You Got a Venue...What Now?

As soon as I confirmed the Clackamas Community College in Wilsonville was interested in having me and my friend submit images of our artwork for consideration, my next concern was figuring out what would be expected of us. Fortunately, although this exhibit space was fairly new, they had their act together. The facilities director was organized and provided paperwork with detailed information about what we would need to submit for consideration, what the agreement entailed, and what to expect if selected to exhibit.

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The Exhibition Loan Agreement listed important dates, such as the exhibit start and end, delivery and installation, opening reception, and de-installation. There was a section for contact information and a description of all artwork to be hung. It also had a section with terms and conditions, as well as insurance value. If we opted to list insurance value, we would have to provide proof of insurance. The venue was in the commons area, which was monitored by college personnel, so we opted not to have insurance. We did not have to submit the agreement until just before we started hanging our work in early September, but having it at the outset let us know what we were signing up for.  

Separately, I received information about the signage, hanging hardware requirements, and how the college would handle announcements and news coverage. I was impressed that the college arranged for a lengthy announcement to appear in the Boones Ferry Messenger and an interview with the Wilsonville Spokesman that resulted in a full-page article about the exhibit.  

The college provided a handy checklist of things my co-exhibitor and I would need to submit right away, including a resume, artist bio/statement, press materials (used as a background for signage and announcements), and digital images for the college website. We also gave the director links to our websites so she could see plenty of examples of our work.

My co-exhibitor and I went right to work polishing our artist statements and doing an inventory of existing paintings. The exhibit would start on September 19, so we had about six months to prepare. We put together a timeline to track important due dates and we estimated 20-30 paintings would be needed to fill the space. The tough thing for me was figuring out how many paintings I could produce in six months. My goal was to complete 15 sizable paintings, and I didn't have much of a head start. The few existing paintings I had were little more than studies. Working in a new medium (oil) made it hard to predict how productive I could be. This was by far the most nerve-wracking aspect of committing to this exhibit.

We provided the director with all of the submission paperwork and received a rapid response letting us know we were accepted. Let the games begin!