Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Scary Gallery Experience

Last month, I wrote about gallery experiences without knowing that I was about to face the worst experience ever. Just days after writing the blog, my sister, Jan, suggested that we call the owner of a gallery in Boca Raton which had three of my late father’s pastels. We hadn’t heard from the gallery owner in a while, and Jan thought it made sense to check in with him before the “Season.” She called him on a Saturday and was surprised to get his voicemail and no return call to the message she left. By Monday when we still hadn’t heard from him, I tried calling and emailing.

Feeling slightly paranoid when he didn’t answer either the calls or the emails, I decided to look online. I freaked out when I discovered that the website was down. This did not bode well. Clearly the gallery was closed, and what happened to our paintings!?! After some research, we located the property manager who confirmed that the gallery was shut down, but he was not forthcoming with the whereabouts of our pastels. We were very anxious for a day or two and then decided to call the Boca police.

Our talk with a police officer prompted the gallery owner to return our calls. He sounded devastated about the loss of his gallery and explained that he owed the property management rent money so they were holding the artwork hostage. More calls to the property management went back and forth until we finally reached their lawyer. We informed him that we had a signed Consignment Agreement, a legal document which required him to return the pastels to us.

Thankfully, in just a little over a week we had Dad’s work back. I’m convinced that without the Consignment Agreement our work might still be in storage along with all the other artwork we saw the day we picked ours up. I’m writing this as a warning to any artist who has work in a gallery without a signed agreement. I’m very grateful to J.B. Berkow, a well-known local artist who wrote the book What They Don’t Teach You In Art School. It’s a must read, and the agreement I use came straight out of it.

On a happier note, I’ve been enjoying the Unleashing Creativity Workshops so much that I’ve decided to offer my services as a creativity coach to individuals for private sessions. I met with my first client and found it extremely rewarding.

I’m also pleased to announce that I’m a featured artist for December in a Unique Art Gallery, 226 Center Street in Jupiter, along with Han, Lupe Lawrence, and Nancy Fried-Tobin. Everyone is invited to our Second Wednesday Open House on December 8, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. The theme is “Nurturing,” and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Loggerhead MarineLife Center. Jan and I are happy to announce that we will be showing Dad’s pastels in the gallery beginning in December. Another reason to attend the open house. Happy Holidays!

For the nurturing theme, I’m exhibiting my orchid paintings. The above photos are “Orchids in the Entry” which I just finished and “Orchids On the Fence” from a couple of years ago.