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Behind the Scenes

Winding down from 2 big art shows in 2 weeks, I thought I would share with you a bit of the activity that goes on behind the scenes to prepare for such an event. To begin, I hate to admit it, but my husband has teasingly (or not), referred to my artist life as ‘play’, rather than work. He learned over the past several weeks as I prepared for 2 big shows at the same time, the error of that thought!

So what does it take to prepare for a solo or small group show? First, create the art. That is the obvious and what most people think of when they think of an artist’s life. Creating the art, and what goes into that process is the basis of most of my other blog posts, so check out my other posts for that.

What I will discuss here is all the ‘other stuff’ that an artist must do to have a show. First, one needs a venue. Networking, entering juried shows, being part of an artist community all are necessary to make the connections that MIGHT result in the offer of a solo or small group show. And that’s AFTER years of honing your vision and skill. This venue could be the highly coveted private gallery, but in many cases it can mean a local

senior center, coffee shop, restaurant, or other community space.

Visit the venue IN ADVANCE if at all possible. Look at the hanging system that is being used. Is it one with which you are familiar? If not, ask how it works! If it is nails in the wall, are you able to move the nails to create the best arrangement for your work, or must you work with where the hooks are already located?

Lighting!! If possible, try to view the lighting during both day and evening if that is when your work will be viewed. Is the hanging area evenly lit or will you have to work around areas where your work will be in a shadow? If sunlight on your work could be a problem, try to determine where any sunlight might be streaming in a window for several hours each day.

OK, you have a venue, what’s next? Decisions! Will the show have a theme? What work do you have already that would be appropriate and what new work might need to be created for a well-rounded exhibit? What will be the title of the show? What will be the dates? Will there be an opening reception? If yes, who is in charge of providing refreshments? If a print invitation will be needed, what art will be best for the image? Can you create the invitation yourself – you are an artist after all! But is graphic design where you shine? If not, who can you hire for that?

With those decisions made, and the artwork created, now it’s time to get prepared! I will delve into that in the next post. Stay tuned!

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