Saturday, 29 September 2007

The exhibition opens

Hi all, today was the day! All the hard work came to a head, we turned up at the venue at 8.30am and spent the next 90 minutes putting up our work for perusal by the general public - hoping it might turn out to be the buying public.

The first photo here shows a general view of the main area of the display:-

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A close up shows the centre of our display - shown here only because it has the name of the group writ large.

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It might be of interest to note that the display boards were designed and made by ourselves, this means that we can put on exhibitions of various sizes in almost any area. Each board has a central area and hinged side areas. We can therefore butt-up the boards to create a large display area. A feeling for the size can be got by considering that the larger central paintings are 16X20 inches, mount size. I.e. not counting the frame dimensions. The boards are stabilised by fitting them into table top runners. They have been an excellent investment for a group such as ours, we no longer have to look for venues where we can hang on the walls.
We have worked hard at planning the installation so that on the day we have a good idea where the boards will go in the room/venue. We know which paintings will go where and we set up teams to do the necessary tasks, everybody knowing what to do and in what order. A real military operation. In this case, we can provide the basic layout of tables and lay banqueting roll on them. Install ten display boards, seven table easels and three free standing easels. We also set up tables for program and information sheets, visitors book, and treasurer (hoping that we will see sales). We then hang/install about eighty paintings in the space of 90 minutes. Quite a feat for seven people.
The day was not as successful has we would have liked with only half the number of visitors that we would have expected:

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Also we did not make any sales - what a downer! We spent most of the afternoon discussing ways of marketing the group and our exhibitions for next year - how sad is that? but we did have several interested people asking about the group and its programme. We have always said this is the main reason for all our work on staging these events, sales are a very welcome side effect but we do not paint with sales as a target. we are all hobby painters, if I can call us that without upsetting anyone.
I will post some of our thoughts on marketing as we harden up our thinking and plans over the next few weeks. One thing that we have decided is that planning for our next exhibition starts today. In the past we have tended to leave it until fairly late in the day. We can do the paintings! We can set up the exhibition! It is the unpalatable marketing aspect that we do not get a grip on. This, we have promised ourselves will change!

watch this space!


Naj said...

The exhibition looks great, well done to everyone in your group! What an innovative idea designing your own display boards & therefore making more venues available.

I see exhibitions more as a way of getting your work known, than generating sales, but then I rarely exhibit as I mostly "paint to order"!

Did you do a lot of the roadside advertising e.g. "art exhibition this way"? I've seen local art groups try this & I think it can bring in passing trade.(Not the upmarket press release stuff I know!)

Artyfax said...

Hi Naj, thanks for the comments, I would like to answer them for any other interested readers.

We have been very pleased with the boards as it is difficult to get venues that will allow you to knock "nails" into their walls. And when we do find them they charge the earth! Rental and commission.

Yes, on your second point we do see exhibitions as a means of fishing for new members and "showing off" our work rather than selling it.

Lastly, we have been warned by the local council about putting up distracting signage on the roads, and cluttering up the pavements with safety hazards. It seems you can only do this if you are advertising a council run event or one by the local round table (which is probably the same thing in our area).