The Art Opening Needs More than the Artist to be Successful

Read MORE about Lynda LambertThe Ellwood City News, Ellwood City, PA – Feature Story on Lynda LambertThe next time you go to an art gallery or attend an opening reception for the artist please think about the enormous efforts that go into such a thing as an art show.

It is a team effort. 
 Here are the players in the team:
 has to make the work for the show. This normally takes several years of concentrated efforts to creat enough work to fill a gallery.  When my show opened last night at Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton, PA, the gallery was filled with pottery and jewelry that I had worked on to develop for four years.  And, that was four years with almost daily work in the studio.  This is certainly not a hobby type of exhibition. It is a show put on by a seasoned professional artist who can stay focused and on-target with a THEME for a very long period of time. In this case, four years, working on the theme of a PRIMAL GARDEN…la vida luminiscentes.  I decide on the them, then I begin the long process of creating the work for the exhibition with a vision towards what the final “picture” will be. I hold that picture in my mind, daily, over this period fo time as I continue working.
when creating the work, you need a glalery to exhibit the work.  I had been working towards this show for three years with no idea of where it would be shown. Then, one year ago, a gallery called me with an invitation to have a solo show.  And, there it wass.  I had the vision for the show, had been working on that vision for three years, and finally a gallery invited me to host a show. After that, I had one more year to complete the work for the show. It is a long process. You begin in faith not knowing where the show will be, but you begin.
When the time  comes to take your work to the gallery and get it set up for the exhibition, you will need people to help you.  The work has to be carefully delivered. In my case, it took six truck loads to deliver my very fragile and large work. My husband Bob is my road manager, and he transported the truckloads of pottery, one by one, over a period of a week. When we began to unwrap, unbundle, and take out the work for installation, we were joined by a good friend who is an artist.  The three of us began the process of installing the show.  It took three entire days to get the show installed and ready for the opening.  We worked till late the night before the opening, to finish this job.
For the opening recweption you need lots more team members.  Here are some of the things that wyou will need to organize for opening night:
Food and drinks – you’ll need a couple of people in charge of this area of your show.  You want your guests to be able to have refreshments during the reception and you need peole to be sure the table is full all night long.

you will need people in charge of taking care of paying for their purchases.  I had four people in charge of writing up sales and putting the charges through via I-Phone. They also had to write up each sale so that we would know how much we would owe the gallery for the percentage they get from all sales.  Then, the items have to be labeled as sold on the gallery walls. Other things were sold and folks could take them home at the same time. Those things had to be wrapped and bagged.  This takes a team of at least four people to pull off smoothly.  My daughters and grand daughters were in charge of this critical part of the show opening.  They are professionals at this kind of thing and did a fabulous job keeping it all straight.

My great grand daughter is 14 years old. She came to the show and brought one of her firneds. Theyw ere outside the entrance to the gallery. It was their job to greet people, give them a program for going through the show, and be sure they signed my little guest book when they were leaving.  This gave my guests a personal greeting and welcoming feeling upon their arrival.
My husband is part of the team, too. He greets people, spends a lot of time where the food is so that he can be in conversations with people all night long.  He takes care of little things that may come up during the evening.
And, finally, YOU the artist. Once you have arrived and things are put in motion, and you have given your team instructions on how to do things you are then ready to greet the visitors who will be arriving.
Once the first people come through the door, from then on, you are engaged in greeting people, taking them around to see art works, telling them the stories about the works, and just enjoying the next three hours to the fullest.  You will be seeing people from every aspect of your life. Folks from your past community involvements, people from your daily life, people you went to school with many years ago, and you next door neighbors. It is so wonderful and everyone has such a beautiful time together.
My final piece of advice:  wear very comfortable shoes. You will not be seated one time for at least 3 to 4 hours.  Even when I wear shoes that are flat and comfy, believe me, by the end of the night my feet ar buring and feel like they are in a vice. In the final moments of the show, I am now not wearing my shes at all – despite my fancy dress, I am in my bare feet on the cool gallery floor. Everyone laughs and my feet say “ah, thank you so much!”
If you are an artist and want to have a gallery show, begin NOW to design your show and begin working on the pieces for your show. No matter if you do not know exactly where it will be.  It WI”LL BE, once you begin to envision it and begin doing the work for it. Remember, you need a TEAM to help you get your show ready once you have done the work and are ready to have your opening night. You have many friends and family members who will join you and will be happy to do it.
You need to think about what you will wear. You are the STAR of the evening and you need to stand out in the drowd.  I like to select an outfit that matches the spirit of my art work.
For my opening reception I wore a beautiful top designed by MARC BOUWER.  I created a TALISMAN in my encrusted bead weaving techniques to coordinate with this beautiful fluid top.  It was a hit and people asked me all evening where I got my outfit. And, they stopped in their tracks to have a close look at the talisman I designed to match the outfit, that matched my art work. 
It is your show so be a STAR. You need your TEAM. New Castle News, New Castle, PA – Feature Story on Lynda Lambert
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