I want to compliment and thank the Telegram and Bob Keyes for his excellent, courageous piece Dec. 7, “New gallery draws competitors’ ire by charging artists for exposure”. He presented exactly the dilemma facing today’s artists who are struggling for recognition.

Artists who, for whatever reason, have neither joined and paid Art Collector Maine’s exorbitant dues for gallery and magazine exposure nor have been anointed with recognition by the powers that be in the art world – that is, curated galleries, art centers, museums and art reviewers – are caught in the middle of nowhere. They cannot show because they have not shown.

On the one hand, some artists may feel that the tremendous reach of Art Collector Maine’s “pay-to-play” system is worth the cost, rather than waiting for the established system of more “substantive” art that may never come around. Who could blame them?

On the other hand, other artists may feel they don’t want to pay that price to be seen or to have the stigma of association with uncurated art that ranges widely in quality with the eyes of the beholder. They would rather hold out hope that their work will gain substantive recognition eventually by the arbiters of art values and that the resulting prestige will attract more informed collectors and higher-priced sales. Who could blame them?

One likely fallout from more public recognition of the Art Collector Maine system is that the handsome magazines, praised even by competing gallery owners, will undoubtedly lose their credibility as objective presenters of worthy artists and emerging trends and be seen merely as showcases for member artists and galleries that advertise in them. That would be a shame, but I don’t know how it can be prevented.

In any case, Bob Keyes laid out the situation beautifully, and I suspect he will draw a lot of feedback.

David Estey

Belfast