There is some debate in the art world as to the validity of Agora Gallery in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Some artists find this to be a respectable, even profitable way to exhibit their art, while many others have had experiences that border on scam. Agora has a pretty high profile reputation for this. Artists confront steep upfront costs to exhibit as well as commission fees. There are those who assert that Agora Gallery is held in low esteem by fellow Chelsea venues. The bottom line: you must decide whether spending thousands of dollars to put your art in a gallery of questionable reputation is the best way to launch your art career. Plain and simple.

  • Anonymous

    Agora Galleria has a new plot. They emailed out of the blue. Email didn’t come from Agora Gallery but from AGI Fine Art. It took me a while to find the connection to Agora Gallery, because it wasn’t clearly stated in the email nor on their website. The email came from the same person from Gallery Agora as before, but the email address they used was different
    This time I was asked to participate in fairs in Miami and New York and of course in a hurry. The application needs to be submitted in a few days for the Red Dot Miami fair. The fair is in December. ArtExpo New York is in April.
    AGI Fine Art’s website has been established 8 months ago (2022-12-30) and it has low traffic volume. If you look at that site quickly, you probably won’t connect them to Agora Gallery.
    Why do they want to hide the fact that AGI Fine Art is actually Agora Gallery?

    • Anonymous

      I received the same offer to be a part of the 2024 ArtExpo New York, via an email from Naomi Harris, with a strict submission deadline of September 12. I thought this was strange because the ArtExpo New York art fair isn’t happening until April 2024. By the way, her LinkedIn bio says she is a Gallery Representative at Agora Gallery, so I’m not sure why she is using a different email address ( for this new request. This seems like a scam to me. I also was requested to participate in an art show that was focused on digital work back in early 2023. There was a $35 submission fee, and I was able to submit up to 10 pieces – I never heard anything back from Naomi or the Agora Gallery.

  • Anonymous

    It’s been my experience in the 15 years that I’ve been painting that all calls for art have a submission fee. And that every gallery that has shown my work has required that I pay the shipping to and from those galleries. Out of the hundred galleries that I have shown that has always been the case. I also find that in this new age of social media galleries are suffering and sales are low. And that it is not surprising not to sell work at a gallery for such short shows. It is however a feather in the cap to have Manhattan gallery in your cv. I also was weaned on the idea that you should never pay to show your work. And that Jared shows are more desirable than showing next to a wealthy housewife who does this as a hobby. So I am not a supporter of vanity galleries myself but looking forward to this show.

    • Anonymous

      If you’ve shown your art in a hundred galleries over 15 years, that’s at least 6 shows a year. Please provide us your website or social media so that we can verify your claims.
      For every dollar you spend on these Pay to Play exhibitions, how many dollars have you gotten back? Are you a professional artist or is art just a hobby for you? How do you make a living if it’s not by selling art?
      Even though a Vanity Gallery is located in New York, that doesn’t make it any better. Agora Gallery has long been known as Vanity Gallery, for decades actually. These kind of galleries are not beneficial to any artists. They hardly sell any art and don’t look good on your resume. You can sugarcoat it as much as you like, but no prominent artist have Agora Gallery on their resume.

      It makes a big difference if the participation fee is asked to cover some expenses or if the participation fee makes a profit for the gallery owners. Please do some research on the subject. For example read Renee Phillips’ blog:
      “When I see a vanity gallery listed on an artist’s resume, I know they paid to have their ego stroked.”

  • Anonymous

    Why is this under Agora gallery?

    Galleria Huuto is quite highly appreciated gallery in Finland. Actually it’s not easy to get your artwork there to be displayed. You need to fill an application. Not all artists who apply are chosen to display there.
    It’s quite common in Finland that you need to pay some fee, but galleries like Huuto are not vanity galleries, because art there is very high quality and they don’t approach artists. Artists need to approach them and sent an application.
    There are no full blown vanity galleries in Finland yet, but few fishy ones for sure. Galleria Huuto is not one of them.

    • Anonymous

      They paid for everything? You didn’t pay anything at all? How much did you sell?
      Do you have a homepage or social media so we can check if you are real and not just another scammer? I believe you when I see the proof.

  • Anonymous

    There was a competition for Chelsea Fine Arts with a small fee of $35 and I was chosen to exhibit there in Agorra Gallery for no fee. Is it worth it to be in this show if the gallery has such bad reviews?

  • Anonymous

    They contacted me twice this week. They want to charge me fees just to send my work up there. Sounds very suspicious to me. I don’t know what’s going on, but it seems like there are a number of NYC people hitting up people on Instagram. Be careful, art friends.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been asked about them too and looked in when I was in New York. the gallery was setting up for a show and it seemed to be a space for hire, nothing more.

