For our next installment of the Women Working in the Arts series, we profile the founder of The Get Gallery, Beth Tully. The Get is a Brooklyn-based boutique art advisory and digital gallery anchored by a love of art, and the vital role it plays in expanding and enhancing our everyday lives. The gallery focuses on the idea that art collecting should be approachable, attainable and fun.
Beth Tully is a former director of Fountain Art Fair whose career has spanned gallery sales, nonprofit leadership, artist management, independent curation, exhibition production, and advising on gallery shows, brand campaigns and art events from coast-to-coast.
Inspired by her years organizing, curating and consulting, Beth’s passion lies in establishing connections between creators and collectors, encouraging discovery, supporting working artists and independent galleries, and making original art accessible for all.
Beth was raised on Long Island, NY and holds a degree in Art History from Hunter College. She lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé and their two-year-old daughter.
What was your focus when you studied Art History at Hunter? Did you know then that you would eventually start a gallery or were you more interested in working for museums or art advising?
It’s wild, but when I started majoring in art history I was such a newcomer to the idea of an “art world,” I had no sense of what a career could even look like. I just knew I loved art and was fascinated by history and I relished learning about each through the lens of the other.
As I continued my studies, I loved the visceral thrill of visiting the Chelsea galleries. They felt magical, like spaces apart from reality where anything could happen, anything could be. I was really drawn to that. I wouldn’t say it was my plan to open my own Gallery at that time, but I definitely had it filed under “wild dreams.”
What did your early career path look like?
After Hunter, I took on an internship at Leo Kesting Gallery in the Meatpacking District and that really started me on the path to where I am today. The gallery hired me as a part-time salesperson after my internship ended. This was around the time that the Whitney was being built across the street and it wasn’t long before the gallery was priced out of the neighborhood. From there, I moved to Christina Ray Gallery on Grand Street in Soho, which was also an incredible experience. I was really inspired by Christina’s style and general brilliance. Her space, her gallery program, all of it was impeccable and I learned so much from her.
While at Christina Ray Gallery, I continued to work at Fountain Art Fair, which the Leo Kesting owners had co-founded. I loved everything about the fair, from the behind the scenes production, to the buildout and installation, to the actual fair and sharing it with the public. Being around so much art, and the enthusiasm and hope surrounding it was a big revelation for me. I understood that there were lots of different ways to share art, it didn’t have to be super serious and highbrow to be cool and it could even be fun. My focus was on exhibitor services, so I dealt a lot with the artists and the gallery owners, and developed relationships with exhibitors from around the world. It was so inspiring being around that kind of energy.
Throughout this entire time I was also working full-time as a nanny taking care of three kids. It was a hustle, but I was hoping to be able to turn my art dreams into a real career.
When did the idea of launching The Get come about? Where did the name come from?
Looking back, It was really a 6-year process with lots of major interruptions in between. I had been working on my own personal projects curating and advising after Fountain wrapped in 2014 and I really wanted to formalize that work into my own consulting business.
Then in 2016, my fiancé and I moved upstate. While we were living up there, I discovered I was pregnant, but just a few weeks later, I suffered a miscarriage. I felt isolated and disconnected going through something like that so far from home. The following year, as the anniversary of that loss approached, I was fiercely missing my art life and craving the beautiful, hopeful energy of those connections. I decided to start The Get on Instagram, just as a way to connect with people and share art I loved.
Cut to a couple of years later, we were back in Brooklyn and the pandemic hit. That summer, I found myself suddenly without a job, alone at home taking care of my daughter, who was still a little baby at the time. I had all this creative energy simmering and needed an outlet. I realized that, bizarrely, there was probably no better time to finally start my own gallery. Everything was going digital and I realized I didn’t need some fabulous piece of real estate to make it a reality. I embraced the idea of doing it virtually and steamed ahead.
I had so many ideas for names over the years before I started the Instagram account. One day I just said it out loud like, “The Get!” and it was just one of those lightbulb moments.You know that feeling when you see something and you just have to have it. That connection, the excitement you feel, the story you tell down the line about finding it, buying it - that’s the joy of “the get” I wanted to convey.
What were some of the early steps you took to launch your business?
I started focusing on the Instagram account and connecting with new artists and old friends. I wanted to convey my point of view while I worked on getting a website up and running. While the website was being built, I went through the process of establishing an LLC and all those nitty-gritty things.
I launched the website on April 1, 2021 with a very small collection of 8 works on paper. I added a few new artists in August and more in November. I honestly feel like I’m still very much in the building stages, I’m always thinking about the next steps. There’s a quote I’m inspired by from Arthur Ashe that Thelma Golden shared in the book In the Company of Women, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” And I really love that. I try to remember it when things feel overwhelming.
What is the mission that drives The Get? What would you consider your specialty?
I started The Get because I believe great, original art is for everyone and I wanted to help people collect art they love. I imagined this space as a warm and welcoming entry point. If you’re curious about collecting and don’t know where to start, let’s connect! If you're interested, you’re feeling inspired, but you don’t know where to look, we want to help you. It’s also about creating opportunities to support artists and galleries I admire, and sharing that joy with our collectors.
One of the things that I think sets us apart from the various online offerings is that it’s not just about our relationships with the Artists, but also working collaboratively with other Galleries and creatives through the Advisory.
Back when I was producing Fountain, I met hundreds of people representing themselves or running incredible spaces who inspired me beyond words. I realized that the “art world” that I had initially perceived as this cold, intimidating monolith was actually this beautiful galaxy of interconnecting communities, and that there was truly something for everyone out there. But, I understand it can seem very much like an ‘inside’ thing if you don’t know where to look. I want to help illuminate these spaces for people.
I think now more than ever, people are becoming super-intentional about how they spend their time and money, and the businesses they support. I want to contribute to this incredible arts ecosystem that gives us so much by offering this space for more people to connect and collect.
What would you say is most fulfilling about your work? And the most challenging aspect?
The most fulfilling aspect is when a sale comes through and I get to share in that joy with the artist and the collector and remember why I’m doing all of this in the first place.
The number one challenge for me right now is time. My daughter will be 3 in July, and she isn’t in daycare. It’s really difficult to think and work in bursts and starts, the creative energy really needs to flow. I’m learning to accept the process and just go with it. There are some days where I’ll get everything done and others are just a wash, and that’s OK for now. The flipside of that is it really forces me to be as focused as possible with my work and intentional about how I scale this business so that I can do it in a sustainable way.
As a curator, what do you look for when reviewing the work of new artists?
I’m a very visceral person, it's hard to describe in words but I know what I love, when I feel that little spark and I know something is really special. I look for artists who have a strong practice and point of view and are genuine, kind people.
Tell us what's coming up for The Get! How do you envision your platform growing in future years?
Our launch anniversary is April 1 and we will be sharing our updated website to celebrate. I’m thrilled to finally offer an option to pay in installments because I know that is a huge barrier to collecting for a lot of people. Even though we offer “affordable” art I understand that not everybody is able to spend $300 at the drop of a dime, so I’m super excited about that.
In the months ahead, I’m looking forward to expanding the Gallery, adding larger work and different mediums. I’d also love to organize some pop-up shows for friend’s spaces and maybe even have a booth at an art fair.
Longer-term, I still want to eventually open a brick and mortar gallery. It seems nuts, but I would just love to have a physical space to work, bring people together and show the art in all its glory. That would be a dream come true.
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