Coordinating an Art Show

Just when you think you have control of life you’re asked to coordinate a major art show. “A nice chunk of change,” you’re offered for very little work since the show has been running smoothly for a number of years. “Too good to be true.” “No such thing as a free lunch.” Quotes like these run through your mind, particularly as you say yes. . .yes, you will be the 2016 coordinator for the Arapahoe Community College Community Education Student/Instructor Art Show.

Logistics are in place, however, there are always those little details that, if an event runs smoothly, no one outside of the conscientious coordinator is aware of.

How hard can this be. . .you send out letters to students and instructors inviting them to show current work and giving them dates for 1) Art Check-in 2) Hanging Art 3) Judging Art 4) Opening Reception and 5) Art Pick-up. You can follow the previous coordinator’s timeline, just tweak the dates a bit. How hard can this be? Another letter needs to go to art instructors asking them to solicit volunteers from their classes to assist with invitation check-in, hanging, reception and pick-up at the end of the show.

It is the middle of February and you feel very confident as you develop a folder to house “The Com Ed Student and Instructor Art Show.” You compose your invitation letter to students and instructors and enlist the help of the Community Ed office to email as many as possible and snail mail letters to those without email. This should be completed by the end of March, however, when you check with the Com Ed office, you realize that they have gotten so used to the previous coordinator accomplishing everything without their knowledge that many of your emails, carefully copied to everyone have gone unread. Pat yourself on the back for checking on whether or not letters had been sent.

It is now the end of March. Time to prepare the announcement poster, post card and press release. You create these in PhotoShop, not being comfortable with InDesign. Again, how hard can this be? In tandem with these items you email the caterer using the same one from previous years and the musical group, which has performed in the past. Your email to the caterer bounces back. You check the web site and discover there is a new owner. You send out another email, which also bounces back. You can handle this. You have a phone number. What’s wrong with old school? You actually talk to a nice young lady who takes your order and promises to email a proposed menu with costs.

The musical group responds to your email. They are available and would love to play all they need are chairs without arms; folding chairs are fine. You note that you need to discuss chairs with the Gallery Director. Buoyed by these two successes, you return to the poster and post card. All goes well until you realize you don’t have a clue how to get the “scan thingie” (you later learn this is a QR). You contact the ACC marketing department, which was only planning to do a final approval. After numerous back and forth emails it is determined that Community Ed now falls under the guidelines of the college so, therefore, marketing should handle the design of the poster and post card so all requirements are met. Makes sense to me. Take a breath. You supply marketing with all the necessary information and the image of last year’s award winning painting. They will create, design and get your approval.

In the meantime, you supply the Promotion Department with the same information and image and they create a fabulous press release which will be posted on numerous forms of Social Media. Take two breaths. You secure a juror, order ribbons and set up a meeting with the Gallery Director to learn the protocol of the Gallery. It is closing in on the end of April. You’re not exhaling yet but breathe a little easier after you give final approval for poster and postcards and know the designs have been sent to the printing department. It is now the first of May.

The music group lets you know they’ve been rehearsing and are ready to go. You receive the juror’s bio to be posted with her art. You hear from the instructors that they have a few student volunteers. Dates are confirmed: 1) Check-in, May 18th 2) Hanging, May 19th 3) Judging, May 20th 4) Opening Reception, May 26th 5) End of show and pick-up, June 27th. You’re still sweating a little bit when you discover that the ribbons won’t be mailed till May 20th so you pray that US mail comes through for you. You pick up the finished posters and post cards, admire them and let out half a breath. This week is D-Day.