As an exhibiting artist, you have responsibilities.
Never assume that venues (art galleries, nonprofit spaces, co-ops) will do all of the work for you. Here’s a list of things to think about.
The Artist’s Responsibilities
Read everything! Details are in the contract, but also in email messages and letters. Read every word. If formal words don’t exist, make up your own agreement and run it by the venue. People can’t perform up to expectations if they don’t know what those expectations are.
Depending on your contract with the venue, you might be required to pay for part of the reception costs, invitation printing, postage, and/or advertising. I believe it’s a commercial gallery’s responsibility to host the reception, but read your contracts carefully. Many nonprofit spaces are set up differently.
Respond to requests in a timely manner.
Deliver the art on time.
Provide a list of works and prices.
Provide as required: artist statement, bio, résumé, and other label text.
Provide clear instructions for installing and shipping your art. Offer to help with installation if necessary.
Show up at the opening on time.
Be delightful at the opening and meet everyone you can. You might think the gallery is the host, but people really came to see your art. They’re your guests.
Drive traffic to the gallery. One of the reasons you show your art in public is to benefit from the venues’ mailing lists. But you can’t rely on it. You must assume some of the responsibility to get people in the door.
Send Thank You notes to anyone who helped you pull it off.
Pick up any unsold artwork on time.
What did I forget?
Next week I’ll go over the venues responsibilities.