The province of Nova Scotia went into a lockdown on April 28th to try to reverse the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and only essential services are open. Our public libraries are closed, which means my Trailings exhibit is also closed. But....you can view my whole project online!
I compiled a guide as part of my project....part exhibit guide, part project history. I created a 32 page magazine and ordered some hard copies for sale. I also put the whole magazine into pdf format and into an easily viewable online magazine. Details about the process are below...but first...here is the link to view here: https://my.flipbookpdf.net/exxim Just click on the arrows at the top right of your screen to page forward and back through the magazine.
Exhibit Guides - Part 4 of an ongoing series about preparing for exhibits
I have only participated in two exhibits that included an exhibit guide as part of the experience, so I have very limited knowledge about this whole subject.
The first exhibit guide was created as part of a group exhibit that my photography club put together in 2017. I was in charge of the exhibit, and took it upon myself to create a guide. This guide was not for the general public, but the participants all ordered a copy of it as a keepsake. I created the guide using a print on demand company called Blurb Books, and I selected an 8x10 inch trade publication to reduce expenses. Each page of the exhibit guide featured one of the participants, and included the image title, large image, location and date under the image, a brief description/blurb about the image, and the photographer's name and bio at the bottom of the page.
The second time was a 2018 exhibit at Viewpoint Gallery in Halifax, NS. A juried group exhibit called Picturing Health, it included work by 10 photographers. The cover of the guide was simple, and included the exhibit title, one line explanation "A Group Exhibition Exploring the Relationship between Wellness and Creatvity", exhibit dates, participating photographers, and gallery logo.
The contents of the exhibit guide consisted of:
- a two page introduction to the exhibit
- a one page note from the President of the sponsoring foundation
- each of the 10 photographers had a two page spread, with their images on the left page and a brief artist statement and bio on the right page
- one page with information about the host gallery and the sponsoring foundation
Simple, straight forward, and professionally put together, the exhibit guide certainly made me feel like I was part of something special.
When I was putting together my Trailings exhibit, I was originally scheduled to show the exhibit in two locations. In the first location, I would be able to sell my work and I decided to create an exhibit guide to give people an item they could purchase at a much lower price point.
I decided that my exhibit guide would be more than just information about the photos in the exhibit...it would include background information to explain the whole project. (In case you haven't yet taken a look....go to the top of this blog post to click on a link and view it online) It took many hours of organizing...and reorganizing...but I finally got the document to what I wanted.
Then I found out that my first exhibit location fell through due to some unexpected renovations. I wasn't able to sell the guides at the second location, but decided to order a small batch of magazines to sell myself and then created the online magazine to share my project with everyone who was interested.
And...I'm happy to say....I have sold all but one of my hard copies. In a non COVID world where I could have had an artist talk with the public, I'm sure I could have sold many more.
Would I put something like this together again? In a heartbeat. I love creating books/magazines..it's one of my favourite hobbies.
Would I recommend other exhibiting artists to spend the time putting something like this together? Only if you are creating the exhibit/project guide for YOU and your own satisfaction. It's not a big money maker and the time invested in the creation of the guide could be spent in more productive ways if you're looking at it from a financial payback point of view.
One last tip - creating online viewable books/magazines. If you create your guide using Blurb Books, you can simply select the option for the public to view your book. You can select a few pages, or the whole book, for viewing. However, I didn't want people thinking I was trying to push sales so I came up with another option. I created a pdf of my guide, and then I did a search for "free online pdf to flipbook converter". I selected FlipbookPDF.net and chose the free version. That means they "brand" your flipbook with their logo...no big deal for me. You can easily add your project title, select the "sound" you want when the pages are flipped (I opted for no sound), and then you get a link you can share.
I hope this gives some insight into exhibit guides. There is no right or wrong. If you're part of a gallery exhibit, they will look after everything for you. If you're arranging your own exhibit, it's your choice whether to have an exhibit guide or not....and what to include or not.
Previous articles about preparing for exhibits:
Also from the Trailings Series: