How to hold an art exhibition


By Júlia Palazzo

I work in a studio with another artist and for the past month I’ve been helping him put together his first solo exhibition in Melbourne. I have to say I’m SO relieved that we had the opening last Friday and that all the work is nearly over! As much as having your own exhibition is an incredible experience, it can also be stressful and daunting.

If you are early in your visual art career, you will eventually want to showcase your work in your own show. And (at least at first) you will probably show your art in artist run galleries and more alternative venues, and will be responsible for a lot of the work related to making your show succeed or fail.

Here are 5 areas to keep in mind when creating an art exhibition:

Paint: Go on a journey with your art

When creating art for a show, pick a theme that you know you can explore for an entire body of work, that you are passionate and curious about. Write, think and study the concept behind it before you start creating the final art pieces. You should be able to describe the ideas behind your work concisely, and refer back to them when you feel lost.

Know how many pieces you’ll need to create for the show, and be realistic about how long you will need to paint them. Make sure you book the venue well in advance, and try to have all the art finalised a few weeks before the opening. You don’t want to be painting until the last day available and then have no one turn up because you didn’t do any promotion.

Choose materials that you are comfortable working with. Exploring and practicing with new mediums might be best left for when you are not under pressure to create work for a show.


Present: Use the space creatively

Measure the walls and choose how you’d like your art to be displayed in advance, making sure that you create enough art to achieve the result you want. Think about how people will walk around the room, and whether the order of the artwork can tell a story or take them on a journey.

Think beyond the art. How can you transform the venue’s space to create a remarkable experience for your viewers? Can you use the scent of flowers, music, or change the colours of the walls to help people immerse themselves in the art? Attend other exhibitions in your city to get inspired. If you are in Melbourne, Backwoods Gallery in Fitzroy always does an incredible job of presenting their exhibitions in an unexpected way.

Give people context. Did you go on a trip away or develop a new method to create this body of work? Think about how you can tell your story to people through the display, and prepare yourself to be able to talk about your art.

Promote: Spread the word through your network

Make sure that the design of the promotional materials and the photos of your art will do it justice. If the venue does not have a designer or photographer, consider getting one to help you.

While you are creating the art, post sneak peeks on your social media and remind people regularly about the upcoming event. Talk to the venue about creating a Facebook event and sending out press released to relevant publications.

If there are important people in your industry that you’d like to attend your show, do not be ashamed of inviting them directly through an e-mail or message. Ask you contacts to share the event with their peers.


Party: Make an event of it.

Plan an opening event to give people a chance to gather and meet you at your exhibition. Choose a date that won’t conflict with other similar events, and make the space pleasant through offering drinks and food. Many beer and wine businesses offer sponsorship and discounts for creative events.

Consider offering an artists talk on a separate date from the opening. This will give people a chance to hear about your work, and an opportunity to meet you if they missed the opening night.

Consider having accessible options for people besides the artwork. Not all you fans or visitors will be able to afford an original piece of art, but I guarantee a lot of them would be happy to support you and take home something from your exhibition. Maybe you can have an exhibition book, prints or postcards for sale.

Peace: Be in a good frame of mind

Look after yourself and your health during the process and make sure you SLEEP. Exhaustion will destroy your ability to make good art, and the last thing you want is to finally get to that opening event and be unable to enjoy it or talk to anyone because you are too sleep-deprived.

Be kind with yourself. It is perfectly normal when you are working on a big project to have moments when you feel that you are not a “real” artist or that your work won’t be good enough. Reach out to your friends or family for reassurance, and don’t feel guilty if you have to take a few days off to relax.

Keep the long term in mind. If you are a working artist, you will probably exhibit many times over the years, each one will be a step on your journey and a learning experience. Do not expect that one show will bring you overnight success, and do not be hard on yourself if at first you do not sell many pieces or get much of an audience. Stay positive, learn from your mistakes, and keep on creating.

Images by Michael Panozzo 

Júlia Palazzo is a visual artist from Brazil. Since moving to Melbourne in 2013 she has been running a partnership, Mayfield Palace, creating mural art for businesses and organisations all over Australia. She shares her art daily on Instagram: @julia.palazzo

CWC's Annual General Hurrah!

