Ferrara, Jonathan

In this colorful webinar, gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara describes his path to international success, along the way sharing myriad details of how his gallery operates and emphasizing the all-important reality of the market.

“Someone once told me that I’m a mother gallery or a breeder gallery. I’m like, “What is that?” They’re like, “Well, you find them, birth them, and develop them.” And the caveat was, “And hope they don’t get stolen.” That’s what my career has been based on. The artists I have relationships with, they’re not just one year or two years…. I’m not interested in a one-off show, I’m interested in somebody’s career.”

Jonathan Ferrara was born and raised outside Baltimore, Maryland. He finished high school in Western Germany after his mother was transferred to a US military base there, then returned to America for a degree in international business from Penn State. During the recession of the late 1980s he briefly worked as a bouncer at a Boston-area Hard Rock Cafe before becoming an banker. Ferrara began painting in the early 90s, and he moved to New Orleans as a fundraiser for United Way in 1992. After several years he quit the corporate world altogether to devote himself to painting. In 1995 he opened the gallery and artists’ collective Positive Space together with three other artists, and three years later he left to open his own space, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. The internationally recognized gallery features artists from around the world and shows at a number of art fairs, including VOLTA, Art Basel, and PULSE. Ferrara regularly produces major exhibitions beyond his gallery, and he is the co-founder, producer, and curator of the Annual No Dead Artists Juried Exhibition. He also serves as President of the Board of ARTDOCS (Artists Receiving Treatment Doctors Offering Crucial Services), which he co-founded in 1999.