the Stars who are emerging from the chorus line and
small specialist galleries are rather like sitting in the front row of the
theatre... Head hunters in disguise? Well, I suppose it is a similar
Artists/makers may think it is a queer old world, but they should add a
little gallerist experience to the equation and look at it from our
perspective... They would then see it is not just a little odd, but
completely and utterly MAD! No wonder I never made the Big Time either
formerly as an artist/maker or now as a gallerist. The whole Art
Establishment is so biased in the way it works. I cannot say "crooked"
because everyone knows how it works and lives with it, but it is not to say
that it is fair.
So that is the "politics" of the situation, Carol! Hope you are impressed!?
*** IN REPLY TO THE FOLLOWING MAIL:
*** From: Carol Tripp
*** E-address: cjtripp@HOTMAIL.COM
*** Sent: 04/06/03 Time: 08:51
>Ceramics Review, published in London, puts out a Gallery Map each year.
>They call it a "guide to ceramics galleries and selected museum
>across the United Kingdom." It comes free with the magazine, but I expect
>one could order a copy via their web site. Do a google.
>But, not all galleries are included. Janet's is not and I wonder why.
>Perhaps galleries must pay to be on the map or they must advertise in
>Ceramics Review. I do not know the politics of this.
*** THE MAIL FROM Carol Tripp ENDS HERE ***
TRUTH is too precious to tell every fool who asks for it...
****** This post was sent to you today by Janet Kaiser *******
The Chapel of Art / Capel Celfyddyd
8 Marine Crescent, Criccieth LL52 0EA, Wales, UK
Tel: ++44 (01766) 523570 URL: http://www.the-coa.org.uk
kruzewski on thu 5 jun 03
Janet said -
> Those gallery maps have always been a bit of a bugbear to small
> galleries like The Chapel of Art, Carol. They are like the listing of
> performers in top Westend shows... You have the stars at the top of the
> bill, but does anyone list the chorus line? Not a chance! It does not
> matter that is where the Stars of the future are lurking... Oh, no..!
And that's a real pity, because any "stranger in town" wanting to visit good
galleries and using this gallery map will miss out on some excellent ones.
What surprised me, when I saw it, was not the galleries that were included
but those that were not - it's about as much use as a chocolate fireguard
here in Wales, so few does it list, so I never refer to it.
Makers like me rely on the public finding galleries like The Chapel of Art,
which is not only a gem for the customer but Janet and Eckhart have to be
the best people EVER to deal with from an artist's point of view. They
SUPPORT the artists they deal with. They are approachable, they are friends
in fact, to all of us. What is more, their accounting system is second to
none, they really do look after us.
It's a great pity that the powers that be do not recognise the role that
Janet and Eckhart play in supporting a whole community of artists here in
North Wales. The Arts Council should take a leaf out of their book - in fact
they should also give them loads of support and funding, they deserve it!
I'll spare their blushes now - except to say - sorry Janet, I can not
resist - Eckhart is really SWEET!
(grinning!) North Wales