Coordinating Exhibition Programs

I’ve been preparing the art for my upcoming solo art exhibition of oil paintings, “Abstracted Rainy Moments.” While one might think that just creating the paintings would be enough to just hand over to the gallery, I was brimming with additional program ideas that could complement and coincide with my art in the gallery, the gallery director and curator have been very receptive and supportive of these ideas to activate the gallery space.

In choosing “Abstracted Rainy Moments” for the theme and title of this new body of work for this exhibition, I also immediately thought of other possibilities and collaborations that could work well with the theme of rainy art.

When I was in college, I double-majored in both art and writing, and writing poetry had been a regular habit. I wanted to bring the ability to tie in writing and poetry with the rain. Some of my most inspiring writing days had been rainy days, or writing after walking for a bit in the rain. I wanted to bring this experience into the gallery. So in talking with the gallery director, she was very supportive of having additional programs up to tie into the exhibition and to draw more people to spend time in the gallery.

We met several times to brainstorm possibilities for tying in poetry with the exhibition. Then we met again to assess what is logistically reasonable and feasible to do. We paired down our biggest ideas into more manageable aspirations, assigned some dates, and determined what our “next steps” are for making each of the programs a reality. After all these meetings, we’ve planned to do the following programs coinciding with the exhibition, which will launch in April, which just happens to be National Poetry Month!:

  • Art Inspiring Poetry Workshop (Sun. April 9, 2017, 2:30-4pm): A free workshop in which participants will write and explore poetry through guided exercises, including writing poetry inspired by the art on the walls.
  • National Poetry Month Reading (Sun. April 23, 2017, 2:30-4pm): In collaboration with the Galway Kinnell Poetry Contest, and the RI State Poet Laureate, the gallery will host a series of selected readings.
  • People’s Poetry Prize Poetry Contest (April 7-May 1): People can submit poems for inclusion in the contest, and voting will be done via the public’s vote on the gallery’s Facebook page.

I will also be offering an artist talk at the opening (April 7) and closing (Jun 23) receptions, and additionally I’ve scheduled a day where I will provide a painting demonstration of my process (May 20, 2:30pm).

In line with these ideas, I’ve also commissioned a friend to curate a Rainy Moments playlist, a selection of top songs associated with rain, or with “rain” in their lyrics to enhance the auditory experience in the gallery.

Behind these additional programs are many logistics — refreshments, timelines, scheduling, staffing, content, coordinating responsibilities, alignment with the gallery’s mission, publicity, promotion, alternate dates/locations, space logistics, and measurements of success. All in all, we’re very excited for the programs that are coming together, and we hope that we have a good turnout for each program. A follow-up blog post down the line will probably entail an evaluation of how all these programs turned out. Sign up for my email newsletter to find out when that is ready to read.