Take One Group Of Artists, who Love One Another as much as they Love Art.
Select One to be the Featured Artist.
Choose The Date and Set The Time for the Art Show.
Find A Location To Host The Show.
Send out the Invitations via postcards, posters, Press Releases, e-mail, web sites and Facebook Blasts.
(This makes it Real. No backing our now. It's Going To Happen.)
A tangled Web Of Communication is set into motion that includes e-mail, phone calls, text messages, Facebook and best of all In Person Pow Wows and Work Sessions. (Think, "Everything but Smoke Signals", though even Hand Signals and Facial Expressions ARE often used along the way.)
Say, "Yes" Fast when a Talented Writer in the group offers to handle the Press Releases at the first Planning Meeting.
Keep saying, "Yes" whenever someone offers their Capable Hands.
Keep the Featured Artist in the dark about everything except the Need To Know Details.
Shield them from the Simmering Fires so they don't panic.
Keep them focused on preparing the Art To Sell. It needs to be titled, signed, sealed and sparkling when "The Opening" arrives.
All these Details, and more, need to Dovetail Just Right.
Leave some White Space in the schedule as Set Up Time nears.
Expect The Unexpected. Something is sure to come up.
This is when having a Group Of Artists working together is so valuable.
Give each other some perspective, a Pep Talk, lend a Helping Hand (or 6) and laugh instead of cry.
Remind each other that it's all for Him and His Glory, and not about us, or even the Art, in the end.
As the Show Date approaches, schedule time to apply The Final, Finishing, It's Done Clear Coat to the artwork.
Space Heaters are considered As Needed Equipment. Pray for a sunny, 50˚ day with no wind. Have a Plan B ready just in case, and perhaps a Plan C as well.
When Set Up Date arrives call Someone You Can Trust who has a Pick Up Truck. Say, "Thank You" a 100 times (or more).
Load the Art To Sell. (This will take longer than you think.)
Talk the Featured Artist down when Nerves set in. Be Patient. It's a Big Day for them. Their Heart is going to be on display for The World to see, as Friends, Family and Strangers amble through looking at their artwork in a few hours time.
Ready, Set, Go! The Countdown is on!
Load, Haul, Unload, Move Your Vehicle so you don't get towed.
(They really mean it when they put up Tow Away Zone signs. Your blinkin' hazard lights aren't foolin' anyone.)
Walk through the space. Be still. Imagine. Mumble to yourself. Listen to the artist(s) standing next to you. Get moving. The clock is tickin'. (Fast!)
Keep Communicating. It'll All Come Together.
Remove the Featured Artist from the premises if possible.
Prop the Art along the walls.
Arrange the easels.
Set up the paint smudged Tables and cover them with tablecloths. (Black works well.)
Keep repeating, "it'll All Come Together" like a mantra. Because it HAS to. And it will. Really!
Trust each other – and mean it.
Run Home to change clothes and grab Food from the fridge.
Ah, yes. The Food. And Drink(s) too. You want the Art to shine and the Food to satisfy so the people who come will stay, linger and buy some art.
Or perhaps circle back, as the evening goes on, for another bite of this or that, and notice That One Special Piece Of Art is still there and decide it needs to go home with them tonight.
May I suggest an Assortment of Sweet and Salty Food for your enticing spread? (Vegetables Are Optional.)
At this point, Enjoy It!
Keep a Camera in your hand and Take Pictures whenever you can. Loading. Set Up. Opening Reception. Crowd Shots. Art Shots. Crowd + Art + Featured Artist Shots. (Don't forget the Food Table. It's important and memorable too!)
When the evening comes to an end, stay a little longer.
Wind Down Together. Gather as a Group of Artists once again, with Beloved Haulers there to Help in any way they can.
Work Together to tidy the space and clean up after a Wonderful, Magical, Fun Filled Evening of Smiles, Laughter, and Memories that are as rich and vivid as the colors portrayed in the Art on display.
Go Home. Sleep Well. Dream. Awake.
Wait a bit.
Then, Quietly, after some time has passed, say aloud, to The Group At Large, "Who's Next?"
That's the way a Love Offering works. It keeps Giving.
P.S. Here Are Some Extra Ingredients You Need On Hand For Your Show Set Up Kit:
An Artist Statement
Extra Show Cards
Tape – various kinds (In a pinch Painter's Tape will do the job, even if it is Bright Blue, it is Low Adhesive after all.)
A pencil, yes, a regular old #2, for any last minute signatures
Sheets and Blankets to pad and protect the Art during Transport
A Trash Can lined with a Garbage Bag (bring extra) positioned near the Food Table
Reusable Poster Tack (also Bright Blue)
Thumbtacks used only to anchor the edge of the paper, never with a hole made in the Art itself
A Tall Guy comes in handy for those hard to reach corners.
However, Plan B is to Bring A Step Stool.
Also Needed: punch bowl and ladle, napkins, small plates, cups, serving spoons, toothpicks, a cash box and some change (bills and coins), bags, sacks and perhaps tissue to protect the Art as it happily travels toward a new home with The Buyer who fell in love with the Part Of Their Heart that the Featured Artist shared.
Written on April 2, 2011, the morning after the Unknown Jones show Opening Reception held the night before. Dreaming began in January, followed by planning and more planning over three months time. Then The Night Arrived. It was so much fun. The Opening was held in the foyer of Fox & Hounds from 4:00-8:00 in conjunction with the downtown Bloomington First Friday Area Artist Showcase event on April 1, 2011. (This date suited Unknown Jones perfectly by the way.) Our wireless signal is on the fritz today so using my laptop to get online wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So I powered it down and logged on using The Bat Computer in the basement. (Much to my children's chagrin.) However, while they were unplugged they had a Tinker Toy Duel – a quiet one. Then, One Son asked if he could go outside to play. I couldn't say, "Yes" fast enough once again. My father called first and then in a few minutes time he and my mother came by for an impromptu visit. After they left I started to jot down this, "Recipe For An Art Show" on a post it note. Since my laptop was turned off (in frustration over no wireless internet connection) I sat in My Usual Writing Spot and kept on writing – until I was done. Including this "Author's Note", "Recipe For An Art Show" was originally written on 26 post-it notes stuck together in columns as I wrote it out longhand, with scribbles and all. It's Kind Of A Cool Way To Write. It's easy to slide a thought in between another. I love the Bright Colors post-it notes come in too. Post-it Prose Is Kind Of Fun. Less intimidating than a Big, Blank Sheet Of Paper waiting to be filled with the words comin' from my heart, makin' it easier to start.
© 2011, Janean Baird, "Turquoise Tangles"