How to organize exhibitions and host openings?
The first aspect of any show is the selection of artist(s) and the artworks. This is one of the most critical aspects of a gallerist’s job and one should spend time dedicating to this. It is not just important that the artist and the artworks are interesting, but one should take into account whether the works can be suitably exhibited in the available space. While deciding on the exhibition, please take into account key factors, besides the artworks, such as, the audience and the press. The show is not meant for your personal satisfaction but for a broader audience.
You will need to finalize the details of the show at least two months in advance so that you can co-ordinate shipping, exhibiting, promotion and marketing. An average gallery show at a mid-sized gallery needs a budget of at least $8,000 to $15,000 and one needs to plan for transportation, framing, hanging, invitations, mailings, catalogs, press releases, advertising and other incidentals. This essentially means that one needs to sell artworks worth $24,000 to $45,000 just to cover the costs.
Exhibition and Opening
Plan to start hanging and finalizing the details of the show at least 3-5 days in advance of the show. You should have already sent out the invitations and press releases in advance of the opening. Remember, you may need to send press releases on varying dates, as press can be daily, weekly or monthly.
Once the exhibition is ready, you may want to preview it with a select group of people and ask for their opinion. You may also have decided to organize a private viewing for an important group of collectors or gallery clients, before the actual opening. It is important that drinks, especially, wine or sparkling wine and appetizers, accompany the opening. Most galleries view their opening night to be the highlight and the toast to the show and expect to sell most of their artworks on that night.
- Allan Majotra, Managing Director, PicassoMio Galleries