It’s been fun daring to be me by putting my photography out there. After selling work at an arts and crafts bazaar last November, I wanted to pursue a dream I’ve had for a while, which was to show my work at a coffee shop. It doesn’t sound like a big dream, but it has been for me and it’s always seemed like one that was distant. But this past month I had the opportunity to hang my work at a local coffee shop. I shared the showing with my friend who paints and who has done this before, so she gave me a lot of good advice on approaching the project from beginning to end. Here are some things I feel made this first time showing a great experience:
Hi, I’m Marivic
I introduced myself and asked who the best person was to contact about possibly hanging my work. In this case, I asked one of the employees and was given the name and email address of the manager. In my email to her, I briefly introduced myself, that me and a friend had interest in showing my work, and provided the website addresses to browse our work.
We’d Love to Show your work!
After getting the offer to show our work, my friend clued me in on good questions to ask:
– When can I show my work? We were offered an entire month to show our work and were asked to choose a month to do it.
– When can I come in to hang my work? Establish a date to go in and hang your work and take it down. Consider loading and unloading, paying for parking, the size of your work (are there restrictions on size/weight?).
– Do you provide hardware to hang my work, or should I be expected to provide the tools needed to get the job done? The coffee shop provided enough hanging wire and hooks for our pieces. Before hanging, our contact emailed and asked how many pieces we were expecting to hang so that she could have enough hanging wire and hooks to provide us on the day of hanging.
– Do you take profit from work that is sold? Check to see if the place takes any percentage for work you sell. I know a friend who showed work at a boutique and it asked for 15% of any sales he made. That was not our case with the coffee shop.
– Can I transform the space? We did not do this, but if you think the place would be open to this, ask away and see what they say.
I’m going to show! Now what?
As soon as we established a time to show our work, my friend advised to get my work ready to show as soon as possible, if it wasn’t already. Even if the show is months away having work ready to display is a good idea. The reason behind this advice is that on rare occasions some artists are not ready to hang in time and drop out of their slot. When this happens, the space they are hanging in could ask you to hang in their place. In the case of coffee shops, I know from experience how sad it is to look at bare walls for an entire month (customers will point it out). My thought is that if you are not ready to show it’s fine to decline the offer. But if you can fill that spot, you’re helping a place out of a bind and they would surely be grateful for your help. Plus, assuming you’re keeping your planned spot, you get to show twice 🙂
This being my first time, after figuring out what would be provided, having my work ready and ready to hang, I spent time at the shop planning how best to hang my pieces. How should I group them? How many hooks would I need? Where could I post my bio and business cards?
On the day of, I had some idea of how it would work. My husband pretty much did all the hanging 🙂 A very tall ladder was provided and he climbed it, hooked the frames onto the hanging wire, and placed the gummy stuff that helped stick them to the wall and kept them leveled. I brought a tool kit, nails, drafting tape, and 3M velcro stickies just in case. Studio Cornix brought double-sided tape and wire cutters which she used for the wire she used to attach her frames to the hanging wire.
I’d Like to Buy This Piece.
If you are selling your work, don’t make it hard for people to contact you! I provided a brief bio with business cards that I made sure stayed stocked. I also titled and priced each photo and posted my contact information. My friend included her contact info on every title card for each piece.
Enjoy Your Art and Your Hard Work!
This being my first time showing, and Studio Cornix’s reemergence to showing, we wanted to hold an informal gathering at the coffee shop to celebrate. We asked the shop if we could do this and they were more than accommodating. It was a night of snacks we provided and hanging out. It went so well that there are no pictures from that night because we were too busy enjoying each other’s company and talking about our art. (Note: Clean up after yourselves).
I’m thinking of showing my work? Wanna co-show? Sure!
This might not work for everyone, but I found it really helpful to share this opportunity with another artist. I had some ideas on how to approach this endeavor, and when I mentioned it to my friend, she asked if I’d be interested in co-showing. I could have said no and made the experience all about me, but I knew that was not the attitude to take. I went to an artist’s presentation of work last year and he featured other artists with him. His point being that sharing the opportunity to show your work with others is giving other people a chance to shine. Elevating others elevates yourself. So not only did I get to benefit from her wisdom in how to manage the process (everything I stated above), I was also excited to also promote her work. Thanks Studio Cornix for all of your help!
So there you have it. I had a plan, I shared that plan, I worked hard to be prepared, and we celebrated our work and accomplishment. We took our work down yesterday readying the space for the next month’s artist and are set to show our work for two months this summer in a different location.