Cultivating a larger collector base is the biggest challenge facing Dallas art galleries, along with changing the attitude that one can only find “real” art in NY. Some even declare “I only buy in Santa Fe” ( I am not kidding!). In a city obsessed with appearances, money and celebrity, Dallas is not a place where folks root for the underdog. Oak Cliff sure is and I suspect it is one of the many reasons why people are flocking to it. When galleries have greater financial support on a community level, more of our galleries can afford to participate in international art fairs, thus getting our local artists “out there.” (It’s hard to do any art fair with international audiences at under 20k a pop and this is just for the smaller satellite fairs, and many galleries consider themselves lucky just to break even).
The quandary seems to be this: How do you get collectors/museums in Dallas to buy work by local emerging and mid-career artists who are creating work on par with and/or more relevant than many “brand name” artists shown in NY? How do you get collectors to buy international artists shown at galleries in Dallas? It is not just a Dallas problem, even galleries in international art centers outside New York share the same problem.
The majority of my business stems from inquiries from the internet, and most are from out of state and many are located abroad. Surprisingly few sales occur with Dallas clients. But the few clients I DO have in Dallas “GET” the importance of buying and supporting local galleries and artists. It’s not rocket science to make this work, it just a decision, really, to become engaged and financially supportive of your community. Rather than all of this gnashing of teeth over the issue, perhaps the city should have some sort of cultural fund that helps galleries promote their artists to an international clientele. It seems to me the most direct route.