Planning an Exhibition
In the next few months, I will be exhibiting both my limited edition photography still lifes and watercolor prints in various venues. Looking forward to showing my work is exciting, but there is also much planning that goes into these events. There are several important considerations I take into account before any exhibit. These are relevant thoughts for my personal exhibition planning and they may help others in preparing to show their art:
1. What do I want to exhibit?
During the pandemic I created numerous still life photographs in my studio. Currently I am focusing on the theme of Still Life for my upcoming photography exhibits in 2023 and 2024. I also paint watercolor landscapes. Prints of these will be exhibited this July/August.
Select artworks that have a common theme. When exhibiting, the art should tell a story that each work continues as the viewer admires the collection. A group of disconnected themes is distracting and may prevent the show from successfully getting the artist’s perspective on the art across to the viewer. That is not to say that each piece should be the same and/or a replicated image; however, a common thread should connect the works: landscape; portrait; cityscape; cityscape v country life; red compositions; dark v light; nudes and so on.
2. Where do I exhibit?
I was very fortunate to be offered an exhibit in a wonderful NYC gallery when I first considered showing my still lifes during the 2022 winter.
Finding a gallery in which to show your art may be challenging if a gallery and/or agent does not represent you. Here are some options for exhibiting your art that I have taken advantage of throughout my career:
· Query local galleries and/or museums that appeal to you and that show or are interested to exhibit your art genre
· Libraries in your area may have space designated for exhibitions
· Public community buildings, such as meeting halls: make sure that these have traffic. There is no benefit to having an exhibit if no one sees your art.
· Upscale cafes, restaurants and bars: these offer many opportunities that benefit you, the artist because of constant traffic, and are advantageous to the venue because your art will draw customers in
· Outdoor public spaces, such as parks and art fairs
3. How do I represent and/or present myself to the gallery or venue manager/owner?
I have always used a variety of portfolio formats. Initially, I had a small leather binder with clear-sleeved pages. Whenever I called on galleries, I filled the binder with a collection of my themed art: architectural photography; watercolor landscapes; painted and/or photographed still life: each time a separate group of images I wanted to exhibit. I later used digital portfolios and my on-line website to appeal to curators.
If you do not have an agent or representative, create a themed portfolio of your best art in a physical and/or digital showcase. Do not include every work of art you have ever created. Make sure that the pieces in your portfolio work well together so that the person(s) granting you an exhibition can imagine your work in their venue. Be sure that your presentation is clear and concise. In a few minutes, you want to get your art across to the presenter! Make sure that the person is excited to exhibit your art and will advocate for you by word-of-mouth, signage, flyers, emails and/or even better physical mail (prospective clients can keep your image and be reminded of your wonderful art!).
4. Price your art for the showcase.
If you are selling your art for thousands of dollars, a coffee bar may not be the right choice of showcase. People spending less than $10 for a latte may not be thinking about a $3,000 expenditure on a work of art. On the other hand, pricing your art too low in a gallery that is frequented by individuals who want to spend money on great art, may create confusion in the mind of the potential buyer. Why is your work so inexpensive…..must be something wrong with it! Price to sell to the specific clientele who will see your art. If you are exhibiting only, with no intention to sell, be sure to alert the gallery or venue proprietor and the visitors to your show.
5. Promote your upcoming exhibit:
· Try to get yourself written up in local, national and international publications
· Post flyers in conspicuous places
· Tell friends and family and tell them to spread the word! If you have a mailing list, use it!
· Send out postcards with an image of your best work of art from the upcoming exhibition
· Use all your social media platforms to advertise your exhibition!!
Remember: Art is a two-way process—the creator + the viewer!
Get your art out there for your viewers to appreciate your talent
& all your efforts to create!