How to prepare for taking part in an art exhibition

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Following on from last weeks ‘do something which frightens you’ blog post, I am going to be taking part in a really big grownup art exhibition with the Contemporary Art Fair at Sandown Park in March.
I have taken part in lots of small shows both here and in the USA, but this is my first really big one.

Am I scared, hell yes, I am?

But why you may ask?

As I said in last weeks blog, it is that not knowing which causes the fear. And there is lots I don’t know about this exhibition.
Like:
I don’t know how many people will attend.
I don’t know if anyone will like and therefore buy my work.
I don’t know who will be in the next booth to me and if we will get on – I find it helps if you can get on with your neighbour!
I don’t know how much bubble wrap/paper bags/ tape/string etc. etc. I will need to have with me.

But then I have to remind myself that there is lots I do know.
I know why I make my artwork, I know the thinking behind it and what my inspiration for the work is.
I know exactly how I made my artwork, what the process is, how to look after it and what to do if it gets damaged.
I know that there are plenty of people out there who do like and have bought my work, so I need to cling on to those thoughts and I know that not everyone will like my work and that is totally fine.  We can’t all like everything.

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So, what I need to focus on is being prepared.  I have been making lists right, left and centre I have been having conversations with my poor long-suffering husband about how he will need to play a part in bringing this all together both beforehand and on the exhibition days.

Ahead of time, information sheets need to be written, photos of artworks need to be taken and then conversations with various different printing companies have to happen.  One type of printing company to print the information leaflets I like to have on display, a different one to produce the high quality, limited edition, giclee prints of my work which I have on offer and a third one I use for business cards because they produce cards which are great.
I need to figure out how many screws I will need to buy, screwdrivers, step ladders, cleaning up stuff all ready and packed away.  I will have to remember to charge up my phone, laptop, iPad etc. and I will need to remember to pack sellotape, blue tac, pens, order books, receipt pads, visitors’ books and forms to enter the free draw I run whenever I can at shows.
We will need to take lunch with us, hot water for tea and coffee and paper towels and wet wipes to clean ourselves up.
Any finally I need to remember to have a couple of spare sets of nice clothes to wear when manning the stand.  Why a couple of spare sets? -well I have spilt coffee down myself just as a show was starting a couple of years ago and frankly, I looked a mess.  A spare blouse would have spared me that embarrassment.

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