Gallery 101: Artists, Collectors, Gallerists and Art-Lovers

by Christine Benedetti, Time Out Staff Writer
Pretend there’s this artist who studied watercolor in college. Today, she’s an architect, but she makes time to paint on the weekends and at night. It's her passion, and it’s also a talent.

Sometimes people see her work and tell her she should take it public, maybe hang it in a gallery. The whole process overwhelms her, and she continues to paint for herself.

“Being an art center that serves the public and allows new artists to hang their work, we get approached quite a bit,” says Dasa Bausova, director of programs for the Wyly Community Art Center in Basalt. “A lot of people aren’t aware of how to go about approaching a gallery or an arts center. They don’t know how to begin that dialogue.”

To help with the process, the Wyly is bringing in David Floria for a conversation about “Demystifying Galleries” on Friday, Feb. 28.

Floria has a lot of experience on the receiving end. He’s the former owner of David Floria Gallery on Cooper Avenue and was the the curator for the Aspen Art Museum. Today, he’s a consultant and partner in the Quintenz Gallery, inside The Residences at The Little Nell.

“There are artists who don’t have a clue on how to approach a gallery and they may not be doing their homework in terms of what style, pricing or type of artist a gallery may show,” says Floria.
David Floria

By helping artists understand the process, he hopes to elevate the art community while also giving emerging artists a chance. He says they may not understand the politics and professionalism that goes into opening a gallery or submitting works to one, but his expertise can help.

He led a similar conversation at the Red Brick Center for the Arts three years ago, and the placed was packed and the conversation ran over two hours.

“It’s not something that I was taught in art school — maybe they’re doing it now — but I sense there’s a need for it in the community,” he says.

But both Bausova and Floria say the talk can go in any direction. Neither are limiting it to gallery introductions, because there are a lot of questions about the art world in general.

People view galleries as intimidating, both for the buyer and the artist, says Floria.

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” he adds.

Instead, he envisions a more transparent and accessible community. So, the dialogue could shift toward collecting, investing and gallery relationships.

The Wyly hosted Floria once prior, for a discussion about his perspective on contemporary artists. Bausova says that bringing him back for this topic on galleries meets their mission because “one of our purposes as a community arts center is to be a venue for artists who couldn’t be shown in a commercial gallery, and we have a unique position where we’re able to open doors.”

Expect curious minds, a full room and a lot of artists.

David Floria dedicates this talk to Stewart Oksenhorn.

“Demystifying Galleries” with David Floria
Wyly Community Art Center
Feb. 28, 5:30 - 7 p.m.
www.wylyarts.org