There are times that art world events can be a little mystifying and as an artist you want to do things *right*. If you or artists that you know would like to have an art exhibit, here are some things we recommend in order to put your best foot forward!
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t *have* to have an art gallery or museum to put on an exhibit. Especially in Grenada where we don’t have many options – we advice using whatever you have available! Arts Council has been having pop-up exhibits for the last couple years in the hall of Spiceland Mall. Exhibits can be staged in restaurants, courtyards, fields, the beach or even your home. The important thing is to give your art the best chance of being seen and so you want to have an exhibit where there will be people!
Putting the work up
There are a few things to keep in mind when hanging work (paintings, drawings, photographs, etc.). Or setting up 3-dimensional work like sculptures or installations. One of the main things to remember is consistency. For example – it is typically a good idea to line up either the bottoms or tops of pieces on the wall. It is also good to look for similarities or relations between pieces and decide if having them close together strengthens your concept or distracts. Also consider what is the first thing that guests will see when they come to their exhibit – do you have a statement piece or a piece that gives context to the other art pieces? Do your pieces cause the viewer to see them in an intuitive way? The main thing to keep in mind is that consistency and some times the perception of your work can be affected by the way it is presented. For a more detailed approach you can go here: http://sageartsstudio.com/wp/blog/2012/10/20/how-to-hang-a-show/
Labels are a way of letting people know who did the work, the title, and what it is made of. Some artists leave the price off of the label because they want the viewer to look at the work without thinking about price. Some feature the price because the artist wants you to know the work is definitely ready to go home with you! Whatever you choose, the labels should be consistent and clear.
As an artist you may not always be available to tell someone about your work. At the same time, you may find that you are able to write down your thoughts with more clarity than you are able to explain them. Having a written statement for your body of work can give your audience a way to “enter into” your work or read it the way you intended. Statements do not have to be very long and should be concise and clear. Here is a link to good tips for writing your artist statement: https://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/art-bytes/dont-say-deleuze-how-to-write-a-good-artist-statement-54662
This may depend on who you want to come to your exhibit. If you want to keep it small and just invite close friends and family to see your work that is totally fine. If you want to reach out a little more it might be helpful to design a social media post with a site like Canva. There is also a case to be made for advertising on social media. It is relatively inexpensive to get a lot of views and you can tailor your audience. Also consider having your exhibit as an event and inviting people to it that way! If you’d like to go the extra mile, you could make physical invitations with a personal touch for people you definitely want to be there. Try and think if there are any specific types of people you want to come like writers, social media influencers or collectors! Remember that not everyone will come and many times it takes some time before you hit your attendance peak.
Refreshments are not mandatory *but* they help people stick around a little longer and it gives people something to do. It is also a courteous gesture as you are “hosting” the exhibit to provide something for your guests as much as you are able. You can either ask for donations or sponsorship to cover costs or you can figure the costs of refreshments into your expenses to have the exhibit. Typically for food you want to provide something small that guests can eat with one hand and is not messy. Wine is a popular choice for drink at art openings but one could also consider a rum punch or even non-alcoholic drinks with what you have available. One shouldn’t stress too much on this point as the main point is your art!
It is helpful as far as staying in touch with your audience to have a guestbook where they can leave their contact info as well as what they thought of the exhibit! This can also be a keepsake that you may want to refer back to for years in terms of how people used to respond to your work and how they respond now.
This will get you on your way! Remember that you will learn alot about something by actually doing it and so we encourage you to stage exhibits where ever you are!