Show at the Prime Roast Coffee Company Cafe
This month I brought my “Show in a Box” to the walls of Prime Roast in Keene New Hampshire. It is my favorite place to find coffee beans, both familiar and exotic, and a friendly venue to show my photographs, but it couldn’t have happened unless I was ready for “the call”.
There is an abundance of talented artists in the Monadnock Region. A wide range of exciting work can be seen in many annual exhibitions including the Keene’s Art walk, Art in the Park and the Ewing Art Awards. Over the years I have taken advantage of all of these opportunities to join others in showing my work, but I have also displayed my photographs in a long list of local galleries, restaurants, cafes, banks, churches and any other public places that might have an unguarded open wall. As I have said many times before, it is all about “showing the work”, but it seems that the list of venues has been decreasing while the number of artists seeking places to display their work has exploded.
Some locations have grown tired of the hassle of constantly juggling rotating exhibitions. Instead of managing a fresh set of holes hammered into their walls every month, many have opted for a fixed display of decoration. I can’t say that I blame them.
I probably wouldn't want the atmosphere of my elegant restaurant altered every month based on the artistic whim of my latest exhibitor. Of course all styles have their own validity – just not all are conducive to digestion. With the number of venues decreasing, the waiting lists are getting longer. What is a poor artist struggling for recognition to do?
Consider just a few basic principals.
- First get on the lists. Don’t be discouraged by the twelve
or eighteen month waiting periods. Time passes
and, if you are on enough lists, you will eventually settle into a schedule.
- Be nice to your venues. Show up as scheduled and hang and remove your
work at a time that is convenient for your host, not in the middle of the dinner
- Try to be as gentle as possible to the walls. If your venue doesn’t have a hanging system,
avoid repeatedly pounding nails to re-position your work. You won’t be invited back if you leave the
walls in tatters. I use my nifty picture hanging tool to get the height right the first time
- Choose your art carefully to compliment the mood of
the venue. What would work well in a
gallery of avant-garde art may not be appreciated in an elegant
restaurant. When displaying in hospitals
or clinics, I tend to avoid my moody cemetery images.
- Finally, you should be ready for opportunities. I was on list for the Prime Roast in Keene New Hampshire, scheduled for sometime in 2017, but early last week I got the call. Someone had dropped out at the last minute and Judy was looking for a replacement. I have shown at the café on several previous occasions, Judy knew my work, and I had my “show in a box” ready to go.
The Show in a Box
When not in a show I keep the bulk of my framed images, wrapped in corrugated, in a bin ready to load into the car. From previous exhibitions, I knew that the front walls of the café can fit nine or ten of my images. I looked back at the list from my last show and selected newer images that hadn’t been displayed there before. Everything fit in a single bin. Prime Roast has a wire hanging system which makes adjustment in spacing and height a snap. Within a little over an hour, the show was hung, adjusted and photographed. The next day I was able to post a list of the images. Done!
The point here is that with all the competition for good venues, it is important to be ready to quickly accommodate the urgent requests. It is surprising how often they come. Owners hate bare walls, and they appreciate and remember those who are able to help them out of a bind.
So assemble your bin of art and be ready for the call. Remember, it is all about showing the work.
- If you around Keene drop by the Prime Roast Coffee Company for some great coffee and, of course, inspiring New England Photography
Check out the
Prime Roast Show Gallery.
Prime Roast Show Gallery.
Hanging Art : Links