checklists and guides for artists

Checklists & Guides

Use a series of checklists for various artist activities like exhibitions, performances, lectures, and events.

Understand the various things an artist needs to know and keep track of when presenting work.

You can also get our popular book for artists which includes all of this information and more here.


Exhibition Checklist 

Once you have secured a venue for your exhibition, make sure you understand the following:
(Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue)

Name of exhibition:

Name of venue:

Address of venue:

Dates for the exhibition:

What are the hours of operation? or is it by appointment only?

Date and time of the opening reception:

Is the opening reception a private RSVP-only event or open to the public?

Who is the main contact person for the venue?

Is there a contract or loan form provided by the venue?

When can you sign the contract or loan form?

If work is sold, what is the commission for the venue?

Is there a discount percentage shared between you and the venue?  What is it?

What is the honorarium or artist’s fee?

Who pays for shipping, insurance, and reception costs?

What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

What are your responsibilities as the artist?

Is there a floor plan for the space? If so, where is it located?

When are the installation and deinstallation dates?

What are the installation procedures?

Who installs the work?

What tools are available for installation?

What equipment and technical support is available?

Are there issues with electrical outlets and extension cord routes?

Who designs and mails the announcement?

If the gallery designs and mails the announcement, what is the deadline for information from the artist?

Who pays for the announcements and the mailing?

What is the deadline for information needed for the press release and other publicity?

Does the venue have an email list for announcements?

How many invitations will you receive as the artist and what kind will they be? Email, postcards?

 

Download the Exhibition Checklist Form below:


Exhibition Timeline

A very important step in organizing an exhibition timeline is having clear communication between you and your venue. Some venues will take care of virtually everything on this list, while others require you to put in all of the work. Understanding who is responsible for specific tasks not only ensures everything will be done in a timely manner but it prevents mistakes, wasteful spending, and unnecessary drama.

Months before the show opens

Sign agreement with exhibition venue detailing dates, commissions, and any relevant information listed           above.

Write up a budget for your project.

Plan any new work that needs to be made.

Make sure your mailing list is updated and ready to go.

Do a layout of the installation of your show, using a map if helpful.

Make sure you have a contract, if possible.

Photograph any works that are finished.

Check the press release for accurate information or write it yourself.  

Organize publicity packets and include a copy of the announcement if available. State that images are           available in digital, high resolution (300 dpi, 10 inches on the long side) and include a link for where they           can download those images. Artists who have this set up often get their images reproduced.

Send publicity to magazines.

6 weeks before the show opens

Design your email and snail mail announcements, or work with a graphic designer.

Check all spelling, and use the announcement checklist to make sure you have included all of the           necessary information. Be sure that the reader will understand the difference between the run of the           exhibition, and the date and time of the opening reception. This is especially important if the reception is       held on a different day as the first operating day of the exhibition.

Get bids from printers, if needed. This allows for enough time to shop around for the best price.

Print announcement.

Email a Save the Date announcement.

Announcement Contents Checklist

Title of show.

Dates of show.

Hours the show will be open to the public.

Date and time of opening reception.

Venue and address, phone number, email, and website information.

Directions, if needed.

Parking info. This is especially important in high-traffic/urban locations.

Acknowledgments.

If the space is wheelchair accessible, note this on the invite.

List of artists in the show, or your name.

Be sure there is room for the label or address, and the stamp or nonprofit indicia, if mailing. Follow           mailing guidelines through your postal service in order to receive precise dimensions.

4 weeks before the show opens

Recruit people to help with the reception: bartenders, parking attendants, ticket takers, gallery sitters,           etc., as needed.

Distribute publicity (announcements, flyers, etc.) and post on social networking sites.

Mail announcements, if using bulk mail.

Mail press releases to newspapers, weekly publications, reviewers, and radio stations.

Make a checklist of those things you need to do to finish the work; e.g., framing, installation hardware,           painting walls in gallery, etc.

