If you are an artist who wants to showcase your work to the public, you might consider organising an art exhibition as opposed to taking part in an art trail or open house. Gallery shows have been the primary instrument for artists to work through new ideas, market themselves, and receive critical feedback. Unfortunately, many galleries are now seeing a decline in footfall, especially smaller galleries, which is having an impact on their sales, and opportunities for new and emerging artists. The growth of online sales and art fairs has affected gallery visitor numbers which have resulted in galleries looking to other revenue streams. One of these streams that artists can exploit is in that many galleries are now making space available to rent for artists to put on their exhibitions. The artist takes care of the curating, marketing and administration, therefore, relieving the gallery of that side of the financial burden.
There are two main types of art exhibitions as an artist to consider, solo and group.
A solo art exhibition is when you exhibit your artworks by yourself, without any other artists involved. This can be a great way to express your personal vision and style, and to gain recognition and exposure for your work. However, organising a solo art exhibition can also be challenging and costly, as you will need to find a suitable venue, arrange the transportation and installation of your artworks, promote your event, and handle the sales and insurance of your pieces.
A group art exhibition is when you exhibit your artworks with other artists, either as part of a collective or a themed show. This can be a great way to collaborate with other artists, learn from their feedback and experience, and reach a wider audience for your work. However, organising a group art exhibition can also be complicated and competitive, as you will need to coordinate with the other artists, agree on a common theme and style, share the costs and responsibilities of the event, and deal with potential conflicts and disagreements.
Whether you choose to organise a solo or a group art exhibition, there are some common steps that you will need to follow:
- Plan ahead: You should start planning your exhibition at least six months in advance, as it can take time to find a venue, secure funding, create and select your artworks, and prepare for the event.
- Find a venue: You should look for a venue that suits your budget, location, size, and style of your exhibition. You can search online for galleries and museums that accept proposals from artists or contact local venues directly to inquire about their availability and terms.
- Secure funding: You should look for ways to finance your exhibition, such as applying for grants, crowdfunding, sponsorship, or donations. You should also set a realistic budget for your expenses, such as rent, transportation, installation, promotion, insurance, and commission fees.
- Create and select your artworks: You should create and select your artworks according to the theme and style of your exhibition. You should also consider the size, shape, and material of your artworks, as they will affect the transportation and installation process. You should also document your artworks with high-quality photos and descriptions for your portfolio and catalogue.
- Prepare for the event: You should arrange the transportation and installation of your artworks with the venue staff or professional movers. You should also design and print promotional materials such as flyers, posters, invitations, and catalogues. You should also invite guests such as curators, critics, collectors, media representatives, and friends and family to attend your opening reception.
- Enjoy the show: You should attend your opening reception and interact with your guests. You should also monitor the feedback and sales of your artworks during the exhibition period. You should also thank the venue staff and the other artists for their support and cooperation.
- Wrap up: You should arrange the de-installation and return of your artworks with the venue staff or professional movers. You should also collect any unsold artworks and payments from the venue or buyers. You should also evaluate the success and challenges of your exhibition and learn from them for future projects.