Sabrina Gilbertson: “Working in a gallery has taught me that being an artist is not just talent, but dedication to the practice”

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Agora Gallery has been bringing artists and art collectors together for over 35 years. We’ve had the honor to work with many talented people and we are very proud of the team we have created; therefore, we think it’s about time our artists and collectors get to know us a little better through a series of interviews with our gallery staff.

We wouldn’t start this series of interviews with anyone other than our Gallery Director — Sabrina Gilbertson. An artist herself, Sabrina has a BFA degree from Boston University and has been with Agora Gallery since 2008 in different roles, including Assistant Director, as part of the team led by former Director, Angela Di Bello.
Sabrina has worked in the New York art industry for over 14 years, coordinating and curating exhibitions and art fairs, and supervising the promotion of artists from around the world. Passionate about art for as long as she can remember, Sabrina celebrates contemporary artists and is devoted to the exploration and advancement of their artistic careers.

While working at the gallery, you’ve created a family. Do you have any advice for artist moms out there who are striving to be successful while raising their children?

Sabrina A. Gilbertson, Director of Agora GallerySave room every day for your practice. The daily list of responsibilities as a parent feels endless, and finding balance is something I admittedly struggle with often. Dedicating time every day to your studio, if only for ten minutes, makes a huge difference. I’ve learned that keeping space for myself and creativity, even when it feels impossible, is not only necessary, but makes me a better mom, and sets a great example for my kids as well.

What is the biggest challenge as a gallery director?

There are many challenges, which is what makes what we do so energizing! I would say being able to think quickly on my feet, as well as outside the box, can sometimes be the most challenging, whether that’s in designing a new exhibition, or creating relevant pathways to connect our artists in an ever-evolving market. Luckily, I have the support of a truly talented, dedicated team at Agora – open communication makes for a highly dynamic workspace, where we not only share such challenges but celebrate our collective achievements just the same.

Is there something you would want to improve on?

Slowing down. In such a fast-paced environment, it’s easy to get swept up in the constant movement; however, I think some of our greatest successes are in those quiet moments when we can step back with clear eyes, and be open to a fresh perspective.

You are an artist yourself. How has working in a gallery changed the way you approach a new piece?

I no longer wait for inspiration. As artists, inspiration is obviously the drive behind what we do, yet there is a natural inclination to wait for it to come to us. This goes back to making daily space for the studio. Working in a gallery has taught me that being an artist is more about dedication to the practice than anything else. Regardless of how I feel about the art I’ve made on any given day, it’s about the commitment to simply create – in being faithful to the process, the inspiration will always come.

Sabrina A. Gilbertson speaking to a guest at Agora Gallery

Art fairs or gallery shows? They say artists need both. What’s your take on this?

Art fairs and gallery shows create unique opportunities and invaluable exposure for artists, yet can bring very different audiences. Exhibiting at both is a good way to maximize visibility in tandem, and to angle interest from one market to the next.

Looking to develop your artistic career and build a presence in New York City and worldwide? Book an online career development consultation meeting today.

What superpower would you like to have?

Time travel!


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3 responses to “Sabrina Gilbertson: “Working in a gallery has taught me that being an artist is not just talent, but dedication to the practice””

  1. Karen H Salup avatar

    Hello! I’ve been a professional artist for over 43 years. With that commitment, I have three successful daughter that have been definitely influenced by my career and are quite talented in their own careers.
    I started out as an Impression painter running from their school days and errands, and came across a mentor that told me “that Your not painting from Your soul” after 13 years under his mentoring,
    I’m an Abstract Expressionist, painting in different mediums and from nature and emotions and intuition!

  2. Lionel Harry Malo avatar

    The interview with Director Sabrina was lovely. We know a little more about you and your vision.

  3. konstantina konstantinova & ignat konstantinov aka KONKONS avatar

    To find out You are a fellow ARTIST is my best NEW YEAR’S GIFT!
    With Artful Blessings to You All in Agora! HAPPY ’22!
    Sincerely yours,