Send a Save the Date announcement to your email list.

3 weeks before the show opens

Make sure your artwork is ready to install.

Go over any special requirements with the venue to make sure you are in agreement with the site           management.

Design and order any exhibition signage you will need.

Arrange for photographer or videographer to document the work or performance at the exhibition site.

Mail announcements, if using first class mail.

Send press releases to broadcast media.

Assemble and mail press packets to special writers and publications. (See Press section.)

2 weeks before the show opens

Make calls to calendar listings managers to make sure your event will be listed.

Make phone calls to arts writers and invite them to the show or event.

Create social network event invitations and invite your friends.

Schedule installation and/or performance rehearsals.

Design and print any handouts, exhibition checklist, price lists, artist statements, programs etc.

Email invitations to your email list. (Put your email addresses in the BCC addressee area to ensure that           private email addresses are not made public.)

If you send an image as an attachment or inclusion, make sure it is the smallest size (the image should           never be more than 1MB, and be a low resolution image, which is 72 dpi and 6 inches on the long side).

Many readers will not click a link, so include the information in the body of the email, if possible. (Never           send a PDF on its own, as this increases the likelihood that your information will NOT be read.)

1 week before the show opens

Make sure all supplementary materials are printed or in a binder. 

Make sure your résumé, artist statement, price lists, reviews, guest sign-in sheets, etc. are ready.

Make sure the venue is ready for you to install the work and, if needed, do so.

Patch and paint any walls or surfaces.

Install exhibition signage.

2 days before the show opens

Set or adjust lighting.

Print, mount, and install any labels needed.

Clean or paint any wall surfaces.

Set up guest book and supplementary information.

Get reception supplies that don’t require refrigeration.

Test all equipment and do any rehearsals necessary.

Send a very brief reminder about the opening to your email list.

Take any clothes you plan to wear to the opening to the dry cleaners, if necessary.

 Opening day of the show

Buy any reception supplies requiring refrigeration. Don’t forget the ice.

Check to make sure everything is installed and working.

Show up on time to the reception.

Call any special friends or writers to remind them about the show.

During the run of the show

Document with video or digital images early, in case you need to re-shoot the images.

Make any appointments with curators or writers at the venue.

Week before closing

If you plan a closing reception send reminder emails.

Send reminder emails about the last chance to see the show.

After the show

Send thank you notes to everyone who volunteered.

Send letters to those who donated money or in-kind services to your show, and include a 501(c)(3) letter if needed for a tax deduction.

De-install the show, making sure that the space is returned to its original condition, if required.

Make sure your show is taken down in time for the next person to install.


Performance Checklist

Once you have secured a venue for your performance, make sure you understand the following: (Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue.)

Name of Performance:

Venue:

Dates for the performance(s):

Date and time of the opening reception:

Who is the main contact person for the venue, such as the theater manager?

When can you sign the contract?

What is the honorarium or artist’s fee?

Will you receive a share of the profits, and how much?

Who pays for shipping, insurance, reception costs, and invitations?

What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

What are your responsibilities as the artist?

Is there a floor plan for the space or stage? If so, where is it?

What changes can you make to the performance area? 

What can’t you change on site?

When will you have access to the space?

When are the rehearsal dates?

What are the rehearsal procedures?

Who installs the stage elements and sets lighting?

Is there enough seating at the venue?

Who designs and mails the announcement?

Does the venue have an email list for announcements?

How many invitations will you receive as the artist?

If the venue designs and mails the announcements, what is the deadline for information from the artist?

Who pays for the announcements and the mailing?

What is the deadline for information needed for the press release and other publicity?

What equipment and technical support is available?

Is there back-up equipment?

What tools are available on-site?

Are there issues with electrical outlets and extension cord routes?

Are there lighting issues, if so what?

Who will document the event?

