If you would like to know what somebody is really like as a person, just say the phrase “art gallery” in front of them and see how they respond. I am serious about this. When it comes to art galleries, people tend to have strong feelings about it. Many individuals who haven’t even ever been to a gallery tend to think of them as exclusive, “hoity-toity” and “fancy” places they are not welcome in. Contemporary gallerists and art dealers are very busy individuals who most of the time are juggling many things at once.
Given that arts education is lacking in schools these days, it can be exhausting to try to inform the public, and it isn’t always a priority for galleries that are attempting to stay afloat. Just imagine having to smile and saying the same things multiple times every day to every single person who visits the gallery and then none of them end up buying anything. However, that does come with the territory. I love art galleries myself. The following are the top ten reasons why I believe you should visit art galleries.
1. Free Admission: You know that saying about the best things in life being free. That is a great reason why you should visit art galleries. Just leave all of your fears at the door, go in, smile, and say hi to your greeter (if they have one), then walk around quietly and enjoy the amazing visuals. It is completely free. What is better than that?
2. Best Contemporary Art: You have a good chance of seeing the very best contemporary art, depending on the art galleries that you visit. “The best,” of course is subjective. However, many art galleries in the Chelsea district in New York City fit that description. However, there are amazing art galleries all around the world. So there is plenty to pick and choose from. Visit all of them is possible. That is what my goal is.
3. See Famous Art Today: If you check contemporary art galleries out now, it gives you the opportunity to become familiar with artists and their art before they ever become famous or during the time they are growing in price and popularity. When you do gallery hopping, it allows you to call yourself a trendsetter or trend spotter.
4. Meditation: Art is a type of meditation for me. Nothing can clear your mind and carry you away from the way that visiting art galleries can. I think the best thing to do is to visit galleries with either an artist friend or by yourself. Whenever I am by myself and looking at the art in the galleries, I can come with various solutions for life issues or come up with article ideas. It is a great time to commune with creativity. I have visited art galleries with artist friends like Scott Andrew Spencer, David Greg Harth, Matthew Beall, James Kennedy, Wolfgang Stiller, Deborah Bigeleisen, and others. There is absolutely nothing like this. It is like obtaining your education in art. Artists tend to see things that art professionals such as art historians don’t see. You can get inside the process of creating art whenever you are visiting a gallery with artists. It is fun and meditative. The great sense of wholeness and calm is often restored by art galleries. Art dealers tend to be under a lot of pressure and most likely won’t feel that way, but you will.
5. Creativity: Visiting art galleries is the best thing you can do to boost your creativity. If you want to unleash your creative juices, go to them as often as you can. It feels something like osmosis to me. Being around creative people and art does make you feel more creative. Don’t get all caught up in how just simply enjoy the process. Trust me about this.
6. Support Small Business: Too many of us tend to have the outlook “what is in it for me?” However, when you go to art galleries, you are supporting small businesses. If you don’t end up purchasing anything, when you visit an art gallery or, for that matter, any retailer, you are setting in motion a chain of various possibilities for them. Although possibilities don’t pay bills, it is still better than not having any visitors. You should take the power of attraction and word of mouth seriously.
7. Art Education: There are other places where you can learn about art besides contemporary art museums. You can learn a lot about art galleries. A great art gallery has friendly staff members on hand who will be able to tell you all about the art you are viewing and about the artist. You just need to conquer your fears (or go in anyway) and simply walk in the doors. It isn’t a pop quiz. Nobody is snubbing or judging you. They are busy with their agenda and work. If someone does snub you, just leave you and don’t go back to that specific gallery. It is just that easy. Smart galleries, by the way, know that being kind to visitors is the best thing to do. You never know where your next sale may be coming from.
8. Emotional Intelligence: Here is the true heart of the matter. When you open yourself to the experience of art, it lets the whole world of creativity completely transforms you as a human being. I am serious. Since I have started to visit galleries, collect, talk with artists, and viewed so much art, I have truly become more at peace, considerate, tolerate, freer, warmer, sharper, smarter, and of course more creative. Try it for yourself. Visit a museum or gallery once a month if possible. You will see what I mean. I truly believe there is a direct connection between a lack of arts education in our schools today, and how wretched, scattered, angry, cynical, and snarky society has become. We have lost our way. However, it is possible for us to reconnect with our greater values and ourselves. Art galleries and art are not the ends, but they are one path back to wholeness. That might seem like an exaggeration, but just try it out and see for yourself.
9. Community: One of the most important things that art teaches us is that were are something that is much bigger than just ourselves. You can clearly see this during a gallery exhibition opening. There is absolutely nothing like being in a crowd of individuals who truly love art. There might or might not be any experts in the audience, but either way, it feels fantastic to be in a group of people who all love art as you do. It really is cool. Just remember, the social aspect of large crowds and art openings often eclipses the actual art. I still think people come first, no matter how much I love galleries and art. Make some friends. Friends who love art are the best. Go to the gallery again when it is quieter so that you can truly focus on the art and have a chance to form a personal connection with. One year I remember I was with the artist Deborah Bigeleisen visiting Art Miami. She, of course, is aware that I write a lot about art and she asked me why I wasn’t taking any notes. However, at that time, I felt being with a friend was more important than getting wrapped up my private thoughts and jotting notes down constantly. As I said, people are more important to me that art is.
10. Lots of fun: Art is simply fun. Contemporary art requires you to spend a bit of time with it. Learn about it. See yourself in it, either bad or good. It can be a really fun and enjoyable process.