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Agora Art Gallery - History


Miki Stiles, MFA - Founder of Agora Gallery

Miki Stiles, MFA
Founder of Agora Gallery


Agora Gallery represents a diverse body of artists whose work is relates to the contemporary landscape of the 21st century’s international art world. The gallery strives to provide opportunities for artists to engage with the New York art world. Agora has been working to cultivate the careers of exceptional artists for over 35 years, guided by the artist-forward spirit upon which it was founded.

Miki Stiles – Founder, 1984

Miki Stiles was not just the founder of Agora Gallery, but a passionate and dedicated artist with a goal of making an impression on the New York art world. An actress, artist, and all-around creative individual, Miki studied at the School of Visual Arts to pursue her passion for art. She found in New York an art scene that was inspiring, energizing, overwhelming, and unfortunately, very difficult to break into without the proper connections.

For a long time she struggled to get representation at one of New York’s traditional galleries without much success. In 1984 she decided to open her own gallery to show her work and provide other artists, from all backgrounds, with the opportunity to connect and exhibit their artwork in New York City. Promoting artists who have no track record in a certain market is always a risk. Miki was not a rich person and in order to sustain the gallery she had to charge the artists a fee for which many promotional services were provided. The gallery has been doing just that for more than 30 years and still functions with the same passion and drive that Miki Stiles always had.

With a large street level exhibition space in the heart of the Chelsea art district and a wide variety of printed and digital artist resources, the gallery offers a spectrum of services to artists from all over the world of varying expertise and experience.

From SoHo to Chelsea

Agora's first and second exhibition spaces were located in Soho, NYC. At the time SoHo was the center of the art world, but as galleries made the area more desirable, space became, paradoxically, less available for galleries. The art scene there stopped growing, and eventually moved to Chelsea, which opened up a whole new world of opportunities. In 2002, Agora Gallery moved to 530 West 25th Street, in Chelsea, which had become the new center of the art world.

Angela Di Bello / Director of Agora Gallery 2001-2018

Angela Di Bello
Director of Agora Gallery
2001-2018


Angela Di Bello / Director 2001-2018

In 2001, Angela Di Bello became the director of the gallery and played an instrumental role in furthering the development of Agora for the next seventeen years. Born and raised in Italy, Ms. Di Bello was surrounded by a rich artistic and art historic culture, which was where her passion for the arts began. Her formal involvement in the fine art was born out of developments that contributed to the 1960’s art movement.

Prior to joining Agora Gallery, Di Bello was an entrepreneur in the arts, among other endeavors. Notably, she developed art programs for Fortune 500 companies in NYC, Connecticut and New Jersey, followed by a five-year tenure as director of The Gallery at Lincoln Center.

Always working closely with artists, providing one on one guidance and support, she discovered that building relationships with artists was her greatest fulfillment.

With her educated and visceral understanding of art, compassion for artists, and keen business acumen, Di Bello developed and implemented a crucial platform for Agora Gallery. This platform provides artists with a community of support, and allows for inclusiveness based on genuine need, talent, innovation, resolve and passion.

"Agora"?

Agora is a Greek word which means “open marketplace,” a place where people came not only to buy and sell goods but also to meet and exchange news and ideas – a place where everyone is welcome. The gallery takes its name seriously and is famous for showcasing a spectacular array of talented artists from around the world and around the corner as well as providing quality original art to a discerning collector base. Agora Gallery is also famous for our exciting receptions, which offer a unique opportunity for art collectors and artists to engage in a productive dialogue.