 

Download the Performance Checklist Form here:


Performance Timeline

3 months before the performance

Sign agreement with performance venue detailing dates, commissions, and any relevant information `          listed above. (Also see Contracts chapter.)

Write up a budget for your project.

Make sure your mailing list is updated and ready to go.

Do a layout of the installation of your performance elements and props, using a map if helpful.

Plan any new work that needs to be made.

Make sure you have a contract, if possible.

Photograph any performance out-takes, if possible.

Check the press release for accuracy, or write it yourself. Include a copy of the announcement, if available.       Include images, or state that images are available in digital form (high resolution images are 300 dpi, and           10 inches on the long side).

Send publicity to magazines. 

Announcement Contents Checklist

Title of performance.

Dates of performance.

Hours the performance will be open to the public.

Venue and address, phone number, email, and website information.

Price of admission (if applicable)

Directions.

Parking info.

Acknowledgments.

If the space is wheelchair accessible, note this on the invite.

List of artists in the performance, or your name

Be sure there is room for the label or address, and the stamp or nonprofit indicia, if mailing.

6 weeks before the performance

Design your announcements or work with a graphic designer. Check all spelling, and use the announcement checklist to make sure you have included all the necessary information. Be sure that the reader will understand the difference between when the show opens, and the date and time of the performance and/or reception.

Get bids from printers, if needed.

Print announcement.

Recruit people to help with the performance: bartenders, parking attendants, ticket takers, prop           managers, etc., if needed.

Send a Save the Date announcement to your email list.

Distribute publicity (announcements, flyers, etc.).

Mail announcements, if using bulk mail.

Mail press releases to newspapers, weekly publications, reviewers, and radio stations.

Make a checklist of things you need to do to finish the work.

3 weeks before the performance

Make sure your set pieces and performance props are ready to install.

Go over any special requirements with the venue to make sure you are in agreement with the site           management.

Arrange for photographer or videographer to document the performance.

Design and order any performance signage you will need.

Assemble and mail press packets to special writers and publications. (See Press section.)

Send press releases to broadcast media.

Mail announcements, if using first class mail.

2 weeks before the performance

Make calls to calendar listings managers to make sure your event will be listed.

Make phone calls to arts writers and invite them to the show or event.

Schedule final dress rehearsals.

Create social network event invitations and invite your friends.

Design and print any handouts, artist statement, programs, etc.

Email invitations to your emailing list. (Put your email addresses in the BCC addressee).

If you send an image as an attachment or inclusion, make sure it is the smallest size (the image should           never be more than 1MB, and be a low resolution image, which is 72 dpi and 6 inches on the long side).

Many readers will not click a link, so include the information in the body of the email, if possible.  

1 week before the performance

Make sure all supplementary materials are printed or in a binder. (Résumé, artist statement, reviews,           guest sign-in sheets, etc.)

Make sure the venue is ready for you to install any sets and props.

Install performance signage.

Put together your comp list for the person who will take tickets at the door.

2 days before the performance

Set or adjust lighting.

Patch and paint any walls or surfaces.

Set up guest book and supplementary info.

Get reception supplies that don’t require refrigeration.

Test all equipment, and do any rehearsals necessary.

Take any clothes you plan to wear to the opening to the dry cleaners, if necessary. 

Opening day of the performance

Check to make sure everything is installed and working.

Show up on time to the final rehearsal or event.

Call any special friends or writers to remind them.

Buy any reception supplies requiring refrigeration. Don’t forget the ice.

During the performance

Document the show with video or digital images.

After the performance

Send thank you notes to everyone who volunteered.

Send letters to those who donated money or in-kind services to your event, and include a 501(c)(3) letter       if needed for a tax deduction.

De-install the set pieces and performance props, making sure that the space is returned to its original           condition, if required.

Make sure your props are taken down in time for the next person to install.


Screening Checklist

Once you have secured a venue for your screening, make sure you understand the following: 
(Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue)

Name of Screening:

Venue:

Dates and times for the screening:

Who is the main contact person for the venue, such as the theater/space manager?

