As creatives, it is imperative that we take steps to increase our reach. Whether it’s new clients, venues, sponsors, or other like-minded professionals, we survive due to word of mouth so it’s best to have as many people speaking positively about us and our work as possible. A great way to do this is to hold exhibitions of your work!

I read a great snippet from “The Self Promo Handbook” that nicely outlines the steps to producing your own exhibit. I have personally produced a couple of art shows that highlighted other artists, but just got a true feel for the tasks required when I co-produced the showing “Sharp Reality” with 5thGM earlier this month (see the work from our mini show at We did this show as a platform for our work and are currently planning for more elaborate shows. I can definitely contest to the steps outlined below. Depending on your avenue, producing an exhibit of your work can be more affordable than you may expect. Keeping the saying “Scared money don’t make money” in mind, be prepared to come out of pocket. Use this guideline and I’m sure you’ll have an enjoyable and affordable showing!

1. Know Your Angle

What are you showing, why are you showing it, and who are you showing it to? Are you doing a chronological progression of your works? Promoting a recent project? Trying to raise your public profile or that of a client’s? Once you can answer these questions, you can arrange the event based on the answers.

2. Select a Venue

What type of crowd are you trying to attract? Do you know your target market? High-scale and corporate? Fun and urban? Fun and corporate, high-scale and urban?? Choose a location where your target crowd is most likely to attend as well as enjoy themselves in a comfortable setting.
3. Select A Date
Spring is always good for an exhibit, the weather is warmer and the days are longer. People are more positively inclined to be outside attending events. You can also have an opening that covers a few dates on the weekend and offer a special, yet different, notion each day that will attract attendees.

4. Pitch to Partners & Sponsors

Sponsorship isn’t always easy to find, but definitely worth the effort. Once you have the event details solidified (and confirmed via contracts with the venue), you can send out releases to potential sponsors. Think of sponsors who are mutually beneficial, what can they gain from you and what can you gain from them. Food and beverage sponsors are always a good place to start!

5. Presentation & Planning

Ask the space you are using for floor plans or measurements so you may layout your show in advance – where you want your pieces, where sponsors may set up, a catering and/or DJ area if they fit your theme, etc. Think of what the viewer will see when they first arrive, what emotions do you want evoked first?
6. Spread the Word
Publicizing your exhibition is crucial! Create (or hire a professional graphic designer to create) well designed advertisements and flyers and blast them via email and social networks. If you have the funding, place google and facebook ads, print your flyers and hand them out, or even take out space in your local newspaper or promote it on your local radio station. Remember that everything must be intriguing in order to engage attendees.
7. Enjoy the Show!
You did all of the work, now enjoy the show! Mingle with your new potential clients and buyers. Be prepared to speak about your work and your thought process behind each piece. If you become flustered when speaking on your work, like I sometimes do, practice answering questions patrons may ask you in your head in advance. No matter what happens, bask in all of your hard work coming to fruition!
Photo © NayMarie from the Art Enology event produced by Souleo Enterprises and
Art in Flux Harlem with featured beverage Papi Wine

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