a respectful rejection
There are all kinds of rejections that eminate from the gallery world. Sometimes you don't even get past your first inquiry...like once in NY I asked a gallery person if I could submit my slides, and he asked if I had a NY studio and I said, uh, no, actually I'm from the Midwest...to which he sneered, "Then not a chance in hell!" Other times you get a form letter back ("Dear Artist") which is certainly better than no reply at all, which also happens. Or this--recently I got my SASE back with all the materials inside that I'd sent, including the cover letter, but absolutely nothing else to say anyone had even glanced at it, let alone write me a little note. Once in awhile you do get a nice letter, maybe even with something complimentary about your work. My favorite of that genre was this--"Your work is beautiful and intelligent, but unfortunately we don't feel it is right for our gallery." (I figured they must prefer ugly and stupid.) And of course there is the Brush-Off letter..."Thanks for contacting us, and we'll keep your name on file."
But yesterday, I had the nicest rejection I've ever had. The gallery director called me (actually, we had to play phone tag for awhile--but he persisted til he got hold of me) and explained in detail the gallery's situation and the reasons why he did not feel my work would go over with their particular clientele. But he seemed to think highly of my work, and encouraged me to approach other galleries in the area, and even gave me tips about how best to do that. He closed by saying he'd like me to stay in touch, update him every now and then. This was perhaps coming from personal interest in my work, rather than offering any possibility with the gallery, but I appreciated it in any case. So, though he and the gallery shall go unnamed, I offer my thanks to him--and this story as encouragement to anyone suffering a bleak "NO" from someplace. It's an intense, stressful, competetive business, but there really are some very decent and polite people running galleries (I know and deal with quite a few, actually.) In the context of a rejection, that is something to appreciate.