Director, Bridgette Mayer Gallery
I usually sit and work in the front of my gallery on Washington Square to greet and say hello to my visitors. I love chatting with people. One day I was having a great conversation with a woman about the current exhibition and the gallery artists. We talked for quite a bit until she switched gears and asked if she could speak with the gallery owner, Bridgette Mayer. I told her, “I am Bridgette.”
It took her a second to recover. “But you are so young to be Bridgette,” she said, like she didn’t believe me.
I said, “But I am Bridgette. Would you like to see my ID?” We both laughed.
“I have been wanting to come into your gallery for years,” she said. “I hear so much about what you do. I just imagined an older, taller woman, with bleach blonde hair and a raspy voice. Your gallery is so mature and you are so young.”
I thanked her for the compliment.
Some people, young and old, walk into the gallery with preconceived notions about what a gallery is and what a gallery dealer is. The biggest misconception I have found is that most people assume that a gallery dealer is older. Or if you are successful, it must be because someone is financing your deal (in my case, I have no business partners and started with barely enough equity to make it through the first six months) or you are wealthy and have family in the arts that supports you (still not my case).
But I do have vision and sweat equity.
I recently sold an original contemporary painting to a young woman. She was just out of college; it was her first artwork purchase and quite a big sale. It was an amazing sale for me to make because of the excitement she had at 21 years of age to be adding artwork to her world. These moments remind me not to judge people based on age or status. They affirm the possibilities that are out there for artists and the community and both of them coming together.
I have been given cause to reflect time and again that when out in the world meeting people you never know whom you are speaking to. Never judge, assume, or treat people poorly. This is one of my mantras.