Saturday, May 1, 2010

Do's and Don'ts For a Mini Gallery Installation

I'm still trying to figure out the right venues to show my fused glass art and jewelry. This year, I'm participating in the Pro Arts Gallery's East Bay Open Studios, where over 400 artists in the Bay Area open their studios or rent out space to show off their art. The majority of participants are painters and then there are a few of us others who make ceramics, mosiacs, glass, and jewelry. All the participants receive a 20" x 20" wall space in the gallery to show off a sample of their work. Even though Pro Arts publishes a printed and online directory, about half of the art enthusiasts visit the gallery to see the work displayed to determine which artists they will visit. Thus, what is displayed on the wall is important to encourage studio traffic.

So, how do you display fused glass pieces in a 20" x 20" wall space? Here's what I learned.

  • Go to the installation workshop. I learned a lot about what I could do and couldn't do which effected the final installation. As we need to repair the space afterwards, I couldn't actually install my glass panel as planned. I also learned that any jewelry needs to secure in a shadow box, again something else I hadn't anticipated.
  • Consider enlarging photos if you can't display the actual work. Ritz Cameras was a great resource. I blew up a picture of my panel to 11" x 14" and it was done in an hour! They have large selection of sizes so that you could have photos that are close to actual. Mine was a little smaller because I wanted to have a more than one photo.
  • Measure and sketch out the display design in advance.
  • Take the time to mount your work. It's amazing how a black background really frames everything.
  • Coordinate colors of your display. Backgrounds and frames should be the same color. Art pieces should also be in the same color family.
  • Take advantage of all the easy ways to display your work - staple velcro to the wall and attach the other side to your mounted work (if it's light), use wire to hang jewelry and spray mount works as a great, even adhesive.
  • Wait until the last minute to figure out the display design. Fortunately, there are places like Ritz that can enlarge photos in an hour.
  • Buy items for your display online. Even with a layout in mind, how it finally turns out will most likely evolve as you are exposed to new options. Being able to see something in person gives you ideas of new possibilities. It's also easier to return unused items when the layout changes.

And, here's how the display turned out. What do you think? I'll keep you posted on the response, although the open studios aren't until June. However, there's an artist networking event next week, so I'm sure people will be commenting on the different items displayed.

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