…Or how to avoid basic but annoying mistakes when organizing your first art show. And no, using the word “mistakes” I’m not referring to the necessity of getting yourself a drink before the show starts otherwise you won’t have time afterwards.
Organizing and being able to enjoy our opening show was surely a great emotion, however, there are quite a few things we’d do differently in a second round.
The ever organized Dinea, in our first meeting AS ( After Show), produced a paper to be completed with suggestions and improvements for our next exhibition by all of us three. The list that came out was impressive and covered many points, the discussion of which kept us occupied for a couple of hours at least, while sipping coffee and furiously scribbling down ideas.
I’m not gonna cover everything in this post (what do you think of a never-ending series of posts for this topic, style Rambo-The Movie?Eheh, just joking…) but here are the basics:
Have a calendar for deadlines, common and accessible any moment any time to all members of the curatorial group. Outlook works just fine, but if you wanna have a further sprint, in the organizing blogs I’ve been reading lately most readers swear by Evernote. Have you ever used it?
Be large with deadlines. Very large indeed. Veeeeeery large when dealing with application forms and funding enquiries.
Have a common mailing list of press contacts, dividing and organizing them in a way to always be able to know who has been contacted,and when and if a date-reminder has to be sent.
If working with a big number of artists, create a mail address to be used specifically only for receiving all the info on the pieces and the artist biographies. No more browsing in different folders to find what you need for the info material of the show.
Buy a folder where to keep receipts of materials and services you paid for, in order to easily divide the expenses afterwards.
THE OPENING NIGHT
Check electronic devices before the show, and prepare a small manual on how to operate them, in case someone else (thanks Mei!) is kindly helping you out while you’re talking to press, visitors or friends, or following some other task.
Have someone on the entrance to ask guests to leave a message on the visitor book. It’s easy to forget to ask and it’s quite likely the opening night will hit the biggest number of visitors. This is also the night that attracts the experts, other artists, and similia, usually the most eager in leaving a comment/ feedback; don’t let this opportunity go by.
Be sure that all the websites, flyers, posters that publicize your event give the same timetable.
THE AFTER SHOW
Be as strict on the follow up as you were during the preparation of the exhibition.
This is definitively the element we struggled more with, relaxing ourselves maybe a bit too early after the show, convinced the more of the work was done and taking time off, possibly too much too soon, to sort out all our personal stuff that was surviving in a limbo in the 3 months preceding the show.
The reality was, as we discovered, that the real work starts after the opening night, after closing the show, and it lays in updating your blog, taking care of the contacts you made, creating new opportunities and exploring new ideas.
Hard stuff. The stuff dreams are made of, though. So even if not very regularly, here we are again, ready to talk about artists we love, projects we work on and much more.
What do you think about pre-show lists? In terms of basics, is there anything you think should be done before the doors open?