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In the mid-1980s, driven by the lack of regular press coverage for their exhibitions, five of the Pioneer Square galleries (Davidson Gallery, Equivalents, Linda Farris Gallery, Foster/White Gallery, and Greg Kucera Gallery) decided that a monthly publication, released in anticipation of First Thursday, would guarantee coverage for each month’s shows. Shortly thereafter Linda Hodges Gallery, Francine Seders Gallery, MIA Gallery and Cliff Michel Gallery joined. Published in 1985 under the name Pioneer Square Exhibition Magazine, these galleries pooled mailing lists and postage costs making it possible for the group to reach many more potential art patrons, instead of the 3,000 to 5,000 they could contact individually. The initial fear of giving one’s clients to fellow dealers by sharing lists, proved to be unfounded. Initially printed in a tabloid format in black and one changing highlight color, the publication expanded in 1996 to a handsome 8.5 x 11 inch format printed in color and with an expanded circulation of almost 25,000 per month at its high point.
From the start, the publication has been made possible only by the remarkable cooperation and mutual trust of its members. The galleries have combined their mailing lists to achieve the massive list of addresses to which they now mail. The mailing list has never been sold or borrowed though occasionally an insert for civic institutions and events has been allowed. The galleries rotate for the page positions and for the cover illustration. The design of the pages is done by each gallery to preserve their aesthetic identities. The founding members have always made policy decisions, though the participation of new members is decided by the full membership of page holders.
Over the next few years the publication grew to include galleries outside of Pioneer Square. To reflect this wider representation the name was changed to Seattle Gallery Exhibition Magazine. In 1986 ENCORE Publishing took over the printing and management. ENCORE changed the look and quality of the publication and gave it its slick magazine presentation and a much finer resolution to the images. The back cover has always been a simple street map of the area. As of 1995, the map included several notable galleries who did not have pages within the publication but are important to the scene here. To be more inclusive, the monthly gallery exhibition magazine was turned over to The Seattle Art Dealer's Association (SADA) in 2005 and has continues to be the primary “face” of the Seattle art scene for more than thirty years.
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