Preparing for exhibits and art shows takes much forethought. In this article, The Rickie Report will look at lighting issues and quantities of merchandise. Is natural sunlight enough to showcase your work at an outdoor exhibit? How much inventory should you have on hand and how much should you display at one time? Display Part III highlights what you need to consider.
The Art of Display Part III
- Lighting serves many purposes. You will need to consider each one depending on what you are displaying
- Lighting creates an ambiance ( just like in your home)
- High end creations, such as jewelry, need bright light sources
- If you have closed cases, you can install lighting inside
- We have found that small, tabletop self-powered lights can diminish rather than enhance your display.
- Make sure that your application includes your electrical needs! No one wants to arrive and set up only to realize you have no power.
- Flameless candles are popular and set a mood, but cannot be relied upon for brightening your space. If you are selling candles, these are a good option especially when you are at an outdoor show. They give the effect of your own candles without the worry or danger of an open flame.
- Consider bringing your own generator to outdoor shows. Have enough fuel to power all of your electrical needs, considering the extra time for setting up and taking down, when you will want lighting.
- If you are selling vintage pieces, a few older standing lamps can not only provide lighting, but set the tone of your display.
- Experiment with different light bulbs before your event
- The quality of your lighting is just as important as the art objects you have created.
- There are good quality, battery operated lights for 2 dimensional artwork hanging on walls. Your investment is worthwhile!
- Using mirrors for reflection is also a good use of light, whether natural or electrical.
- Thinking about reflectivity: make sure your lights are not shining into the eyes of your visitors!
- We have seen some exhibitors close off their booths with dark cloth. Once you step into their booth, their lighting truly enhances their artwork. The sense of secrecy heightens the aura of their display and art pieces. This is especially effective when their work involves light and fiber optics.
- Consider spot lights, flood lights, down lighting and valance lighting depending on your exhibit space and budget.
- A word about CORDS: SAFETY !!! Make your best efforts to keep cords out of the walk ways in your space. Does this mean you will need more outlets? More extension cords? IF you have to run cords within your walking space, use heavy duty duct tape to keep them flat. (This is where a floor cloth or carpet comes in handy – it can minimize the “bump” of cords).
How Much to Display?
- Don’t feel that you need to display all of your inventory at the same time
- Remember to leave “white space” for your visitor’s eyes to rest between glances at your artistic works.
- Showcasing a particular style of pottery: If your exhibit space is large enough, show one of each color. If not, show only a few AND have a color chart showing the various glazes you offer in that style.
- Wood working: Most of your pieces will vary according to the type and grain of wood as well as any finish or stain you’ve used. Keep complimentary shapes together so clients’ eyes can see the variations in one spot. Remember to use varying heights to bring interest to your display.
- Jewelry…some people think “the more, the better”. Depending on your creations’ colors you might want to rethink this. We’ve been so overwhelmed by the cacophony of colors in some exhibits, that we have walked out. Consider groupings by type ( rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings) and even by color or gemstone families. A mishmash is hard to focus on. With lack of focus comes lack of sales.
- Wall art should be hung so viewers can see the details you have painstakingly created. Not too high and not too low.
- Consider placing some pieces on easels – both on the floor and smaller ones on table tops. Be sure the easels are stable!
- Art pieces also are displayed on shelves, especially if they are small and can be grouped with books or other objects.
- Have a sign indicating that you have more inventory that is not displayed. Encourage people to ask to see what else you have. The mere act of you opening some packaging for someone else evokes a certain sense of excitement and anticipation ( like opening a gift). Your actions will also bring more people to your exhibit space (they want to see what had previously been hidden and is about to be revealed, too!)
- As your supply diminishes, replenish and move items around. Showcasing smaller objects in a large basket? Move them to a smaller basket. The smaller basket will look fuller.
- What if you actually SELL OUT???
- This is why you have a photo album!
- If no replacements are available, you can rearrange your walls and displays so your lack of inventory is not so obvious.
- Consider keeping the price and label for the item already sold and placing a “SOLD” sign above it in large font. Leave an obvious space. (Customer’s remorse can play a strategic role when you are back in the area again. They will be sure to come to your booth early next time!)
- We urge you to display work on all sides of your walls ( especially the outside walls, which passersby see).
- For a multi-day event, we suggest you change your wall displays. People who have attended the show on a previous day may not have noticed some of your pieces. Being in a different position, it may stand out and call to them!
- Another use for outside walls is to hang your signage. Let people know who and what is being exhibited and sold in your booth before they make the next step and are in front of you.
The Rickie Report looks forward to sharing your news, when you are taking part in an exhibit or a show.
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For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:
Rickie Leiter, Publisher
The Rickie Report
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420