The First Show (3/4) – Production

For part three of our First Show series we will be looking at the actual production of the show. By production I mean everything that you have to actually make / do such as printing, framing, hanging, etc. The process for a this is fairly straight forward – in fact you’ll likely have someone else doing most of the work, but timing and budget is key for this stage.

This is a good time to pull out your timeline from part one. Work backwards from your opening and pick a date to hang your work. You’ll need to talk to the gallery and find out how early you can do this and when the previous show comes down, but about a week early is ideal. Use this day to determine when all of the work needs to be ready to go up.

Talk to your printer and framer to figure out how long it will take them to get everything done. It’s very important to buffer their work times with several days. My framer just damaged one of my prints and it had to be redone, taking an extra four days. Mistakes and accidents will happen so work them into your timeline. If you will have labels or wall text make sure to sort that out well in advance.

Also keep in mind your budget and get clear estimates of the cost. When doing custom work things can add up very fast. Make sure your credit or debit card has enough on it to cover everything and then some. Don’t forget to keep and note all of your receipts including any transportation costs as you can write them off for your taxes.

Once the production is done it’s time to hang! Hanging work always takes longer than you think so clear your day. Find an awesome friend who is willing to help and check out our guide to hanging if you’re not sure about the math / tools. Once the work is up on the walls don’t forget to adjust the lighting – make sure it’s evenly lit, look for weird shadows and reflections, and check that all of the bulbs are the same colour temperature and brightness.

Now that your show is is ready for the public make sure you document it with gallery views and anything else that you might need for press, grant applications, your site, etc. Congratulations, your show is up! In part 4 we’ll look at spreading the word about your show and how to get people out to the opening.

See the rest of the First Show series here:

Part 1 (Outline)
Part 2 (Editing)
Part 3 (Production)
Part 4 (Promotion)

Image by sxates

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