Exhibit Your Work

You will exhibit your work before final critique. 

100 & 200 level classes:  
Organize an exhibition aimed at gaining as much attention for your work as possible. This exhibition must include an opening reception, and  both real world and online publicity. Your exhibition may be in a space on campus or off, but may not in any of the Art Department's facilities or your home. The point is that you have to go and make a proposal outside of the department.  

300 & 400 level classes:
Curate and organize an exhibition aimed at creating dialogue around a particular issue or related set of issues.  This exhibition must include an opening reception, both real world and online publicity, and a curatorial statement and must happen in a space outside of the college or university.  Your home doesn't count.  The point is that you have to go and make a proposal in the community.  

Printmaking classes
You may follow the above assignment appropriate to your course level.  However, you are encouraged to participate in a portfolio exchange and mount an exhibition of the resulting portfolio.  A portfolio exchange happens when a group of printmakers exchanges work.  Each printmaker makes an edition of limited edition prints organized according to the portfolio's theme and usually on the same size paper (though not necessarily the same print process). Typically, the number of the print edition is based on the number of its participants who each then get a copy of the collated portfolio. Often an additional portfolio is created for the purpose of exhibition.  The safest way to deal with this is to initiate your own portfolio exchange.  That way you'll be in control and won't be dependent on someone else to get everything back to you on time.  Put out the call for entries early in the semester.  Make the deadline well before your exhibition opening.  

You may want to find an alternative, or non-traditional, space.  Think creatively when looking for an alternative space.  Artists have used hotel rooms, moving trucks, walls in public areas, pubic restrooms, impromptu "galeries" in public spaces, construction barriers, empty stores, art stands (think lemonade stand), abandoned buildings, etc.  

While I encourage you to be as creative and adventurous as possible, be aware that you are on your own if you break the law.  

You are also encouraged to develop a curatorial vision.  Up to this point you may have primarily been exposed to exhibitions that randomly display work made by whichever students or local artists happen to be handy.  These shows really only exist for students to gain the experience.  While this is fine when the Art Department is sponsoring the exhibition, there is no reason that you have to limit yourself to this approach when you put together a show of your own.  

If you are going to curate your own show the first things is to decide what the criteria are going to be for putting work in the show.  I.e, you need to decide what the show's going to be about.  You can call this the show's theme, but the jargon in the art world has to do with creating a dialogue and / or making a statement.

When I curate a show it tends to be about a dialogue.  This comes about because I'm constantly looking and comparing my work to other artists' work.  After doing this for a while I've figured out who makes work that is in one way or another similar to my own or at least deals with similar things.  Maybe the work is visually similar or thematically similar.  Maybe it's not.  It's equally important to look at and think about work that agrees and work that disagrees.  While I'm looking at and thinking about all of this work, I think that the best way to think about it would be to have it all in a room together.  That way you can compare and contrast the work and have a conversation about it.  You can have a dialogue.  

Making a statement is different but not completely.  It's still part of a dialogue in the broader sense of things that are being talked about generally.  You might notice that some artists are making interesting work and that work is not being exhibited or talked about.  So you contact those artists and put together an exhibition with the intention of saying Hey everybody, here's something worth looking at!  

Curatorial suggestions:
- Propose a theme to the class or multiple classes and have everyone make at least one piece based on that theme.  
- You may notice that several of your classmates are exploring similar themes in different ways or in different media.  Invite them to exhibit their work in a show that you curate and organize.  
- Put out a call for entries asking for work on a given theme or type of work or even size of work.  
- Maybe there's an Art History student who would be interested in doing the curating or working with you.  Send a proposal to the department secretary to be forwarded to them.  
- There is no reason to limit your scope to this college or university.  You may want to send your call for entries off to other schools in the region.  
- You might propose a show swap with another college or university's Art department.  A group of their students exhibit on our campus and a group of our students exhibit on their campus.  

Exhibition Tips:
- Put together a mailing list using snail mail, email, and social networking sites.  There's no reason to have an reception that no one attends.  
- Create professional looking pages for the event on every social networking site that you use.  Include the web addresses for the artists in the show.   
- If you're going to mail postcards, get them in the mail two weeks in advance.  
- If you're going to put up fliers, make sure they stand out and look professional.  
- Do an email blast two days before the opening to remind people.  
- Make a list of the people in the area you want see your work, anyone who might be able to help you in any way at any point in the future; city council members, the mayor, curators, gallery owners, journalists, bloggers, other artists, students from other departments, the people who own the art supply store and the frame shop, art history students, your instructors.  If you have not been to their homes find their business addresses.  Don't send mail to homes you haven't been to.    
- Invite people who might buy something.  Doctors, Lawyers, Business Owners, Wealthy People.  
- People who run non-profit organizations in the region like to put on art sales or auctions as fund raisers.  Invite them so they'll know who you are.  They can expose your work to a wide audience of buyers.  
- Make sure you invite people who live and work in the area.  You want them to feel included in anything you do in their community.  
- Many people go to art events because they meet interesting people they don't get to interact with in their daily lives.  Maybe that's professors, philosophers, other artists, musicians, writers, thespians, dancers, zookeepers, that weird guy around town who dresses like a hobbit, whoever.  Make sure there are interesting people there.  
- Don't forget to send official invites to your family.  

- Over the long term your mailing list can become a real asset.  If you're consistently attracting the right people to your events you may be able to talk a caterer into working with you at a reduced price or even for free in order to get the exposure.  This also applies to musicians, realtors, restaurants, bars, and other small businesses.  

- For now, set your sights high but expect to collaborate other people who are just starting out and need something to put on their resume.  The college or university is a great resource for this.  Maybe you can get an event planner from the Hospitality school, someone in chefs' school to make amazing hors d'oeuvres at cost, a graphic design student to make publicity materials, an Art History student to do the curating or write up a description of the show and it's place in contemporary Art contexts and maybe get that into the local papers, or a journalism student.  

-  If you're going to have alcohol, make sure you have the correct licenses in place and have someone sober and responsible checking I.D.s.  
- Put out a donation or tip jar to recoup some of your expenses.  

- Make sure you and the owner of the space have clear expectations about each others' responsibilities.  Discuss in detail and put in writing: 
What you will have to do to the space to make it ready for the exhibition.
What you will have to repair and to what degree when the exhibition is over.
Who pays for spackle, paint, etc.  If you're fixing up the space for free the owner should pay for materials.  
Who pays for publicity.  If the owner is benefitting from this exhibition, they should chip in half.  

- Make sure you have adequate lighting, pedestals, and any technology you'll need waaaaay in advance.  
- Make sure you specify to the artists that the work must be ready to hang.  Otherwise be prepared to handle that on your own.  You don't want to handle that on your own.  
- Make sure you have at least two days to install the work before the opening.  
- Make the deadline at least two days before you plan to begin installing the work.  A week before would be better but you may need a secure place to store the work.  This way you'll have a grace period for the slackers or at least a little time to find more work when someone doesn't get the work to you on time.  
- Make sure you have at least two days to de-install the work and make repairs.  De-install and spackle one day.  Sand and paint the next day.  

- Make sure you leave the space in better condition than you found it and the owner is happy.  

- May be a group or solo show.
- Work may be from any class, multiple classes, or independently created work. 
- Must happen where and when I can attend.
- Must have a reception and publicity. 
- May take the form of an intervention in a public place. 
- Must be sufficiently documented.