  • Iryna

    Guys, how am i to act if i can’t finance the return of my 4 artworks from Agora Gallery Ny (after pointless exposition so i know now=too late)?
    I didn’t plan anything for the case of not selling anything, how did thát happen?!
    And gallery never mentioned this possibility.. and there’s nothing of this topic in our contract! OMG…

    Please help…anybody?! 🙁
    I would be sooo greateful!
    +31(0) 6446 12039

    • anonymous

      if that is there policy there is not much you can do, I’d call the police, i’d also call better business, i’d make a complaint on more forums, and most of all I would call the gallery and ask what you can do in this situation, and try not to show with a gallery that charges you again, and never assume that all the work will sell 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I’m an attorney and work a lot with artists, your message intrigued me… I decided to check out their site… the first thing that I noticed is that on the FAQ page they clearly state that they do not make any promises that the artwork will sell… sorry but that voids your claim that the gallery never said that there is a possibility that the artwork will not sell…

      I actually just noticed that the agreement is available online and couldn’t help myself and took a look… once again I wish I had better news for you but it is clearly spelled out that you are responsible for the cost of the return shipping… furthermore it even states that artwork that is not retrieved becomes the property of the gallery. This is standard practice in such cases and I suggest you try to discuss with the gallery how to return your work in the most economical method possible.

      I understand your frustration but must tell you that, from my experience, it happens often that an artist will not sell anything when participating in a collective exhibition… it’s just the way it is

      • anonymous

        As an attorney you may be correct about the wording, but it is still deceptive. It is not that an artist “Expects” to sell work, but traditionally, galleries take 50% of sales, and do not charge the artists to hang ther work. Everyone wants to sell and knows that is not guaranteed, but for Agora, sales are beside the point since they already made their money on artist fees!
        Imagine this – a book store tells publishers that you can sell your book in our store but there will be a “fee” on top of the sales (if there are any). Or imagine a consignment shop (which is what a gallery is in a sense) asking the person who is giving then items to sell for a”fee” to get involved? It may happen but it is a a rip-ff and not how 99% of galeries work.

  • Roy Secord

    Another “pay to play” vanity gallery. And aside from that, if you are a professional fine artist, it is the perfect venue to put on your artist resume to get a professional “black eye” by the arts community.

  • Oscar Riquelme

    Stay away!!!
    Years ago, when I first move to NYC I went around Chelsea galleries, in a mostly fail attempt to get a gallery, art dealer or curator to see my work.
    At this point I have been living from my art work and projects in Austin Texas, where my art career developed in a very organic way.
    As I went around trying to distribute my portfolio no one even bother in looking at the work or talking to me seriously. (Now I also understand that that was the wrong protocol)
    I only got two places to look at my work, one was a gallery that commented that my work was not postmodern enough, and then there was Agora Gallery.
    They sent me an email raving about my work, and promising the earth and the sky and the stepping stone for a successful art career.
    But the first meeting o had with them I realize there was something very fishy about it.
    They basically wanted to charge me thousands of dollars to become a “artist in residency” with right to some wall space to show my work and my work featured in their own “art magazine”
    But I notice right of the back that they did not have any artist represented for more than one show. I looked up an artist that had shown there in the past.
    He told me that it cost him a bunch of money, they did not sale a single piece of work but at least he could put in his resume that he had his own NYC art show which back in his country was kind of a big deal. Specially because no one really was familiar with the reputation of this gallery.
    I would say stay away!!!!
    There is no merit in showing there you are only proofing you are one more sucker this vanities galleries have preyed on.

  • Amanda BATES

    When a gallery in the USA contacts an artist in the UK (my web address and email address both indicate my location) then you have to wonder. Either their research is unbelievably bad or they’re up to something.

  • DM

    I applied for one of their “open calls” once, years ago, when I was still an undergrad and 19 years old. Still in school, no exhibition experience, still very much developing as an artist – very green. I got a voicemail from one of the women that worked here, raving about my work, about how “wonderful” it was and how “they’d love to represent” me.
    I spoke to one of my professors, who is a represented artist at a reputable and known gallery here in New York, and asked him about this place. He laughed. He said that it’s a vanity gallery, that no serious critics or curators ever set foot in there, and that they will not only charge you an arm an a leg to show some of your work, you’ll also be asked to “volunteer” your time to help run it, sit at the desk, etc.
    He said the whole idea of “pay to play” galleries preys upon artist’s desire to “get discovered” and be famous, etc, but in reality it’s a joke. Save your time and your money and focus on your work.

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