Sandie Schroder gave an excellent talk about holding your own exhibition and what is involved and what to expect last November. This is a summary of the points she discussed, well worth a read if you wanted to head that way with your art.
The first thing you should do is write a submission. This you send to a gallery and along with a small portfolio of your works (usually in the form of either photo’s or a web page link ). Your submission should include the following:
- What medium you use
- The style of works you will exhibit
- How people can relate to it, what it is trying to communicate or express
- The methods of how you will contribute to promote your exhibition
- Your price ranges
When calculating your costs and prices Sandie said to keep in mind:
- The commission charged by the gallery.
- The weekly rent or base fee at the gallery.
- There might be a percentage of the charge for marketing that the gallery expects you to cover.
- The material costs for your art works including framing.
- There may be a charge for drinks and food for opening night.
On average costs can total up to $5000, but this can vary a lot depending on framing costs.
Sandie took us on a side note about framing. It is important to use the same moulding on all art works for a cheaper end price and a more cohesive look. It will give a consistent flow to the exhibition. As you are using the same moulding on each work it is also important to hand the work to the framer in bulk to save wastage and you might get a discount. Framing usually needs to be done a month before the exhibition.
The gallery will ask for pictures of your work before the exhibition with different resolutions, high, medium and low. High resolution is 2 – 5MB for the picture; Medium is 1MB and low is 100kb. Do take the pictures before you send them to be framed.
Obviously you need to produce the body of work to be exhibited but it does not have to exist before you put in a submission to the gallery. You can give them an idea and a sample but not have an entire collection ready to go.
If they say yes to an exhibition the gallery will also ask for your CV about a month before the exhibition. Your CV should have
- Experience in the art world
- Style of work including a bit of a spiel about your work
- Your art background
- A list of past exhibitions, awards and art collections you are in
The gallery will also ask for an Artists Statement. This is really a statement of the theme you have followed in this body of work and how you have interpreted the theme in your work, often artists include their influences and sources of inspiration.
Once you have made the work, framed it, and written about it, the gallery will ask you to make a consignment list with the name of each piece, the size and dimensions of the artwork with or without frame (something you need to clarify with the gallery as to which they require) and pricing (deduct commission, deduct materials and costs of exhibition) and come to a total price you are happy with. Don’t get caught pricing your work before framing as it looks better framed and it will influence your judgement of value.
Once consignment is finished you wait till 2 weeks before opening and then advertise through your contacts and friends. Remind everyone again 2 days before the opening.
When you send the gallery your work attach details to the back of the artwork, each gallery will have different requirements. Also check with the gallery for hanging system requirements, most galleries have a preferred system.
Support your exhibition by being present and talking to people about your work. More galleries are asking artists to be present or give artists talks.
Listening to Sandie Schroder about putting on an exhibition was an awesome education in today’s gallery exhibition world. Even if it was not on your creative radar to do it puts exhibitions into a different perspective as well as the galleries that hold them.
You are amazing Sandie and thanks for coming to speak to the Armadale Society of Artists about your experience.