Loves Cafe Exhibition
Preparation • Loves Café was the venue for our first group show. We went to view the venue and agreed with the owner what we were allowed to exhibit and the dates that were available. • We had lots of preparation to do besides producing a piece of work. • Once the date was fixed we had to design a poster. Initially we agreed an abstract paint work as the backdrop, however, after a lecture on branding and marketing we had to design a poster as individuals of which one was chosen. • Due to the location, demographic and content of the show the following poster was chosen. • The emphasis on individual was prominent and the College and University logos had to be included along with Loves details and the dates of the show and opening night.
Poster for exhibition
Con’t • The backdrop was an ink stains designed by Marta, and the details were added on a post-it note. • There was an issue with the preparation, we had some photoshop training lessons but not enough that people felt confident organising the poster for print. Due to some internal college issues there was a delay in the printing of the poster which meant that the distribution was also delayed. I believe this could have had an impact on the footfall. • Loves Café sell food so this had an bearing on the open evening as we were unable to provide any refreshments or food to ‘get people in the door’. • Also Loves have live entertainment which could either be a bonus to viewings or could mean our work was overlooked. • Loves was very much viewed as an trial run for our Bath exhibition.
Prehang • Another visit to Loves was required to enable us to see the space available to us. • We were allocated a space upstairs where there were dining tables and an informal area with sofas. • The area was not very well lit. • All the work was gathered together in college to try and get a sense of where and how to hang. Not all of the work was finished/available/framed which could have had a negative impact. • The tutor who is experienced in curating gave clear instruction.
Below beginning of 2 nd wall to the left side as you go up the stairs 1 Jordan 2 Diane 3 Julie
2 nd wall to the right as you go up the stairs ~ apologies think I said to the left on the last email 4 Leah 5 Max 6 Marta
1 st wall to the left as you go up the stairs 1 Steve 2 Charlie 3 Tarran
1 st wall to left going up the stairs 4 Linda 5 Kate
In practise • The owner of Loves Café proved to be rather unreliable. A number of us arrived on the Sunday to hang and the owner didn’t turn up. This was especially disappointing as we had called a few days earlier to check date and time of the hanging. • It was agreed that as our next lesson together was the following Tuesday we would hang as a group then. This meant our advertising was in place but the work wasn’t up! This could not have been avoided but was very unprofessional. • Once we arrived at the venue and had the work in situ, problems with pillars and stairs changed the siting of the work. • Doing a prehang with work that was not quite finished, maybe not framed and spread across tables can help but certainly does not give a true impression. • We spent a lot of time on the day completely rearranging the hanging order. • Furthermore there were issues with attendance and getting the work on the wall.
Cont’d • Frames needed to have wire attached which added to the timescale and the venue itself had a rule regarding only hanging from the hooks that were already attached to the walls, so, there was no scope for drilling or fixing. • All of this had an impact on where the work was hung and also on the height of the work. • Other obstacles included the tables and seating areas themselves as heavy or protruding work had to be hung in a safe area free from the possibility of being knocked or in the way of someone's head for example. • My opinion of the venue was that it appeared to me to be grubby and dark.
Open evening • The open evening had very poor attendance from the students themselves and indeed from other people. • With the exception of one student it seemed to me that nobody seemed to feel the venue or show itself warranted support or invitation. The delay with posters meant that distribution was missed. There was hardly any marketing done with regard to newspaper ads or social media mailing etc. Some phone calls were made to galleries but whether any attended remains unclear. • Overall there was a lack of cohesion and pride in the show, I believe the venue had as much a part to play as the organisation.
Evaluation • This was our first group exhibition. • Historically our lessons have sporadic attendance so the process seemed disjointed and lacked enthusiasm. • Some students felt we spent a lot of time talking about it and there a real chance that we would not have work to show. • Although not an ideal location everyone agreed Loves was a good location for a trial run. • Communication and organisation is difficult when the group is not cohesive.
Con’t • During the run up to the show there were lots of commitments in other areas of our course which left students feeling there was little time to concentrate on creating work. • As a group we had agreed a poster, however after a presentation on marketing we had to start the process again. This caused some feelings of disagreement in the group due to a lack of ‘making’ time. • The knock on effect was the poster was late being printed and so promotion of the show was delayed beyond the start date. • I believe that due to delays and the fact it was a 2 D show only left some feeling disinterested.
Con’t • Working within a fairly large group can be difficult when there are mixed feelings. • The owner of the venue compounded the feeling of unrest when she didn’t bother to open the cafe for the hang. Most of the students turned up on the Sunday to hang and were left disillusioned. • Even two days later on the second agreed hang date the owner of Loves was difficult to get hold of and to me this unprofessional attitude gave me an overall impression of the venue. • Despite this the hanging was interesting because the plan was completely changed once we were in situ.
Con’t • The hang also showed the disinterest of some of the students as the work was not prepared properly, poorly framed and not packed safely. • To me again the venue felt dirty and indeed the tables were sticky, carpets and furniture stained and poorly lit. • It also flagged up our poor preparation in that we had not considered some of the issues with obstructions and hanging. • Once the show was up it looked fairly impressive. • The open evening was poorly attended, again I believe this was due to the overall disinterested feeling of the students.
Con’t • The poor attendance was down to a lack of commitment of the students which was a result of disinterest partly caused by frustration and compounded by the owner of Loves. Furthermore we didn’t ensure simple tasks were carried out including inviting other tutors and students we work with. • I believe that students are able stand back because there is a lack of ownership. Tasks need to be allocated to specific people and they need to be made accountable in order for jobs to be completed. • The success or failure should not rely on a few.