With the announcement of my 4th annual solo art exhibition, “On 3, Let’s Jump Off The Roof”, taking place at Rebel Salon & Vintage on February 10th-11th, I received quite a few questions from supporters on how to throw their own solo art shows. I thought it would be a great idea to give 3 very important tips on throwing your first show in hopes that it will help an aspiring artist somewhere! I think it’s important to understand that while it seems like a simple process, it takes a lot of work, dedication and communication. Some shows may not be as successful as others in the beginning and that’s okay. You learn from those shows and you apply that knowledge into future shows.
To date I have done 3 of my annual solo exhibitions and 3 summer pop up art shows. It has been such a great learning experience. Prior to these shows I had no knowledge of how to plan events let alone an art exhibit so it really has been a learn as I go type deal. I always like to give artists as much advice as possible to help them avoid a lot of the struggles I faced along the way. So, here are three things you need to make a priority if you are wanting to throw your own art show or art event:
1. Build a team: Anyone who wants to achieve big dreams will eventually need to have help from trusted people in order to help them achieve that next level of success. Whether you have one, two or even ten people to help you, make sure that you find proper support. It can be a spouse, friend, family member or even someone you hire. Just make sure that you can trust them and that you are on the same page.
When I did my very first solo art show, I was fortunate to have been able to plan with my friends Annie and Miles (the owners of Rebel Salon & Vintage) to put together a successful art show. They had just opened their business and I was still contemplating ever pursuing a career in art. None of us are event planners and none of us had ever thrown an event like this. But we all shared the same end goal and that’s what kept us focused and on track. It has been a lot of trial and error but we have been able to grow and learn together.
2. Find the right venue: A lot of times when artists think of hosting an art show they automatically think art gallery. Galleries are amazing and it is important for an artist to aim to show work in them whether alone or in a group exhibition. That being said, it is totally doable to have a show in an unconventional venue as well. Some examples of places would be clothing boutiques, salons, restaurants and even a home or large back yard. A lot of times, different businesses are looking to bring more traffic into their establishment or to let the community know that they are there. Art shows are a great way to achieve that goal.
The venue I host my solo art show in each year, Rebel Salon and Vintage, is half hair salon and half vintage boutique. The awesome thing about using Rebel each year is that they are a locally owned business from my home town. So not only am I able to use this awesome venue in the city that raised me, I am able to bring new people into their shop and expose them to potentially new customers.
3. Plan! Plan! Plan!: This one may seem pretty self explanatory but in all actuality there is SO much that goes into an event like this. I typically spend a minimum of 6 months preparing for my annual solo show. Annie, Miles and I usually begin planning around August and throw the actual show in late January or early February. Some of the things you will need to consider when planning are, if the show have a theme, what type of marketing you will use, what type of promotion you plan to execute, whether or not there will be refreshments or music and how you would like the work to be displayed. This is when your team comes in super clutch. You are bound to forget things or get stuck on ideas that may not be the best route to go. It’s important to have people to brainstorm with and to give you constructive criticism when you have ideas. Give yourself as much time as possible to plan and adjust things accordingly.
(Click the images above to see photos from my last solo art exhibition "Barz to Brushstrokes")
I hope that you found these steps helpful! I will be starting artists workshops in the Phoenix area in the very near future that will break down things like marketing, promotions, merchandising & the overall business of art for new artists or for people on the fence about taking that leap into a full time art career. To be the first to know about my workshops please make sure to sign up for my mailing list!