What formats are required at the site?

Check on all projection equipment available.

When can you sign the contract, or loan form?

If work is sold, what is the commission for the venue?

What is the honorarium or artist’s fee?

What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

What are your responsibilities as the artist?

Who pays for shipping, insurance, reception costs, and invitations?

Is there a floor plan for the space? If so where is it?

Who sets up the screening?

What technology is available for screening?

Who designs and mails the announcement?  

If the host venue designs and mails the announcement, what is the deadline for information from the           artist?

Who pays for the announcements and the mailing?

What is the deadline for information needed for the press release and other publicity?

Does the venue have an emailing list for announcements?

How many invitations will you receive as the artist?

What equipment and technical support is available?

Are there issues with electrical outlets and extension cord routes?

 

Download the Screening Checklist Form here:


Screening Timeline

3 months before the screening

Write up a budget for your project.

Make sure your mailing list is updated and ready to go.

Make sure you have a contract if possible.

Photograph any screening out-takes, if possible.

Check the press release for accurate information, or write it yourself. 

Organize publicity packets and include a copy of the announcement if available. Include images, or state       that images are available in digital form (high resolution means 300 dpi, and 10 inches on the long side).

 Send publicity to magazines. 

6 weeks before the screening

Design your announcements or work with a graphic designer. Check all spelling, and use the announcement checklist to make sure you have included all the necessary information. Be sure that the reader will understand the difference between when the show opens, and the date and time of the opening reception.

Get bids from printers.

Print announcement.

Announcement Contents Checklist

Title of screening.

Dates of screening.

Hours the screening will be open to the public.

Venue and address, phone number, email, and website information.

Directions.

Parking info.

Acknowledgments.

Your name.

Be sure there is room for the label or address, and the stamp or nonprofit indicia, if you are using snail           mailing.

If the space is wheelchair accessible, note this on the invite.

4 weeks before the screening

Recruit people to help with the reception: bartenders, parking attendants, ticket takers, ushers, etc., if           needed.

Distribute publicity (announcements, flyers, etc.).

Mail announcements, if using bulk mail.

Mail press releases to newspapers, weekly publications, reviewers, and radio stations.

Make a checklist of things you need to do to finish the work. 

Send a Save the Date announcement to your email list.

3 weeks before the screening

Make sure your screening material is ready.

Go over any special requirements with the venue to make sure you are in agreement with the site           management.

Design and order any screening signage you will need.

Mail announcements, if using first class mail.

Send press releases to broadcast media.

Assemble and mail press packets to special writers and publications. (See Press section.)

2 weeks before the screening

Make calls to calendar listings managers to make sure your event will be listed.

Create social networking invitations and invite your friends.

Make phone calls to arts writers and invite them to the screening.

Design and print any handouts, artist statement, programs, etc.

If you send an image as an attachment or inclusion, make sure it is the smallest size (low resolution           images are 72 dpi, and 6 inches on the long side).

Email invitations to your emailing list. (Put your email addresses in the BCC addressee). 

If you send an image as an attachment or inclusion, make sure it is the smallest size (the image should           never be more than 1MB, and be a low resolution image which, is 72 dpi and 6 inches on the long side).

Many readers will not click a link, so include the information in the body of the email, if possible.  

1 week before the screening

Make sure all supplementary materials are printed or in a binder. Résumé, artist statement, reviews, guest       sign-in sheets, etc.

Make contact with the venue manager.

Make sure the venue is ready. Visit the site.

Create a comp list for the person taking tickets at the door.

 2 days before the screening

Set or adjust lighting for optimal screening conditions.

Set up guest book and supplementary info.

Get reception supplies that don’t require refrigeration.

Test all equipment and do any rehearsals necessary.

Take any clothes you plan to wear to the opening to the dry cleaners, if necessary.

