Not My Job Description

I love working in an art gallery. It is a dream for an artist just starting out. You learn the ropes, get exposure, and feel a part of a special realm. I also love time in my studio when I am in the midst of creation. I feel blessed to have been born with aesthetic talent so that I have a ready road to personal fulfillment. I never thought about entering a different field such as business, medicine, education, or mechanics. My path was always laid out in one direction, or so my parents believed. I am earning my stripes in the art gallery and making art as I write. I feel compelled to share my experience to help others in the same boat—artists who want to make a living but with the kind of work they admire and believe in. I don’t want to have to compromise my values to please the public. Don’t get me wrong. I do want to please the public, but not at the expense of my pride.

Meanwhile I apply myself daily as needed in the gallery. This means sometimes doing things that I don’t feel are in my job description. I process the mail which includes a lot of images that would-be artists have submitted for consideration. We are very selective about what we show so I have to answer them back. I keep tabs of inventory and pull out work from storage to show clients. I clean up after an opening and help serve the snacks. I update the computer with new purchases and client information. All in all, I have a lot of variety going on. I love greeting people as they come through the door and most of all like discussing the current work on view. The gallery is in the business of selling art so I never deter people from making an acquisition, even if something is not my taste. But I never would push a painting on a novice art lover just for the sake of a sale.

Something was added to my job description the other day. The gallery director was concerned about the air quality in the ample space and wanted me to select and install a new air purifier. What could be harming the paintings? It didn’t matter that I know: I now had a task. I set out to research the subject and stumbled on a mid-size unit that would cover our square footage. It was the type that people use in hospitals or children’s rooms to help those with allergies breathe better.

There is nothing specifically made for an art gallery. There is an expensive model for museums to prevent chemicals from reacting with the artwork, but this is not what we needed for sure. I got a regular air purifier that per the product description would clearly do the job. The museum purifiers have fancy settings that can be changed according to the climate. I think what I found will do nicely. Cleaner air is around us.