Anatomy of an Artist Exhibition- Part - 6
When you feel it is the right time to announce your intention to mount an exhibit of works, then that is the time to prepare a proposal or a request to put up a display of works. The concept of the exhibit should be completed in your mind as to reason and intention to paint this idea and produce it for the stage. For this is what you are doing with an art exhibition: putting it on a stage for others to enjoy or learn from it. The production process of the exhibition should be laid out with timetable and number of works with the knowledge of how each piece will look at the completion, visually in your mind.
You have probably already begun the painting of a few pieces or completed a few to be sure your idea is sound and the concept is working. This will also be necessary as an illustration to show the curator of the gallery or space where you plan to hold your exhibit. Generally you will send your proposal out to a few places because your acceptance may not be assured at some of your choice locations.
To ensure your selection to exhibit you must give the curator the visual sense of the completed exhibition. You must relate your idea or vision into words that will describe the exhibit as if it were complete. Begin with the idea or concept of the idea in story form, describing where or how the idea fostered and the meaning or purpose of the works choosing several to describe and make a statement about the pieces. This is very important especially to a public gallery because the educational value of the exhibit is a priority. It would be a good idea also to include the description of the conclusion pieces of the exhibit and the explanation of the wrap up of the entire collection or the final reasoning for the collection as a whole.
Now you will be including actual items to put forth with the written meaning of the exhibit. This will be good photos of the finished works you have done of the exhibit as well as some work from previous exhibits that may relate somewhat to the new one so that the curator can see the flow and style of the pieces. This will also tell the curator that you have previous experience with exhibiting. Also include a complete list of work titles for the exhibit with approx. or real sizes, medium, titles, and if framed or not. The curator must have an idea of how much wall space will be used in the gallery or which gallery if there is more than one room. All this information will help them choose the correct timing of the exhibit as well. They will then know when an appropriate gallery is available and if more than one space, which other exhibit would work well with your proposal.
Also the usual requests of a statement of art which may be used in the explanation when advertising the exhibit, bios, resumes, brochures and cards and if you are designing a poster and invitations.
Some galleries will do their own poster and invite designs.
Most important of all is the finished time frame of your proposed exhibit. Galleries work in the future booking exhibits up to 18 months in advance, so to book you in, there must be a good sense of when you will finish the work and be ready to show. If you have doubts of the completion time, then add more time so that you will not be under pressure towards the close of the date. Not being prepared to show on time is a mark against your reputation for further bookings. Also do not delete pieces because of time frame problems. Do not use fillers for the exhibit or older works as you are hurting your own exhibit and reputation.
All of this should be packaged in an orderly presentation. Some galleries have you apply online with their forms but will still require some items forwarded for consideration. And eventually you will have a meeting with the curator before booking is finalized and the presentation will be required. Once the meeting is completed and any issues ironed out, you will be signing a contract with the gallery for your exhibition, so be sure of your facts and your time frame.
Now you can dive into the actual work trying to stick to your timetable. This timetable is made up of an allowed portion of the whole table, for each individual work. This will keep you on track and alleviate any pressure toward the end. Now you are committed and your reputation is at risk. Once you mount your exhibit you can enjoy the fruits of your labour and the applause.