Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Show is in the Details

Preparing for the upcoming show involves so many details that I hadn't thought about until planning for it. For example:

*Every piece with a 4-inch sleeve and a label
*Exhibit insurance
*Signage (for entrance and throughout exhibit space)
*Clear acrylic rods for hanging each piece (and fishing line to tie to display hooks)
*Postcards to announce the event
*Business cards to have available for people
*A website
*Planning the reception and an activity for it
*Thinking about prices for each piece (and whether to ask people to call me if interested in a piece or have it posted at the exhibit)

What is done includes artist statement/promotional material, sleeves, insurance, postcards, business cards and the exhibit layout. The program has been drafted, and a website is currently under production. What is left to do is: get all the Plexiglas rods, plan the reception/reception activity, and consider how I'm going to deal with pricing the work and informing potential customers of those prices.

If anything, I've learned that an exhibit (regardless of the size) is a huge undertaking! It has so many details to attend to! Whatever you postpone up front (like labeling your pieces or not putting sleeves on)'ll have to take the time to deal with later because they are a must for any show. You must carefully measure your exhibit space to plan your show layout accordingly (especially if you are showing pieces in particular groupings) as well as the hanging system that will be needed for display. The venue for my show has hooks in a non-decorative crown molding element along its 13' high walls. So, I must figure out how much fishing line to get so that works can be suspended at an appropriate visual height. Don't be surprised, but there is a monetary investment involved. For me, that has included the cost of business cards, postcards and postage, Plexiglas, fishing line, signage materials plus what will be spent on the reception.

Consider, however, that how you showcase your work speaks volumes about how you present yourself, how you feel about your work and want it treated in the world, and how you are likely to treat prospective clients. So, from start to finish, do the best you can with the investment you are willing to make in showcasing your art for others to see! This includes choice of venue. I decided a while ago that Starbucks was not the type of place I wanted to hang my work. I've seen lots of paintings and watercolors hung in various Starbucks that after a month or so hang askew on the walls and none of the staff take the time to 'right' them. I want a space that is intended for the display of artwork, where it will be seen by an appreciative audience, and where the staff are easy to work with and communicate clearly. Ultimately, aren't these qualities you'd look for when considering a gallery in which to hang your art in?

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