Unlike a gallery show where the gallery takes a lot of the weight off the shoulders of the artists when they host, this one we are doing ourselves. This is the wave of the future. Gallery hosted shows are becoming rarer and artists are having to take on the burden of a show themselves. Many artists are are going towards pop-up galleries. This will be much more than a pop-up gallery and much less than a gallery hosted event. We hope to aim for somewhere right in the middle of the two.
Because this is an artists hosted event, we feel there is benefit in sharing the details with our fellow artists on this site and on the wuzzleit.com site which is hosted by my co-artist Rosie Hartman.
With that in mind, I want to share some of the details as we go along on this journey towards the show.
The second order of business creating a solid support team
I think a key to a successful show that you put on yourself is the strength of the team you get to help you. I think as artists we tend to want to do it all ourselves and that as where we can often fail.
Having a team of volunteers to help you with the basic details takes the weight off your shoulders and lets you concentrate on being the artist.
When a gallery sponsors a show for you, much of the burden of set up and tear down rests in their hands. The artist can take time to work on the general feel of how the art work is displayed without the responsibility of handling everything themselves. When you put on your own show the weight of that responsibility lies squarely on your shoulders.
It is not enough to have a team of volunteers that help on the night of the event only. Then they are only grunt labor. My intention is to make the volunteer experience into a learning session also. Volunteers are fellow artists who are interviewed first, briefed on whats happening and then assigned key roles in the process of creating a show.
With a solid team brought in early in the process it allows you to focus on the key creative aspects of a successful show. If you can do what you do best (create) and let others handle some of the weight of the fundamentals then you create a winning format.
Once my team is ready to go, they will then be asked to take key roles in specific parts of the show. I've divided these into several categories:
- Show Time
- Tear Down
- Artist Support
The first three are self explanatory. The third involves people to specifically help the artists involved in the show. This includes helping with hotel reservations (the other two artists from out of town), airport pickups and drop offs, special events for the artists and support for the artists during the show itself. This also includes a support person specifically tasked with taking care of me. I know this sounds vain, but I am the type of personality that will lose myself in the work of putting the show together. I want a person near me to make sure that I am taking my medications on time, I am staying well hydrated and that I am not making myself so tired that I am a mess for the show itself. I have health concerns that I need to take into account. Knowing I have a reliable person on hand to help me with that guarantees I am in peek health for show day.
The point is that to make a successful show you need to be prepared. Having your team in place guarantees that.
Now one thing that many struggle with is finding qualified persons. Thankfully I am starting early. I have several months before show time to bring in the right people and make sure they are reliable. There will be two tiers to my volunteers. There will be the support team and their will be "night of event" volunteers tasked with moving materials and such. They will not be involved in the day to day teaching and planning, but only for the night of.
I am utilizing craigslist for this task mostly. I am advertising every two days looking for artists interested in participating. So far I've had pretty good success in the first two weeks of advertising. More on this and ideas for other ways to pull in volunteers later.