Behind the Scenes Look At an Invitational Art Exhibit
This week, I’ve been super busy with an upcoming exhibition for which I was invited to participate.
I’m so excited and looking forward to this exhibit. I’m one of five very talented artists who will be showing their works in this invitational art exhibit. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work.
Like always, I like to give you the behind the scenes of how these things come together. So, go grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage and come read the rest of this.
First, at the end of last year, I received an invite from the gallery to participate in this show they were planning. Initially, I wasn’t going to accept because at the time, I was so busy teaching a class and I didn’t see how I could have enough bandwidth to serve my students as well as give this the attention it deserved. But thank God for the persistent gallery exhibitions coordinator – Heather. She persisted. On one of the occasions she contacted me, the class I was teaching was finally over and I could focus on this exhibition. So, I accepted their invitation.
After that was done, the next thing was to discuss contract agreements and layout arrangements with the gallery. I did a detailed post on how to plan the layout arrangements for an exhibition. If you need to learn more then read that article.
Tip #1: Understand The Terms of Your Contract
When it comes to contracts, make sure you’re comfortable with the terms of the gallery/artist agreement. Understand what’s typically in these types of agreements so that you know what to expect. Review sample contracts or discuss with someone ahead of time. This way, if you’re ever presented with a contract that is not typical – has conditions you don’t like – you will be able to easily notice that. Whenever you’re uncomfortable with a contract, don’t feel pressured to sign it. Ask for time and run it by someone who can help you. Okay?
So, moving along, we agreed that each of us five artists will have our own space in the gallery to display our works. This way, we’ll create multiple experiences for viewers of the show, which we think will make the exhibit very interesting. The overall unifying theme will be that all five artists work in fiber and textiles. As a result, this is going to be a really interesting show for sure. There’ll be so much to see. Each artist will have between 10 to 15 pieces of their works on display.
The next thing for me was choosing those 10-15 pieces I’d like to display. This process as you know, if you’ve read my series on solo exhibitions, is called curating the show. To get a refresher on curating your own show go to the link above. Although, this is not a solo show, in some ways it is like one. I have to curate my part of the show – decide which pieces of artworks I’ll want displayed.
For this exhibition, I decided, I wanted it to be some of my representational art pieces rather than the abstract ones.
Below, you can see a selection of the art pieces I chose to display. Having a theme or some parameters is important in curating a successful exhibit.
Tip #2: Pack Your Artwork to Minimize Potential Damage
On delivery day, I had to load up my car with my selections to bring to the gallery. Here’s another tip. When transporting artwork on frames, you want to make sure that you stack them in such a way that either right sides face each other or the wrong sides face each other. You don’t want a wrong side facing a right side because the hanging hardware (wires, hooks) and staples on the wrong side of the art piece can easily scratch and damage the art piece when those two sides come into contact with each other. This is a tip I learned from a friend and it has served me well. You want to protect the artwork as possible using bubble wrap or sheets of fabric.
See how I loaded up my trunk using this tip.
When I got to the gallery, I had a packing list of all the artworks I was going to leave in their care. You want to definitely make sure you do this so that both you and the gallery are on the same page. There’s a lot of value (personal and monetary) tied up in your artworks. So protect them any chance you get.
Tip #3 Invitational Art Exhibit – Get a Receipt for The Artworks You Submit
Most galleries will have an inventory form for you to fill out as part of your consignment agreement/contract. Here’s a Sample Gallery Consignment Inventory Sheet. You should always arrive prepared with your own list, just in case. What you definitely don’t want to do is leave your artworks in the care of someone without a record of what you gave them.
If you use an art inventory management software, you can easily print out an inventory list for the gallery from that software. Examples of Art Inventory Software are GYST, Artwork Archive, and others.
If you don’t have such a system, I created a printout for you to use when dropping multiple artworks to any venue that doesn’t give you a receipt of what you gave them.
Download your FREE copy of a Personal Gallery Inventory Sheet
Print multiple copies and use them as often as you need. If all else fails and you’re in a bind, doing nothing is not an option. Make a handwritten list and have both parties sign as proof of receipt.
That brings us to the end of this behind the scenes of planning an invitational art exhibit. I hope you’ve learned something for your own professional art development.
If you’ve got questions, suggestions, or comments, be sure to post them below.
Stay tuned. I’ll bring you more updates on the exhibit as it progresses.
Related Topics: Professional Art Development Articles