Most people think the amazing artwork you created & have hanging on the walls at your Solo Art Exhibition is where you put all your energy. If you are like most artists who represent themselves as I do, this means that you are the person responsible for creating all the art as well as all the promotion that goes along with a successful outcome of your show.
When I had my third solo exhibition at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River, Long Island, New York, not being a prolific artist, I worked every day for years to fill three rooms in this historic Manor House with my artwork.
In the exhibition on display were my drawings, colored pencil works, abstract acrylics, painting in oil and mixed media paintings in acrylic and oils. Over 40 original pieces of art which I created in my studio, prepped for hanging, documented on spreadsheets, matted and framed when called for, transported and hung.
Most people think that an artist just creates in their studio but that’s only part of the process if you are a self-representing artist. There is plenty of creativity in marketing as well. Here is some more of the creativity that I put into an art exhibition.
Here is some more effort that I put into an exhibition.
- Solidify the venue, show dates, opening reception and artist’s talk dates and sign the contract, individual and shared responsibilities with the venue.
- Internalize and create towards the general theme of the show that will be the focus of the art and the marketing.
- Create a model of the exhibition space using accurate proportions for planning the quantity & sizes of artwork. Use either Architech’s drawings, graph paper, or a digital program.
- Create a spreadsheet for a working model of how many works you need & where they are in the creation process
- Analyze the amount of time you need to create the artwork. Be realistic.
- Capture WIP images to promote the upcoming show, both stills and videos.
- Continue to post about the progress of the work on social media to raise interest in the upcoming show.
- Write about the work regularly. Some for publication and some for understanding your process & progress.
- Create a postcard to snail mail and for handouts. Mail the postcards to the appropriate people in your database of contacts.
- Create newsletter content to email to your mailing list with both images & text: I use MailChimp
- Send emails to your list regularly months before the show opens, showing photos of the WIPs & talking about the process. Ie. the thoughts behind the work, the mediums, the tools, etc.
- Continue to post to all social media channels about the preparations & creation of your work.
- Write & send press releases to your publication list in your database well before the opening of your exhibition.
- Create price lists to distribute with your letterhead and contact info. I use Excel and put images of each painting next to the title so it can be easily identified by potential customers.
- Design business cards, handouts, bios, and takeaways & get them printed in or out of house.
- Keep your website updated with info about the exhibition.
- Post regularly to your blog to keep people informed about the upcoming show.
- Create wall signs with the # of the piece, title and medium that corresponds to the printed price list. (more info about each piece if you have time & QR code if you have them)
- Plan the delivery of your artwork, the protective packaging like bubble wrap or other protective material, the transportation, and the assistance you may need.
- Once the exhibition is up,
- give yourself a well-deserved reward before you start working on your Opening Reception menu and Artist’s Talk Powerpoint.