Many galleries require exclusive representation by geographic area or sales. They usually work on a commission percentage but some buyout at wholesale (very rare). Consult a lawyer before signing any contracts that are confusing to you.
Look for galleries that currently promote work in your genre. Go online for contact names.
Look for gallery listings in:
Artsy Listings of Galleries
Art in NY FREE Resource Guide
Gallery Guides Online Listing
Art in America/Annual Guide
The Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market
List of University Art Galleries and Museums in the US by State
The Art Guide
Go gallery touring when visiting large cities and make detailed notes.
Personal Identity Package & Promotional Materials
Many galleries are now accepting electronic submissions through PDFs
Reproductions of work
List of Works (title, medium, size, date, price, your name & copyright)
Copy of reviews where your work is highlighted
For print submissions use a SASE and comment card (write gallery name on it for identification)
Consistent body of work to show
Confident attitude and clear understanding of work and goals
Follow up on both acceptances and rejections/make notes
Find out when they want to see originals, ask about the responsible party for shipping costs, framing, hanging, promo materials, etc.
What is their commission?
Calculating Your Desired Income 100 - Gallery commission = your % of income received THEN desired income = RETAIL PRICE your % income
CO-Op Galleries: (usually run by a group of artists) each artist helps in operating and maintaining the space. A % of sales is taken for expenses.
Vanity (Rental) Galleries: You rent space and organize your own show and promotion of it. BEWARE!
Shops: Low budget art/ no promo by shop and usually run on a 50/50 consignment.
Fairs & Trade shows: Booth rental where you must have your own display (rain, shine, or wind), business forms, etc. Some trade shows are juried and have competitions. Some are in large facilities and run regularly.
Resume for Gallery Work Education:
Degrees: order of most recent (MFA, BFA) Art Institutions attended Artists studied under
Gallery Affiliation: Gallery name(s), Place
Teaching: List Schools, Colleges, Institutions, etc.
Lectures: Organizations, Institutions, Colleges, etc. Lecture Title, Place (City, State) Artist in Residences: Residence, City, State Project
Professional Affiliations: Organizations, Clubs, Memberships etc.
Exhibitions: Select One Person Shows and Group Shows
Awards, Grants, Fellowships: List Project and Organization Public & Corporate Collections: List Client and Place (ex: ABC Financial, Boston, MA)
Published Books & Articles: (written on your work or commissioned)
Annual TEFAF Art Market Report
Corporate Art Dealers/Consultants