Today I was contacted through my Art Play Today Webpage by a gallery in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Initially I was flattered, until I did some research and found out this particular gallery wants their artists to pay a fee upfront to be exhibited in the gallery.
These types of galleries are called "Vanity" galleries...Here is the Wikipedia blurb on the difference between the commercial art galleries (that we all strive to show in) and the "Vanity" gallery...
"Commercial art galleries derive their profit from sales of artwork, and thus take great care to select art and artists that they believe will sell, and will enhance their gallery's reputation. They spend time and money cultivating collectors. If the artwork sells, the gallery makes a profit and the artist is then paid.
Vanity galleries have no incentive to sell art, as they have already been paid by the artist. Vanity galleries are not selective because they don't have to be. Many professional artists recommend new artists avoid exhibiting work in them, primarily because professional critics and reviewers tend to avoid them."
So I've learned a new and valuable lesson today! Always question things that don't sit right in your gut! I really wanted to believe that I was being solicited by a respectful gallery. But galleries don't usually solicit the artist, it's usually the other way around. I guess "Vanity" gallery really fits the bill, as they immediately play on your vanity!
I'm glad this happened to me, and hope that you can learn from my experience as well. Most artists like myself don't have money to burn...and I wouldn't want any of you to get burned by this type of solicitation!