Newsletter readers know that I hadn’t participated in an exhibition since art school. I also never helped organize one myself. When Feroz asked me to help after Draw Club Rotterdam was asked if they weren’t interested in exhibiting at Nivon, I naturally said yes, though!
Five other Draw Club regulars wanted to participate, so we were six in total. During the first brainstorm it already became clear I had a lot of assumptions about how an exhibition should be organised that the other participants didn’t have. I wanted to go for a common factor in our work and theme the exhibition around that, but others didn’t find that neccesary. I had also liked a title for the exhibition that was a little more imaginative or suggestive, but democratic vote decided otherwise.
In the end I don’t think it was a bad thing that I had an opinion about everything and kept suggesting how things could be improved – I kept my feedback reasonable as far as I know! I am an perfectionist and if you ask me to organise something, I will set the bar high. Also, I had professional interests to upkeep: its marketing assets would appear in my social feed too, the same feed where I also tried to attract clients and sell myself as a creative professional. I did not want that a hobbyist look would reflect badly on me.
All in all it was a succes, all works found a place on time, we had snacks and NIVON provided someone to man the bar. We got about 25 visitors, all friends and family, but again, I didn’t expect much more and for a first time and that’s totally ok too!
Thinking about exhibiting? Here are some tips:
- Start planning as early as possible! Professional exhibitions are planned a year or more in advance (also because artists need time to create work for it). If you have already found a space and don’t plan to create new art, a few months should be fine, still: don’t underestimate the time it takes to create good marketing material, expecially working with many people. Also, if you’re looking to get featured in local magazines and newspapers, keep in mind their copy deadlines; they could be months in advance before the issue releases.
- Take the time to gather information about the space itself such as facilities and insurance; think of lights and windows, fire exits, but also who is responsible for damage and who can you call in case of an emergency? Because we were with a group I made pictures and drew maps of the spaces our work would hang, I doubt anyone made use of them, but it did help to get an idea of how much space anyone had.
- Set deadlines for participants to get their info done! I took responsibility for printing all the info and pricing labels, and I still had change my planning and print the labels later than I wanted to because people weren’t done with adding their info. So make sure you have some wiggle room!
Our exhibiton is open until June 30th, so feel free to hop by on a Friday night when we’re open!