Art students: 5 ways to make the most of your final degree show

By in How To


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It’s degree show season, a time when emerging talent in art and design is presented to the world. After all that hard work, you want to make the most of this valuable opportunity to get your art out there. Here are some tips on how to do so…

1. Curate your space

  • Take time to plan your space, think about how the work will be perceived from an outsider’s perspective. Make the most of others in your space – ask people’s opinion and develop an objective view
  • Don’t rush the details – for example, take care to finish walls to a high standard. Bodge jobs are all too common and can dramatically let down great work, so it’s worth putting in the extra hours to make it perfect.
  • Make sure your work is labelled correctly, and include information if necessary. Ensure the labelling is a collective decision by you and your course.

2. Work with others

  • Making enemies is never fun! Your work is important but remember that others are all in the same boat, and often space in universities is limited. Make sure everyone agrees on the work and how it is shown. Have a meeting before you start, and bring up things like floor space, sound, the amount of light needed, and how the space is to be accessed.
  • Use your course as a network and work together to market your show. Setting up teams for different areas, such as the catalogue, flyers, space curation, and logistics can be extremely useful too.

3. Price your work correctly

  • If you’re not sure where to start, read our article for advice on how to price your artwork!
  • A common mistake by students is pricing their work too high. Even if it sells, you have put a price on your art that you may not be able to maintain after graduating, and this can often become a trap later down the line.
  • A common misconception is the story of the rich collector looking for the next big thing – most of the time, this just isn’t the case. Be realistic of your audience, and take into account your emerging status.
  • Keep an eye on how your fellow students are pricing their work. Does yours seem drastically out of proportion? Perhaps you need to rethink.

4. Market yourself and your show

  • Ensure your show is listed on Art Listing websites, such as a-n, ArtRabbit, TimeOut etc.
  • You should ideally have a website to promote the show collectively. It can be really simple, just to provide information on the location, dates, a list of the exhibiting artists and perhaps a short bio. This will make it easier to market your show on art listings websites etc.
  • Make sure you have business cards on you at all times, and ensure they are well stocked in your space.
  • Use social media to get your degree show out there, for example, set up a Facebook page and an event to which you can invite your online network. If you’re new to online marketing, read our tips on using social media
  • It can be difficult with all of the other work in the lead up to your show, but having a personal website is so important these days. We may be biased, but we’d recommend ArtWeb’s website builder to get your work online in no time!

5. Presence

  • Try to be at your space as much as possible during your show.
  • Make it clear that you are the artist by initiating conversation with people who seem interested in your work.
  • If you can’t be there the whole time, make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch. Again, business cards, artist statements, and catalogues are all important ways for people to connect with you in the future.

Are you an art student or graduate with experience of degree shows you’d like to share? If so, we’d love to hear your advice, please comment on this article!

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