So you want to hold your very first art exhibition? Congratulations, you just took a step into a creative and fulfilling world. However, it does have some challenges and you’ll need a good plan and organization to pull it off.

When I held my first solo art exhibition in 2015, “A Voice for the Voiceless”, I was so nervous I couldn’t even think straight. Don’t worry. This is a normal feeling. Breathe. Don’t panic. The most important thing when organizing an exhibition is the theme.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a bunch of your artwork you’d like to exhibit. In order to have a cohesive body of work, you need a theme. Having a theme will bring all the pieces together and create more of a visually aesthetic body of work. Having a theme is also more practical especially when coming up with a title for the show.

It also helps to hold an exhibition with other artists. Now, I know you’re asking, “Where and how can I find other artists to exhibit with?” It’s very simple. This is the part where you have to really put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone. Going to art clubs, street markets and gallery openings in your community will help broaden your choice of artists to exhibit with. All you have to do is find an artist that you think you would work well with and ask. Don’t limit yourself to mediums; consider everything from sculpture to drawing.

Now that you’re ready to exhibit your work, you need to find a location and set a date. There are several types of places you can exhibit, like renting out a studio in your community, a restaurant, café, library, art school gallery or a private/public gallery. When picking a place be sure that the space is appropriate for your works. Generally you want to go for a space that has either white or off-white walls without patterns, and laminate floors. Although, if your works are more dark, industrial, and raw, a more modern space might not work.

Alright, now you have your works and a space. Next is pricing and insurance. You might want to consider your fee from renting the chosen space, materials, marketing and other extra expenses towards the exhibition. It’s up to you, the artist, if you want to have an admission fee or not. Among other things, it’s strongly recommended that you get insurance to cover your art work, lighting for the exhibition, a binder containing your resume/CV, artist’s biography and your artist’s statement. It might also be helpful if you had business cards, a guestbook to sign and light refreshments.

Last but not least, the most important thing is to have fun. Don’t be shy and soak in the experience. Don’t let the stress and anxiety ruin the experience of your exhibition. As long as you keep yourself organized and set a good plan, your show will be a big hit.

Written by DAX LAFORT – Visual Artist

“I am passionate about art, I love to express myself through my art,” says Dax Lafort. For Dax, it’s not just about expressing herself through art, she endeavours to bring attention to social issues of our day. Though her style varies from realistic to expressionistic, her goal with each piece of art remains the same- evoke an emotion, connect and speak to others through art. Dax Lafort is an artist born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. She moved to Pensacola, Florida to Study Graphic Design at Pensacola Christian College in 2010. In 2012 she returned to Ottawa where continued her education in Fine Arts at the Ottawa School of Art. In March 2014 she received The Wallacks Art Scholarship. Dax then displayed her work at Winterlude, Nuit Blanche Ottawa-Gatineau 2015, Holt Renfrew, and assisted Jeffery Farmer, a renowned Vancouver based artist with a photomosaic for The National Gallery of Canada. She is currently in her last year of completing her Fine Arts Diploma at the Ottawa School of Art.

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