In August 2023 I threw an art exhibition with 9 other Tacoma artists, titled "Tacoma in Seattle." These are my bts thoughts and my goals for next time.
Tacoma in Seattle was my art event baby. I made it a goal to have a show in Seattle and so I made that goal happen.
It was successful by most standards of the word. However-- I dream big. And there are things I'd change up a little bit for next time.
Things That I'd Repeat
Group show- It was so relieved to have a group of artists behind me. First of all, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to fill such a big space with my work. They also brought expertise, helping hands, advice, encouragement and their groups of supporters.
Musical talent- I loved having a dj and then a singer-songer writer at the event. It was lovely having them. 100% would ask them to do another event with me.
Food Vendors- The Common Cookie and Maddy's Bakeshop were perfect, love them. I knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money on food or drinks, so finding vendors that were willing to come for free and sell worked perfect. I hope it was worth it to them. It seemed like they were selling a lot so, I think it was.
Reaching out to press- leading up to the event I sent (and resent) press releases to online magazines and newspapers. I found out 2 things, news sources usually have event pages where you sign up and post your event for free and if a magazine features your event it will probably be in an online blog format. But I think it was valuable and I would definitely do again.
Snail Mail invites to gallerists & curators- this could almost fit in the rethink section because I'm 99.9% sure none of the invitees actually came. But I think it was still valuable. I sent invites to galleries and curators and if they actually received it, then they were made aware that we did a thing. And maybe next time they will make time for the thing (or look it up and connect after the thing). This one is on the fence, but I think it is worth doing.
For Next Time
drinks. It was such a hassle to follow the very strange (and arbitrary) alcohol rules. If I had the show at River again, I know the rules now so it'd be fine. But if I had the show somewhere else, I don't want to jump through hoops. SO I'm thinking cool alt drinks-- mocktails are very in right now. I'm on the hunt for a mocktail vendor.
more attendees (I'm incredibly thankful for everyone who came. But the show was so short and during a vacation month, I think there were more people interested who weren't able to come). So maybe I'll consider having the show up for longer and throwing it in the spring, fall or winter.
marketing- more social shares. Our giveaway flopped for some reason and not many people were sharing our event. (thank you again to everyone who did). Maybe our poster and marketing materials could've had some humor or a cooler design.
more sales. Congratulations to Dierdre for making the only sale of the show. This one is hard to plan for and it's always secondary to networking when it comes to art shows. But it's always the real goal. Not sure how to make this one happen though.
alt. ways to make up costs. Next time I may consider making it a ticketed event ($5 or under). This time around I did not want merch or prints at the show. But next time I may allow space for that. I wanted the show to be very "fine art gallery" vibes, which it was. But realistically, having merch and prints is a great way to engage fans and build loyalty.
Throwing this event was a huge learning curve. But I'm really thankful for the experience. It went so well. I cherish the feeling of when I walked into River for the first time (I had never been there throughout the planning). I felt crazy, laugh out loud joy when I saw that huge beautiful space. It was super surreal that I was allowed to be in charge and bring art and friends together to celebrate.
I started working on this project at the beginning of 2023 and it finally came to fruition. I feel bizarre going on with my year with the event behind me. It's not apparent how it will effect my life/career. But it brought joy to a lot of people, and that's something to be really grateful for.