Blog: Small Galleries and Emerging Artists in Today’s Art Market

Christine Alfery

Posted on April 09 2020

Out on a Limb by Christine Alfery

The art market is changing.  Inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about the changing art market I asked myself – what is happening to the small gallery owners who represent emerging artists?

If we follow the news we see that there are far too many small gallery owners going out of business and the sandbox is becoming a playground reserved for the big players and online shopping.   

If you look online at what is offered as “art” today, one can begin to see why wall décor is taking over the small gallery’s position in the art playground. With the loss of small galleries, what happens to the artists who don’t create wall décor?  Those who don’t create something to match the pillows on your sofa? Is there a place for artists who continue to work for individuality, freedom and value in their artwork? Those whose art tells a story and seeks a connection, like an heirloom diamond passed down within a family from generation to generation?

They too are being squeezed out and don’t have a playground to play in.  While I don’t want to be the luddite on the playground I also don’t want to sit back and have a bully kick sand in my face.  So what is the emerging artist to do? 

How do we continue to value independent creativity?  

Without small galleries, how are emerging artists introduced to the big players?

How do small galleries and emerging artists keep their spot in the playground of the art sandbox?

These are the questions faced by today’s independent players.  If you know the answer, please let me know. In the meantime I will continue to create and share my art with the world anyway I can, seeking my place in the sandbox.  I will create what I love, what I am passionate about.  

Art lovers, collectors and patrons must do the same.  The unique individuality that exists in the artwork of emerging artists today is filled with these passions.  We need to look for it and support it as best we can.  

Artists and art lovers alike, seek that passion rather than worrying about your place in the sandbox.  Seek creativity, seek individuality, seek freedom – don’t stop seeking just because you do not know your path or your place on the playground.  Focus on what you love.   

I am still hopeful, but like the modernists, I cannot create for the collective and for what sells, only for myself.   I will continue to seek my place, and in the meantime I will remain true to my creativity, holding true to my passion to sustain me. 

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