In order for an art gallery to be inviting to the public it must be accessible, engaging, and comfortable. In other words, one must be able to access the gallery, have the desire to go to it, and be at ease while in the space. This is necessary to sell the artwork and to promote the artists, and this thesis will explore the means of achieving it.
Access to art galleries has a role in the public’s view of art and its place in society. As compared to the history of art museum placement, the location of galleries is similar because they are both placed away from most of the population. Art museums were originally located away from the city and only reached by wealthy individuals and today are often in tourist areas. Art galleries are located in developing areas that the general public does not venture to; even when one can physically access the work, it is set apart from daily life and therefore associated with an environment that is not welcoming. While art museums exhibit work to celebrate the artists and educate the public, art galleries display work to sell it and promote the artists. Along with the result of this research as applied to Washington D.C., the city’s population data will be analyzed to choose an accessible location.
A successful example in the history of exhibition events, the Whitney Fundraiser for the NY Chapter of the Artists’ Equity Fund in 1953, will be used as the foundation for the elements needed in current examples of engaging and comfortable art environments. The Whitney Fundraiser determines what characteristics are necessary for creating a more inviting art environment and leads to research of current exhibits that create the same atmosphere. These examples include Soundscape 2007, “Workbook Project” by Ann Tarantino and Kate
McGraw, “5x5” at Target Gallery, and DC Mini Gallery. This thesis argues that all individuals are potential collectors. Interviews and research of collectors determines what drives one to collect. Compared to the results of why noncollectors buy the work hanging on their walls, findings demonstrate that a connection to
artwork is inherent in everyone.
Finally, reviewing examples of methods of promotion for artists and galleries will determine successful ways to reach these potential collectors. Finding effective ways in which galleries promote the artists they represent, gain exposure for the space itself, and methods of self-promotion for artists, provide a basis for making the gallery and its artists known in the community.
All of these factors create a space offering art for everyone; in an art gallery that makes sales and promotes emerging artists because of its inviting environment.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Masters of Arts
Corcoran College of Art + Design (Washington, D.C.)
Masters Theses from the Corcoran College of Art + Design
The Corcoran College of Art + Design has non-exclusive publication rights. Permission is granted to quote from the thesis with the customary acknowledgement of the source. Copyright for each article is retained by the author. Republication in any form requires permission from the author of the thesis.