Friday, March 15, 2013

Spaces: Exploration of Art Venues, Notes 5: Non-profit Venues

On Saturday, March 9, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition offered the Artist Survival Kit workshop, "Spaces: An Exploration of Art Venues." During this workshop, five speakers shared their experiences with different art venue types including retail, restaurants, commercial galleries, non-profit venues, and auctions/secondary markets. In this series of blog posts, we share notes from each speaker thanks to ASK Committee Co-chair Sarah Atlee.
Glenn Herbert Davis, Tulsa
Over, Mixed Media, 11' x 13' 5" x 5' 11"
Glenn Herbert Davis: Not-for-profit, university, and alternative spaces

These types of spaces will often be self-funded and are often funded through grants. Sales tend to be anomalous, rather than the rule.

When showing at this type of venue, an artist will need to transport and/or ship their work, may be giving public talks, and may spend some time in residence. There is often an educational programming component. A university, for example, usually covers at least part of these costs, and may offer the artist a stipend.

Glenn's work is mostly site-specific installation, often with performative or time-based aspects. His work does not often lend itself to sales.

Advice for showing at a university:
Ask for what you need.
Don't question policy. (Example - if you are required to install between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm, respect that.)
Respect the time of the people who are helping you.
Be as practical and forthcoming as possible. Keep lines of communication open.
Don't expect venue organizers to drop everything for you. Be prepared to work within their limitations.
Be organized, and do the job you agreed to do.
Every exhibition involves a practical exchange of services and time (which may or may not include money). There are no gifts.

Glenn looks for interesting, ambitious, enjoyable, low-cost things to do. If he can get paid in the process, even better. By creating repeatable, packageable works, he opens up a wider range of potential venues. He makes sure to have detailed documentation and instructions for disassembly and reassembly.

Glenn uses Sketchup to create 3-d models of his work for proposals. He encourages physically visiting an exhibition space, not just relying on floor plans provided.

Not-for-profit spaces typically review submissions by committee, rather than a single person. The committee may be separate from the venue's institution. There may be members who are brought in specifically to review your work. Keep in mind that when your submission is under review by a committee, they are on the lookout for reasons why you might be too much trouble to deal with.

Not-for-profit exhibition cycles tend to be shorter than commercial venues. Glenn will often have about five days to install, followed by the opening, then about three weeks of exhibition time before takedown.

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