Opening day of the screening

Buy any reception supplies requiring refrigeration. Don’t forget the ice.

Check to make sure everything is installed and working.

Show up on time to the event.

Call any special friends or writers to remind them.

Document the event.

After the screening

Send thank you notes to everyone who volunteered.

Send letters to those who donated money or in-kind services to your event, and include a 501(c)(3) letter if needed for a tax deduction.


Visiting Artist Lecture Checklist

Once you have secured a venue for your lecture, make sure you understand the following:
(Choose the questions that are applicable to your project and the venue)

Date and time for the lecture:

Venue location:

Who is the main contact person for the venue?

What is the honorarium or artist‘s fee?:

When can you sign the contract?

Who is your audience?

How long are you expected to talk?

 Is the venue set up for questions from the audience? If so, will the venue provide a moderator?

What are the responsibilities of the venue or gallery?

What are your responsibilities as the artist?

What are the particular issues or artwork the venue expects you to present?

Is there a stage or lectern?

Microphone or amplification?

Does the venue have an emailing list for announcements?

Who designs and mails the announcement?

If the venue does, what is the deadline for information from the artist?

How many invitations will you receive as the artist?

What is the deadline for information needed for the press release and other publicity?

What equipment and technical support is available?

Is there back-up equipment?

 

Download the Visiting Lecture Checklist Form here:


Things to Consider When Giving a Lecture

Talking Points:

Your background, in terms of education, type of artwork you produce, etc.

Your influences, such as other artists, events, elements of popular culture, etc.

The materials you use, and any special techniques. How do the materials lend to the content of the work?

The content of the work, where your ideas come from, and sources of imagery.

Describe the evolution of your work, and the history of your ideas.

Identify the audience for your work, and what type of response you intend/hope to elicit.

Face your audience when describing your work, NOT the projection screen.

Be enthusiastic and enjoy the presentation. 

Connect with your full audience by making eye contact throughout the room, including those sitting in           the back.

Project your voice. If you have a quiet voice, request a microphone.

When presenting the work, the audience likes to know what they are looking at, so include the title, date       made, materials, and other pertinent information.

Preparation:

Be on time.

Consider making an outline for your talk. You can set it up in various ways, such as chronologically, thematically, or as a narrative.

Be selective about the amount of work you show, and don’t overwhelm or bore your audience. 

Adhere to the amount of time you have been given to speak (generally 90 minutes, at most), and make sure to include time for questions.

If you are new to this, it is good idea to do a practice session and run through your presentation materials in front of someone else.

If you are showing slides, check that they are projecting correctly, if at all possible. It is embarrassing when you have upside down slides during your talk. (See information on Slide Labeling).

If you are projecting a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, make sure you have a backup burned on a CD and/or a flash drive.

Make sure you have all the necessary cords to connect your computer to the host institution’s projector, if applicable.

Print two copies of your talking points and bring them to the venue.

Make sure the presentation will work on the host institution’s computer.

Make sure you prepare for a wide range of questions, including those that you find difficult to answer.

 Day of the lecture

Check to make sure the equipment is working.

Make sure your media is in working order, and your slides are loaded correctly.

Pre-load your own slide tray.

Arrive early, and allow plenty of time for set up and equipment and media check.

Bring two copies of your talking points.

Call any special friends or writers to remind them.

After the lecture

Send thank you notes to everyone who helped you at the venue.

Add your lecture to your résumé and CV.

Other tips:

Be yourself, and talk with an authentic tone of voice. 

You know your work best, so be truthful and enthusiastic.

Sometimes it is useful to mingle with your audience and make connections before the talk. It sets the           tone, and makes you accessible to your audience.

If you are nervous, don’t let it get to you. You might admit your nervousness to the audience, as it tends           to make them very sympathetic and generous.

Be sure to allow your audience to ask questions, during and/or after your talk.

Create an inviting discussion atmosphere for your audience.

Thank the audience for coming, and thank the hosts.