Congratulations! You’ve selected your subjects, you’ve carved them out, sculpted them, drawn them, applied your paint, and you’re ready to show the rest of the world your strength as a visual artist. Whether this is your first exhibition, or your hundredth, the drill can be much of the same, but truly, every exhibition is different because you’ll always have the opportunity to meet a variety of people, and personalities. Your exhibition can be as boring or as exciting as you want it to be, so don’t hesitate to add a little of your own personality to the event. After all, people are there to celebrate and admire your work, so they should know the person who’s responsible for the wonderful creations.
You want to make sure that every piece in your collection is ready to go to a home. Its can be very hard for artists to say that something is perfect. For some, it’s only finished when it is perfect, but this is impossible. Getting to a finish can be a difficult process, but you can get there. Once you’ve gotten all of your work complete, take a good look at your paintings. Do they need to be framed? If so, what type of frame should you use? Do your sculptures need to be displayed on a specific pedestal? Make sure you’ve taken that into consideration, too. Another good thing to consider is creating a certificate of authenticity for your work. This way, your clients know that this is your original work.
This can be the most tedious part of the process. Calling around to local art galleries, checking for their availability, visiting them to see if the space can be made into something that fits your needs…all of this can be both stressful and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is best to take your time deciding. Choosing the wrong space for your exhibition will have a negative effect on your event. Once you’ve started narrowing down space, make absolutely sure that you see the spaces before renting them, and measure the places which you would like to showcase your work. Some work can be enormous, and some can be swallowed up by the space itself. Make sure that your space fits your work.
Getting your work to the gallery can be a challenge hassle. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in moving and storing art, so you will have the option to call someone who will handle your work with the love and care that it deserves. Make sure that you find a company who will not only deliver, but can assist with set-up, whether you have a dozen heavy pieces, or just one. Once your items have arrived at the gallery, you will need to oversee the placement, and the lighting. Without making sure that both elements meet your criteria, you risk having some of your work being overlooked for an easily-remedied reason.
You should have an idea of how you would like for your exhibition to go. It is recommended that you give a speech, or ask the owner/operator of the gallery to speak about your work. This may incur a speaking fee, but it will be worth it to those attending your exhibition who do not know you well. After the speech, you have free reign over the events, but be mindful of the time that you have the gallery for your exhibition, and don’t go over your time.
This can be difficult for those of us that don’t like to talk about ourselves, and some artists are introverted, or are shy. A short speech can cover where you’re from, and your favorite mediums. A longer speech can begin with where you’re from, and eventually get to your favorite mediums. If you’re not shy, you’re encouraged to share some details about your life. Maybe talking about how you viewed art as a child and as an adolescent, how it was that you discovered your love for creating, and how you honed your talent. In either case, it is also worth mentioning whether or not your formally studied art, and your favorite artistic medium or mediums. You can even mention things that you enjoy that aren’t art-related. Maybe you like sailing, fishing, or finance. Don’t feel that you have to share everything, or that you can’t share anything. Better knowing the person that created the artwork makes you more relatable for clients, who often seek art for their own homes, to connect to something beautiful, and for their own enjoyment.
You would be pressed to find an art exhibition that did not include refreshments. While you should never feel obligated to provide refreshments for your guests, classy events, like art exhibitions, always attract more people with food, beer, and wine. If you already have an established clientele, that’s wonderful! You don’t have to worry about unrealistic expectations. If you’re a budding artist in the professional field, it would be wise for you to cater some snacks and drinks. Cocktails can absolutely be included, so you can have the drinks of your choice. Your guests will enjoy every bite, and feel more relaxed as they take in what you have to offer.
Bringing a guest book for everyone to sign is strongly recommended. You can ask for names and emails for art exhibitions that you will have later. It is also strongly recommended that you bring sales slips, as it is always possible that someone may fall in love with your work, and need it in their home.
When your evening is set, you’re dressed your best, and ready to talk to people about your hard work, it’s time! Don’t forget to smile, and be polite to everyone that you meet. You never know whose business could be the one the brings you into the homes of a multitude of others. Don’t be afraid to sip the wine, nibble the appetizers, and listen to what clients think more than you feel like you have to explain.