Setting up a gallery space is a new experience that I have never done before. When I was making my work, thinking about how to display all of my pieces in a cohesive show was on my mind but it wasn’t anything I was able to try until now. Now that my two shows are up I realized that there are some things that I would have done differently but all in all I feel that my work is being shown in the best light. Here are some tips that I learned from my experience. Hopefully they can help the next capstone students.
- Plan ahead
Go to the space before you are due to setup. This is something I did for the metals show but I didn’t for my fibers show. Having an idea of the space your work will be set up in is important so you can visualize were you’re in the space. I didn’t see the space at 970 but I knew that there were slanted walls so I made sure to make two pieces that look good off the wall.
- Clean the space before you set up your work
I did this when I showed at the mini gallery at school and it really made a difference in how the space felt. I made sure to fill all the holes with putty, swept and mopped the floor and spot washed the walls. Some galleries will do this for you but it never hurts to spruce up the place.
- Play musical art pieces
The first place you put a piece might not be the best place. Try different configurations when hanging your work. Consider how your audience will flow through the space. Remember that first impressions are very important. Think about which piece your viewer sees. Does that piece capture the viewer’s attention? When hanging my fiber show I tried at least five different configurations before landing on the final one.
- Protecting your work
My jewelry pieces are small and can be easily pocketed I had to come up with ways to prevent people from taking or touching my work. I used plastic display tops that I found at Michaels. This isn’t the most elegant way to display my work but does the trick. In the future I plan on using acrylic tops. Also consider making sure your work is stable just in case a pedestal gets bumped or heaven forbid knocked over you want to make sure your work is save.
- Don’t assume your audience knows the rules
When setting up your work it is best to prepare for the worst. Imagine your reception is filled with hyper children, monkeys and intoxicated people and prepare for that. If you find yourself saying “no one is going to touch this.” or “everyone will know not to do that.” Guess what people are going to touch it or move it or try to try it on. Make sure that your audience can enjoy your work without getting in to trouble.
And finally relax and enjoy your reception.
This is your time to shine! You get to see show all your friends and family all that work that kept you form seeing them for the past three months. Wear clothes that don’t have fluff or flux on them. Spend the evening smiling at talking about all the wonderful creations you have made.
I am very proud of all my achievements this year and also relieved that it is over and that I can continue with my work. I am also a little sad. There was so much momentum and build up to this moment that now that it’s over I feel a little lost. Lost can be a good thing I can take this time to rest and recharge for my next endeavor. That is my final advice when it’s all done, remember that it’s not done; it’s just a time to stop and breathe then continue once again.