At the Global Art League, the highlight of our year is the annual exhibition of emerging artists. An entire year of reviewing art, contacting art buyers, and marketing on behalf of our member artists all comes to a head. . . It’s truly a magical moment.
But we mustn’t get carried away—first and foremost, it’s also an exhibition. And while exhibitions come in many shapes and sizes, if it’s the type of exhibition where your goal is to sell artwork, it’s very important to ensure that the atmosphere is spot on.
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So, amidst all the details of hosting an event, here are 6 key points to remember when planning your next art show:
1. Don’t include every artwork
With art, there can be too much of a good thing. It’s sometimes difficult to choose which pieces to include in an exhibition, but choose you must, since over-populating your show can create a cluttered and chaotic feeling.
As you place your work in the space, remember to allow each piece room to breathe, and make sure there isn’t so much of it that people won’t be able to see it all.
2. Print legible title cards for your art
Too often I have seen emerging artists rushing at the last minute to scribble down the titles and prices on cards. It may seem like a small detail, but the details are the difference between just a show and a professional event. If you’re serious about selling your art, then these are the details you need to concern yourself with days before the event.
3. Keep the temperature. . . temperate
I once went to an exhibition of 3D art which used extremely bright bulbs to light up some cardboard figures. I could barely stay in that gallery for five minutes because the heat was oppressive, and the poor artist had to spend most of the night holding the door open to let fresh air in.
My guess is that none of the pieces were sold (although I am certain that lessons were learned).
4. Plan where your art will go, ahead of time
This might seem like an obvious tip, but make sure that you have visited the exhibition space a few times before “hanging day,” and have already thought about which pieces might work where.
As an example, you probably wouldn’t want to hang your largest piece in a narrow corridor space where nobody can quite see it. Instead, let the space dictate where each artwork will be displayed.
5. Welcome everyone personally
As the artist, it’s your show. You’re the host and you can make it your number one priority to welcome (by name) every single person who walks through the door.
For introverts this can sometimes be challenging, but don’t worry—you don’t need to have any long conversations. A simple, “Hello, I’m the artist, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Enjoy yourself!” will do just fine.
6. Offer a few creature comforts
And while we’re talking about welcoming your guests. . . nothing says “Welcome!” like a glass of wine and some nibbles.
Don’t go overboard—there’s no need to serve a three course meal. But some cheese, chips, and chopped fresh fruit are always very much appreciated and can help to put people at ease.