I recently read a short post on what artists should do at openings and thought it was a great reminder not only for artists but for the organizer as well. While an opening can be fun if you know a lot of people attending, it can also be stressful.
As someone who has developed and presented many exhibits, I’ve always found openings to be a mix between fun engagement and worrying as to whether everything is running smoothly. Is the artist happy, are the guests having a good time and did I forget anything?
There are so many elements that go into planning and preparing for an opening. A bar can do wonders for getting people to open up and mingle. Some openings offer finger foods, which gives the event a personal touch. Volunteers can help the event run smoothly by taking note of attendees and replenishing food trays. Some galleries provide live music or a DJ to add the celebratory mood.
Whatever the agreement is between gallery manager and artist, communication is key. Don’t assume someone else is taking care of the details and don’t wait until the week of the opening to ask questions. Get it in writing, before you commit to exhibiting your art work in their space. What is the gallery responsible for and what will you be responsible for.
Surprises are only fun when your career isn’t on the line. Take the time to work out the details before you sign a contract. Both the gallery and the artist are counting on a successful event, but you need to determine what that is before you say I do.