Sunday, February 24, 2008

to Artists about Agora Gallery in Chelsea NYC Contests, Juried Competitions, Costs, Vanity Galleries

in case you've come across this info from a newsletter and to have all the info on Agora Gallery and all the facts in general...

New York, NY + 23rd Annual Juried Competition Agora Gallery of New York City is pleased to announce its 23rd juried competition. Awards valued at Thirty Eight Thousand dollars ($38,000) will be distributed as follows: exhibition at the Chelsea gallery, cash awards, Internet exposure and publicity in ARTisSpectrum magazine. The exhibition will take place in Chelsea, New York City. The gallery/artist split will be 50/50. In the spirit of giving, Agora Gallery will split its share of artwork sales resulting from the competition exhibition with Art Start, an innovative program that brings art and artists to homeless children. Deadline: March 7, 2008Information:

seems fine until you contact them and find out that in order to compete in any of their other competitions you need to apply to be represented by them, in which they quoted to me whopping $2950.00 fee.

agora is saying though for the 23rd annual juried competition that representation is not required... (meaning that is the one exception)

You do not have to be represented by the gallery in order to participate in the competition. Anyone, 18 years and older, is eligible for the competition. There is a small submission fee ($35 for an online submission and $50 if you mail in your submission) but you do not have to be a represented artist. If your artwork is selected for exhibition, the only costs you will have then will be to ship your artwork to the gallery for the exhibition.

For more information please visit:

here's a summary of what I've posted before about them when they contacted me about submitting for 'Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Fine Art Photography Exhibition' exhibition:

I received an email from an Agora Gallery assistant complimenting me on my website and specific images and that I would be a good addition to 'Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Fine Art Photography Exhibition' exhibition, a juried show run by the gallery director. I emailed back asking if I could just apply to the juried show and they said I would have to apply for gallery representation which would cost $2,950. I emailed a few photographers who have been represented by Agora and one answered back saying don't expect to sell anything, it's good for having an nyc show on your resume. That's crazy. How many emerging artists have $2950 to make themselves looke better on paper? More specific info from the email is below the following sentence...

They also wanted me to add their website link to their site, one where they had over 1300 photography websites listed. I decided against that given the nature of what they really want and stand for.

Thank you for your interest in Agora Gallery, established 1984 by a fine artist seeking to promote her work as well as the work of fellow artists. Agora Gallery is located in the hub of the Chelsea art district, 530 West 25th street , between 11th and 12th avenues. Please feel free to come and visit. Gallery hours Tues – Sat, 11am – 6pm.
All artists who are represented by Agora pay a fee for the advertising and promotion that we provide.
The basic representation cost is $2,950 which includes participation in a collective exhibition, promotion on two of our websites, a press release written by an art critique, inclusion in the exhibition catalog, personalized PR efforts, group invitation cards, ads and listings in New York publications.
Framing and shipping costs are not included in this fee and they will depend on the number of artwork that you will exhibit which will vary according to the level of representation that you select
Not all New York galleries charge a fee for representation, however many do.

Please visit to learn more about how NYC galleries work with artists. The commission structure on the sale of art is 70% for the artist and 30% for the gallery. We can not and do not guarantee that your work will sell and we suggest that you treat with caution anyone who promises that your work will sell.

I would personally avoid them at all costs! Rick Byerly


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  1. You are simply wrong - anyone can submit to the Chelsea International FIne Art Competition - you do not have to be represented by Agora to submit

  2. to ariel: if you read the blog carefully i note that agora says gallery representation is not required for the 23rd annual juried agora competition. every other event/ competition /show they do does require representation. i've also personally contacted artists who paid a lot of money to be represented and their feedback was to not expect sales but if you can afford it for your resume then fine. to me that is a ripoff and people should know all the facts.

    rick byerly
    pittsburgh galleries blog

  3. this is a vanity gallery..they charge the artist hefty fees for services that may be of mixed quality and the opportunity to say in their resume they have shown in new york. artist opinion on the web re this gallery is highly unfavorable. art critics do not review these shows, collectors and museums do not visit or buy. some even advise keeping agoras name off your resume. its the worst possible type of trap for artists. avoid it.
    google agora gallery and read some of the experiences of artists and former employees.

  4. Thank you for this post! I submitted to the Chelsea Intl. Fine Art Competition; the fee was small and reasonable, as for most competitions. Now on the Agora emailing list, I received a message today saying that, though my work did not make it into the competition, I can still be considered for gallery representation. I followed the link they sent me and discovered that I will have to pay a "representation fee" — of course, no dollar amount is mentioned. Thought that was a bit suspect and decided to consult ol' Google. That's how I found your blog! Thanks again for the warning and confirming my suspicions.

  5. Oh, FYI...I heard Agora used to be known as "Ariel Gallery," so don't be surprised if your first commenter, "Ariel," is somehow affiliated with this scheme!!!

  6. thank you for posting! yeah that's odd about "ariel"



  8. Thank you for this blog, Rick.
    I too have been contacted by the gallery and was trying to get an idea what they are all about. I couldn't see any info on representation fees up front and that was the first thing that got my "fur up". Thank you for disclosing this information. I see your post is almost two years old, so I imagine that fees are even higher for 2010. When something sounds too good to be true it usually is! New York contemporary art market is very hard nut to crack and many emerging and experienced artist who crave more exposure naturally feel excited when "New York" calls, since 46% of global art market transactions take place in and via the Big Apple.

    Thank you once more for this insightful blog!
    Kind regards from Canada

  9. thankyou, i was actually considering paying the representation fee (spending most of my savings cause the fee is almost $3000!!). I was wary of the whole thing but decided to google them. Thank god i came accross your blog and other peoples comments. THANKYOU!!!!!!!

  10. you're welcome! there are a lot of vanity galleries out there. to be honest any gallery asking for money up front isn't worth it- that's what their commission is for.


  11. I recently received an email from Agora Gallery. It all sounded good at first.

    I am pleased to have found this blog, which clarified what Agora Gallery is, and does.