As some of you may already know our solo photo exhibit America: Coast to Coast concluded it’s most recent showing just a few weeks ago. Thank you to all who were able to come out and see it, and a special thank you to those who bought some photo pieces from the exhibit. I hope you enjoy them for years to come.
Putting together one of these exhibits is no small task and I thought all of you might enjoy seeing just what goes into getting it off the ground. There is a lot that happens between deciding “hey let’s put on an exhibit” to actually opening the doors. Today we peel back the curtain on the entire process.
America: Coast to Coast actually had it’s first showing at the Kanner-Kurzon museum at Temple Beth-El in New Rochelle, NY back in 2011. As the exhibit was drawing to a close I sent out a prospectus to multiple galleries and exhibit spaces in the are to see where it would go next.
Click here to see the original America: Coast to Coast Exhibit Prospectus.
One of the exhibit spaces interested in showing America: Coast to Coast was the Rye Free Reading Room in Rye, NY. However, their waiting list for exhibits was currently 2 years long. I put my name on the list and summarily forgot about it, thinking that I’d never hear back from them.
America: Coast to Coast went on to display in a few other spaces towards the end of 2011, and then it was placed into storage.
Fast forward to the Spring of 2013 and all of a sudden I get an email from The Rye Free Reading Room letting me know that my name finally came up on the list and would I still be interested in exhibiting.
To say this was a surprise would be an understatement. After 2 years I had totally forgotten I even had my name on their list. Not to mention America: Coast to Coast had seen better days. It had not been touched or looked at since going into storage 2 years earlier.
I made the decision that I would go ahead with the exhibit and prepared for the daunting task ahead. After reviewing the printed photos from the last showing of America:Coast to Coast it became clear that the exhibit would need some updating and refreshing. Not only had I taken many new landscape photos over the past 2 years, but some of the original pieces had also become damaged in storage as well.
I met with Maria Lagonia, the Managing Librarian. Details were worked out, decisions were made, and contracts were signed. America: Coast to Coast would run for a 1 month period during the month of May. Ultimately the dates were extended to run through the end of June with 2 wine and cheese receptions.
The first thing I do when planning an exhibit is obtain a measured floor plan of the space. I feed all that information into a 3-D rendering program on the computer to make a finished 3-D replica of the space. This way I can figure out how many photos can fit in the space, what sizes they should be and also how the finished exhibit will look even before a single photo is hung.
Of course some things inevitably change between the planning stage and actual hanging of the exhibit, but for the most part the 3D rendering is a pretty accurate representation of what the finished exhibit will look like.
Next comes the selection process. Pouring over years worth of photos to chose just the right ones to hang in the exhibit. Of course cost is a huge factor that guides these decisions as well. Large mounted photos are not cheap to produce, so there is always a balance that must be struck between paying for new pieces to be printed for the exhibit and re-using existing ones to save on costs.
For those that are wondering, all costs for the entire exhibit, including printing of the pieces, hanging, and the receptions is fully funded by Dengrove Studios. The exhibit spaces usually only provide a physical space to hang your work upon. However, they do usually help with promotion and press for the exhibit to drive traffic.
After evaluating the space and costs it was decided that this showing of America: Coast to Coast would have a total of 23 pieces and contain 50% new photos that had never before been exhibited.
The next few weeks are spent adding finishing touches to photos getting them ready to print, putting together a brochure for the exhibit detailing information about the photos and planning food and beverage for the receptions.
Before you know it installation day arrives! Now the fun begins…not only do you get to finally have access to the space and see how great your photos look in it, but you also get to see just how accurate your measurements were. Hopefully, all the pre-planning was not in vain and when you get on-site it is easy to measure out where the photos go and get them hung.
One thing to consider is that each space has different requirements with regards to the walls. Some allow to actually nail or screw directly into the wall, others require that you must use an alternative method and not dent or damage the walls in any way. In the case of the Rye Free Reading Room they have a unique gallery hanging system that allows you to hang the photos off of suspended hooks without creating any holes in the wall.
Here are my wife and I hanging the exhibit