Staging Your Own Exhibit

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Staging a solo or group exhibit can be an exciting alternative for anyone who has wished for more creative control over their exhibitions. Staging your own exhibit also means that you, the proprietor of the exhibit, must assume full responsibility for every detail—an aspect some artists enjoy, others see as an acceptable trade-off, while others find exhausting and overwhelming. If you are in the former two camps consider some of the following suggestions when organizing your show:

1. Understanding your work’s target audience will help you narrow down the venues and venue locations you may wish to approach with your pitch, giving you a better chance of a successful turn-out.

2. Develop your promotion strategy and material concepts early and include them in your pitch. If you are not a confident writer, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to work through a number of drafts of your written materials, or hire a writer to do it for you.

3. Develop a work-flow calendar (that includes publicity distribution dead-lines and permit dead-lines) for yourself, as well as for the people who will be helping you. Leave more time for each task than you initially think necessary.

4. When you have secured a venue, get a floor plan with accurate measurement of the space, and design your show beforehand to avoid any unfortunate surprises come set-up day.

5. Have your work ready for sale (if applicable) by documenting it ahead of time, labelling it correctly, and framing it (or getting it display ready) professionally.

6. Arrange for transportation of the work to and from the exhibit.

7. Make sure you have set aside a space declaring the title of the show and your name as the artist

8. Have brochures of your work available at the show, perhaps a catalogue, and a guest-book.

9. Make sure you promote your show in as many places as you can. Facebook and Twitter are great for letting friends, community members and clients aware that you are having an exhibit. Creating posters, invites and a press release are all great methods for making the public aware of your event.

10. Make sure to find out from the venue who is responsible for food and beverage for the opening.

11. Try to promote your event a least two weeks before the opening date. This will give all guests ample time to plan to attend your exhibit.


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