I am an artist owed over $2000 by Somerhill, from sales that go back to January 2009. I have spoken to both Joe and to staff at Somerhill prior to thej bankruptcy filings. I was not told when items sold, and not living nearby, was not able to "check-up" on the gallery. However, I was told many times that someone would call me back to let me know if anything sold. They never did.
I have met Joe several times and thought he was an honest guy. I now have learned from Somerhill staff that when items sold artists were not automatically paid. The book keeping system was set up to show sales of goods on consignment but It was up to Joe to decide who got paid and when.
Artists think long and hard about consigning work to an out of state gallery because the artist bears the cost of shipping, and the gallery has the option to reduce the price up to 10%, reducing the artist's take by another 5%. Yeah, I looked long and hard at the agreement before committing to Somerhill, and decided to enter into an agreement after researching the gallery. I've learned a very expensive lesson, and to those of you who think Joe is planning on paying the artists what he owes them, guess again. He told me he couldn't pay me. The trustee who is liquidating the assets told me I probably wouldn't get anything. Even though the the sales of my artwork occurred over a year and a half ago.
To those of you who are big fans of the gallery and are greatly offended by the suggestion that Joe might have done something dishonest (pause for some hand wringing), you should know that the gallery has been selectively paying (and not paying) artists for quite some time.
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Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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