As an art director, part of my job is to visit exhibitions and not just the major ones either. I tend to visit many of the smaller, first time art exhibitions, not just to see the work but also to see how they have planned and executed the show. If you are thinking of holding your own exhibition, I have 10 steps that you should follow for success:
Step 1 – Theme
Having loads of art to exhibit isn’t enough – you need to have a theme to your show. This works as a marketing technique in that you draw in people who have an interest in your specific theme.
Step 2 – Collaborate
Don’t go it alone. Have a look for other artists and see if they want to come in with you. Don’t just stick to painting either – include other mediums such as sculptures, photos, etc. that match your theme.
Step 3 – Location
Scout out a suitable location, perhaps a studio that you can rent. If not, a large café, a warehouse, anywhere that has sufficient space and is clean. And don’t forget to check on restroom facilities either. If there aren’t enough, you might want to look at porta potty rentals. This website offers great information and pricing.
Step 4 – Date
When you set the date for your show, make sure you leave sufficient time to get it all together otherwise it will just look a mess. Try to include a weekend so that you target a wider range of people, perhaps families for a day out. Do try to arrange it for cold wet days so you are not in competition with the beach!
Step 5 – Pricing
Work out how much the show is costing you to put on – include all rental costs, materials, catering, anything that costs money – and decide if you are going to charge an admission fee. Then work out the prices for each individual piece.
Step 6 – Sales
Don’t stick at just selling your artwork. Get some cards printed with photographs of each piece and sell them in packs. You could donate a percentage to charity in which case you might find more people buying.
Step 7 – Red Tape
Make sure you have the correct licenses and insurance. Also, draw up a schedule, wok out the placement of each piece and the lighting. Have a price list to hand and, if needs be, hire people to help.
Step 8 – Advertise
Draw up ads and place them in cafes, restaurants, art clubs, anywhere and everywhere. Make sure the ad stands out so people see it. Ask your local newspaper to run a small piece advertising the exhibition.
Step 9 – Setting Up
Set up the exhibition in a user-friendly manner. It needs to be visually enticing but, if necessary, set up physical directions so the pieces are seen as they should be. Make sure your prices are visible to all.
Do you have any special guests coming? Make sure you set up a VIP area for them and don’t forget to look here and order your VIP porta potties for the day!
Step 10 – Catering
If costs allow, think about providing food and drink. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top, just a simple buffet and a choice of wines and non-alcoholic drinks. If you can’t afford to do this for each day of the show, just do it for the opening and make it an invitation only affair