The learning curve

Image courtesy of the photographer Penny Watson

Image courtesy of the photographer Penny Watson

I had been planning to write this piece about exhibiting when Bryan wrote his piece for the WeAreOCA blog that offers some very interesting advice/suggestions. I wondered how I should measure success concerning the two exhibitions of Artweeks and ‘Memory’. Artweeks is now finished and what I know is that just over 160 people came to the exhibition and I sold eight prints, I introduced a good many to the ‘Memory’ show by means of the brochure that Penny designed and at least one has definitely been to the Nuffield to see it; subsequently providing positive feedback. The Artweeks visitor numbers are up on last year, so are sales and many people have come back (not counting family and friends!) who visited the show last year. So far so good!

Bryan suggests considering what might I do better for another time, what didn’t work as opposed to what did. This is somewhat easier to discern for Artweeks as it was a ‘manned’ show, lasting a short time – nine days and quite close to home. The Memory show is much further away and manning would be impracticable, even if it were closer and for a shorter term; it isn’t a ‘selling’ show and the vast majority of the many hundreds, perhaps thousands who will pass in front of the work will have no easy opportunity to provide any feedback whatsoever. At the time of writing Bryan’s latest suggestion is to try and get a review made by a visitor – I’ll try that I think.

Artweeks I have done for a few years now, my fellow artist and I have been in the same place for that time and we have become established, and whilst I know there are things to be done better, the Memory exhibition offered a greater amount of opportunities for learning.

Virtual collaboration isn’t easy and relying on email transactions doesn’t make it simpler. Words slip and slide and nuance is very difficult, especially with the hastily typed sentence. I wanted the opportunity to collaborate, I wanted to experience the ebb and flow of negotiation with both Penny – in this case – and with others such as the fellow exhibiting students (including those that we didn’t choose), the host facility, PR &c. I feel that what we achieved is very good, the look of the show – at least at surface level – is very professional. The Artscape project manager who facilitated our access the space was very pleased with the outcome and the way we went about the process. The consistency of the hanging, the quality of the prints, the attendant information (which Artscape funded as their contribution), the brochure all added up to, in his opinion, an excellent exhibition. So, feedback! More to come as and when it occurs.