It's been an invigorating, inspiring and emotional journey since Creative Women's Circle officially incorporated last July. Since that time, our hugely talented Board and sub-committees have not only continued to run CWC in its usual professional fashion (hosting events nationwide, writing blogs, running programs and more), but they have worked tirelessly to underpin our organisation with a clear set of values, policies and processes to ensure CWC continues to support, connect, and champion women in the creative industries, now and into the future. Join us as we present to you - our Members and the wider creative community - what CWC has accomplished over the last twelve months at our very first Annual General Meeting (AGM), and help us vote in our Board for 2016/2017.


Notice of the Annual General Meeting of the members of Creative Women’s Circle Association Inc (“CWC”) (Registration No A0091653N):

Time: 1pm for 1.15pm start (end approx. 4pm) Date: Saturday 6 August 2016 Venue: Frankie & Swiss, Ground Floor, 199 Toorak Rd South Yarra, Victoria 3141 (entry via Claremont St) Cost: Free (drinks & nibbles provided) Note: Members and non-Members are welcome to attend, however only current CWC Members are eligible to nominate for Board positions and cast a vote on any resolutions (like who will be on the Board next year). RSVP: For catering purposes, please RSVP by Thursday 4 August and email us if you have any special dietary requirements.

So what exactly happens at an AGM?

  • First, there'll be Tess McCabe, CWC President’s, welcome address;
  • Then it's on to 'ordinary business' (a.k.a. presentations on our activity & achievements this year from our current Board and sub-committee members; details on our financials; nominating and voting of the next Board; and confirming our membership fees); and
  • After all of that, time for catching up over drinks and nibbles.

If you’d like to nominate for a position on the Board or as a Volunteer of CWC, please contact Yasmin Naghavi outlining your professional background and what you feel you can contribute to the CWC in 2016/2017 and beyond, or to request more information.

Voting in person

If you wish to attend and vote in person at this special general meeting, please RSVP here by 4 August 2016.

Voting by proxy

Any current CWC member entitled to attend and vote at the annual general meeting may appoint a fellow member of Creative Women’s Circle Association Inc to attend and vote as the member’s proxy.

To vote by proxy, download and complete the proxy form and return by 1pm on 5 August 2016 by email.

(Proxy forms sent by post or electronically are of no effect unless they are received by CWC no later than 24 hours before the commencement of the Meeting.)

If you are unsure about your current CWC Membership status, if it has recently expired, or if you have any queries regarding your status, please email Membership Manager Phoebe Miller.

Announcing Anomaly 2016

Have you got a burning question on running a creative business? Ever wondered what happens behind the Instagram feeds of your favourite creative ladies? Well, here's your chance to talk to four creative business owners from different corners of the industry about how they really do it. CWC's upcoming panel event Run a Successful Creative Business is part of the Anomaly 2016 conference, on Saturday 20 February at Billy Blue College of Design in Melbourne. The event will be moderated by designer and author Tess McCabe, founder of Creative Minds Publishing and president of Creative Women's Circle, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge in running a creative business.

Here's a sneak peek of our fabulous panellists...

Untitled designAnika Cook, fashion designer and illustrator

Anika is the designer behind The Gently Unfurling Sneak, a small Melbourne label producing printed clothing, artworks and cards. All products are based around Anika’s surrealistic illustrations, and must be strange, beautiful or amusing (or a combination of all three) to make it out of the studio. The Gently Unfurling Sneak's designs are sold through local boutiques, online and in a new bricks-and-mortar shop in North Melbourne.

Facebook - Instagram Website

Describe yourself in five words: Drawer, maker, determined, occasionally discombobulatedBest business tip you've heard: "Get an employee. Just get one. And then figure it out". (from a fellow design market carney, after listening to me babble on about how I had too much work and didn't know what to outsource.)How do you keep your creative fire burning: I'd like to say "I love it, so it's easy". It's true but it's only part of the picture. There's always mountains of admin and other tasks, so when I get to sit down and just design stuff it's really exciting. And something I haven't managed to get rid of yet - the fear of it all falling apart and me having to go get a real job.

