How to Put on a Gallery Show
- Complete something really incredible that you want to share with the world. You don’t even have to have a finished body of work. It can be a piece in progress if you like, just make sure there’s enough to share.
- Find a space. Any space. It can be a gallery, it can be your living room, it can be a pop-up gazebo in a park somewhere. As long as it’s suitable to what you are showing and you’re happy with it.
- Promote like crazy. Let everyone know repeatedly when, where, and what. Let them know who you are, most importantly, and make sure they know why they should come: e.g. original work, meeting the artist, a fun evening out, interesting conversation, something entirely different.
- Sweeten the deal. Throw in something extra. Add value to the evening. Food is a great thing to offer. People love something to nibble on when they’re admiring your work. Something to drink is good too but keep it classy and make sure any restrictions are considered when doing so.
- Sell yourself a little more. Make a special offer for people who attend. Like a slight reduction on the price of originals or the chance to win something you’ve made. Nothing that will be detrimental to your own pocketbook. You’re a professional, remember. Giving away your work for free doesn’t just keep you from making money, it means people will think you don’t value your own work. Make your prices reasonable but throw in a slight perk for those who attend.
- Give yourself ample time. Make a backwards timeline from the day of the showing. Figure out what you need to get done and by when. There is always going to be a certain amount of stress when it comes to putting on a gallery show but there’s such a thing as ‘unmanageable stress’. Remember, you’re your own boss. You make your own hours and you know how much time you need to complete any given task. Be kind to yourself by having an effective plan in place.
- Let go. At a certain point you’ll have done everything you can do. The trick is not to have any expectations, good, bad, positive, negative. The single objective is to share your work. If you sell something, fantastic. If you sell a lot of things, all the better. But if you don’t, that’s O.K. too. If a dozen people show up, that’s fine. If you end up with more people than the gallery can hold and it violates fire regulations, oh well. The important thing is that you are sharing your work to anyone who happens by.
8. Enjoy yourself. You are an artist. This is your moment. Relax, and just be.