Setting up your first solo exhibition on a budget – Owning the room

Part 2 – Last post we were looking at how to get your art ready for your exhibition, how you decide on sizes, how much art do you need, and making labels. This post is about making up your programs and posters right through to deciding how to hang your work when you get there.

7 Programs, Posters, and Postcards

What will your program look like? Will it be the same theme as the posters and postcards?

Programs – A4 folded in half.

  • Page 1 Exhibition name and picture
  • Page 2/3 Name of work, Medium, Dimensions, Price (in columns)
  • Page 4 About the artist

Posters – A4 with super large text (2-5cm/1-2 inch approx) include;

  • Exhibition name
  • Picture/s
  • Venue name, address, and suburb
  • Date range
  • Opening night date and time (you can put other opening times underneath in small print)
  • Small map + info on parking if difficult to find
  • Contact number and/or email for queries

Print off posters and ask shop fronts if they will let you put them in their window.


Include all the details as found on your posters. On one side have a pic, opening night and address details only so people can put them on their fridge as a reminder.

8 Getting ready to relocate your work

  • To transport wrap lengthways in corrugated cardboard, not super tight as you want to slide them out easy when you get there. Wrap it in packaging tape lengthways and widthways. Use a permanent marker to write the name of the work on the tape. To remove work cut down one side and slide out.
  • Use bubble wrap for smaller works you intend on putting in boxes. Tape these at the edges so it is easier to remove and not rip when you get there.

9 Hanging

  • Preview the hanging space the week before to plan what will go where.
  • Ask venue when the best time to come is for set up.
  • What will you be hanging them on?
    • Hooks
    • Wire that hangs down with special attachments.
    • Room dividers will push pins.
  • You will need someone to help you with hanging the artworks on the day.
  • Will you need a ladder?
  • Decide which artworks are going where and place in that space.
  • Use Bricklayers string to attach to the eyelets. This is easy to undo if it isn’t quite right.
  • Smaller framed artworks don’t always need string attached as they come with a connection for hooks or a stand.
  • Have a level with you to make sure the art is straight.
  • Allow a full day to set up and do this with another person.
  • Put up labels under each artwork with Bostic.
  • Make sure you have rest if you are opening in the evening of the same day. Aim to finish by 2.30 pm.

10 Refreshments

  • Do you need a trestle table? How will you cover it tastefully?
  • Alcohol
    • Buy a week before
    • 1-2 glasses per person max
    • Can you hire glasses or will you use disposable?
    • Ensure some of your lower priced wall art will cover the cost of your refreshments. I usually have a couple selling under $100 AUS for this purpose.
    • Test to make sure bubbly tastes OK before buying.
    • Cater to the audience you expect to attend (eg cask wine versus bottled)
  • Non alcoholic – Orange juice and mineral water
  • Food – Keep it minimal but hygienic. Cater simply like a cheese platter with crackers dips and olives.

That’s it for today. The final post looks at the opening night, documenting sold art, and strategies to ensure you leave the place as you found it.

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