Proudest moment: Opening my little studio shop in North Melbourne in October last year. It was a huge amount of work to get the shop renovated and open in a small amount of time, and I couldn't pay anyone to do it. It was mostly me, my assistant Josie and my dad, and some lovely volunteer friends. Now when I'm in the shop I feel very proud that we built it all together.

 Untitled design (1)

Monique Woodward, architect

Monique Woodward is co-founder of award-winning Architecture and Interior Design practice WoodWoodWard Architecture, Lecturer at Monash & RMIT University, designer of WOWOWA's Monroe 'Rough Night' & 'Glamour' pendant lights and an advocate for apartment amenity guidelines and the compulsory use of architects on multi-residential development.

Website - Twitter - Instagram

Describe yourself in five words: Colorful passionate experimental residential architect

Best business tip you've heard: If your brand is talking to everybody, you're talking to nobody.

How do you keep your creative fire burning: Architectural pilgrimages...... aka holidays!!

Proudest moment: The day our big gold WOWOWA letters went up on our new shopfront studio window.

Untitled design (2)

Camilla Molders, interior designer

Camilla Molders has been designing and creating beautiful interiors for over 20 years. She is known for clean lines and fuss free spaces, with a pop of something extra special. Camilla’s hallmark is bold, original designs that balance creativity with practicality and her work has featured in a host of Australian and international publications, websites and blogs.

Website - Instagram - Twitter - Facebook

Describe yourself in five words: Creatively adventurous, curious, passionate: all which describe me - but also could be used to describe my work! And then something not many think of me as - introverted. And what many who know me would agree with-  opinionated!

Best business tip you've heard: Nothing particularly comes to mind that has had me really holding tightly onto. But I'm always listening. Everyone, no matter how experienced they are, has an interesting story or advice to offer that I can take on board. This is why I love speaker events - CWC events especially! Listening to someone talk who is passionate about what they do is awe-inspiring and never fails to leave me with an inspiration hit.

How do you keep your creative fire burning: Often a lot of the creative ideas happen on site with my clients when we are workshopping ideas. I take the time to really try and understand what the clients want and get a clear picture of their vision. This is why each project I work on is different to any other. I don't want to be known for doing the same thing or having a "look" -  that just doesn't interest me creatively at all. I aim for each project to be a representation of the people who live in the space and that does justice to the architecture and surrounds. Sure, I might push my client's comfort levels a little (which is fun!), but that's my job. That's what makes it exciting and really keeps the creative fires burning!

Proudest moment: Seeing anything that I have designed from scratch is so exciting! But seeing the first  sculptured rug that I designed  was a total life moment. It was a concept that I had been brewing up for a while and discussed with a very open minded client. It turned out to be a success and the start of my bespoke rug collection.

Run a Successful Creative Business

1.00-2.30pm, Saturday 20 February, Billy Blue College of Design 595 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Tickets can be purchased via the AGDA website.


The Resolution Project

ResolutionProject_530_2 Hands up who makes new year's resolutions every year, then ditches them by February? Yep, us too. Well, achieving our creative and business goals just got a lot easier, with CWC’s The Resolution Project. It’s an affordable and supportive goal-setting program that keeps you accountable and motivated throughout the year. The best part? Along with workshops and online tools, you get heaps of resources, including a tailor-made TRP workbook to keep you on track. Our private facilitated Facebook group is up and running and participants are sharing stories, tips and resolutions. They have described the workbook as "a truly valuable tool for reflection" and "a great way to gain clarity and perspective". It's already clear this is a special community of ambitious and inspired women.

The Online program is open to anyone, anywhere, and includes all the valuable resources and materials that the Workshop program offers, including access to the private Facebook group and opportunities to ‘ask the experts’ and connect with a wide community of creative women.

Our Workshop program includes all of the above, plus three workshops and follow-up materials throughout the year along themes including Connect and Clarify, Recap and Reset, and an end of year Wrap Party (open to all participants!) to celebrate our successes. Each workshop includes hands-on coaching sessions and discussions with renowned experts to set you firmly on the path to achieving your creative goals.

Numbers are strictly limited. It’s not too late to join - check out The Resolution Project for more information.