Guest blogger, Alexandra Mosoeanu, is the founder and curator of Plays & Players Gallery, a contemporary gallery located within Plays & Players Theatre in Philadelphia, PA. The gallery curates exhibitions that explore content within each playwright. In addition to managing Plays & Players Gallery, Alexandra is a mixed media artist and educator. Her work explores the concept of creativity as it pertains to nature and the human spirit.
1. Know your Audience
The most important and essential aspect to curating a successful show is to be aware of who will be engaging with the space. Do your research on the space’s location and the surrounding people. These are the people who will most likely engage with the space.
For example Plays & Players Gallery is located inside of Plays & Players Theatre. The audience for a theatre of this type, typically are not familiar with lingo used in the visual art world. After simplifying my message and ridding of art lingo, I developed an art talk that would be engaging this particular audience.
2. Always have a backup plan
Curating a group show on your own is a lot of work so having a few hands on deck to help you is important. It’s always helpful to have people help with tasks such as picking up flyers, hanging artwork, etc., but what happens when a volunteer promises to do something and doesn’t? The first thing you do not do is panic or throw the other person under the bus. The best thing to do at this moment is to already have had a backup plan. Even with the help from others, you’ll have have some setbacks. As the curator of a show, you should be prepared for those hurdles if you want the exhibition to be successful and positively received.
3. Get Organized
When I’m not not gathering artwork from artists or printing flyers, I’m thinking of the floor plan and opening reception horderves...Multitasking is something you will be doing a lot of so knowing how to keep it all under control is key. Multitasking means time management and the most visual way of getting organized with your time is to develop a plan. I use a daily planner to organize the exhibition timeline, highlight important dates and meetings
It can get overwhelming but with cell phone reminders, To Do lists and a planning tool that works for you anything is possible. There is just something so satisfying about crossing things off and knowing you’ve made progress.
4. Stay Open Minded
Are you a perfectionist? If so, I hope you are familiar with deep breathing meditation because you’ll probably need to do a lot of it. When curating a show,especially a group show you will find that sometimes the original blueprint will need to change. Redesigning the layout of the blueprint and rehanging is common. Staying open minded about the layout and other key parts of the exhibition is key to being successful (and keeping your sanity).
For example, for our most recent show at Plays & Players Gallery Staples did not complete the flyers in time for the marketing timeline of our opening reception, so I was I quick on my feet. I printed copies of the flyers in house instead. Sure it wasn’t glossy and super professional but having an empty room is a lot worse.
5. Rules and Regulations
Lastly, knowing your rights as a curator and knowing the rights of the artists you represent is a really important. Has the artist signed a contract? What is the commission price? Do you know what you are responsible for once the artist drops off their artwork?
Curators know all the ins and outs of the legal aspects to having work in a space. Get informed about contracts and other legal documentation that pertain to the building you’re working within.
Join Alexandra Mosoeanu at Plays & Players Gallery on February 11 from 2pm-5pm to see her newest exhibition, DOOMS DAY. DOOMS DAY is a group exhibition featuring eight Philadelphia-based artists : Sara Cocchi, Caitlin Tzchanz, Alexander Shanks, Alexander Trosko, Matthew Vacante, S.E. Tyler, Katherine Roll & Alexandra Mosoeanu.The exhibition unravels and explores eacg artist’s way of coping with our impending doom. They answer the question: "You have one day left to do live. What do you do?"
CALL FOR ARTISTS: Plays & Players Gallery is curating a show for Women’s Empowerment Month in March. If you or someone you know are a self-identified woman artist and are interested in showing work, please send 3-4 examples of your art to firstname.lastname@example.org.