I have officially submitted my work!
Most of yesterday was spent researching galleries and submitting my work. I was dismayed at first by how much time this took, but in retrospect I learned a lot. Hopefully the following four insights are useful.
1. The VAST majority of galleries in San Francisco are not accepting unsolicited submissions.
This took me a bit by surprise, but I can imagine how inundated they are by the sheer number of aspiring artists the Art Institute and Academy of Art are pumping out.
2. Most galleries require an Artist CV.
I had no idea there even WAS such a thing! I found a pretty good how-to over at ArtistTerms.com, but as I've only ever shown my work at the USF Thacher Gallery (but I won best in show!), I didn't think a one-line CV would be all that impressive. So I didn't write one.
3. The review process takes FOREVER.
I had been warned about this previously, but I don't think it really hit me over the head until yesterday. Some of the gallery websites flat out said "If you don't hear from us within 4-8 months, we weren't interested in your work. Do not call us." Damn! I really find it hard to believe that any one gallery would get SO MANY submissions that it would take 4-8 months just to get through the backlog. I have never worked at a gallery though, so I don't really know what goes on behind the scenes.
4. Just because the galleries are choosy with artists, it doesn't mean artists shouldn't be choosy with galleries.
So, I crossed off all the galleries that weren't accepting submissions, as well as those that weren't geared towards painting and emerging artists. I further narrowed it down to galleries that were small ( so I could actually fill the space ), galleries that didn't specifically request CVs ( ya know, cause I don't HAVE one ), and galleries that also do group shows ( so they don't have to bet the farm on an unknown artist who's never really been hung anywhere before ).
Of that initial list of galleries I ended up with five high probability venues. I submitted to two yesterday (and the wine bar), and plan on hitting up the other three today. I'll post a list of the five, with contact info and submission details, a little bit later today. Hopefully it can help anyone else looking for a place to hang their work.