Sylvie’s Exhibition Tips

There are a billion and one thing I learnt from hosting my first exhibition at Rusten House, much of it passed down to me from my curator Janita Byrne at QPRC Cultural Arts. I thought I’d note them all down and share them here. Here is list of what to consider:

1.     Create a catchy and easy to remember exhibition title, which has meaning for you

2.     Pick a date when a blockbuster art exhibition is happening in your region and you can, if you wish, piggyback on the visitors coming into your region from that event, to also visit your exhibition. For example, the Cressida Campbell exhibition is currently exhibited at the National Gallery of Australia and is running at around the same time as my exhibition at the Lake George Winery (29 October 2022 – 29 Jan 2023).

3.     Book your exhibition venue well in advance. Save up for the venue hire fee might be a few hundred or even $1K.

4.     Consider applying for a grant for your exhibition, offering as part of your exhibition several community engagement activity options in your program.  i.e. I won a grant from the QPRC Cultural Grants.

5.     Prepare your theme story for your exhibition, explaining your purpose or theme behind your work.

6.     Draft a comprehensive Press Release document early and in readiness.

7.     Draft your bio and a paragraph about the exhibition 

8.     Draft a DL size specific launch invitation and have it proofed

9.     Draft a A5 booklet and poster for the exhibition, dates, bio and acknowledgements

10.  Have your promotional materials proofread

11.  Number each work on the back and also on the bubble wrap for re-packaging purposes

12.  Ensure each artwork has your Signature and Brand and Website details stamped on the

13.  Create word doc with exhibition price list with, name, medium, size and prices

14.  If you decide to donate a percentage of each painting sold to a charity or cause, factor this in when you consider what you require to cover your costs for preparing your works.

15.  Plan to host a launch event and invite a public figure to introduce you and your
work (instead of you talking about yourself).

16.  At your closing event, offer a Free Artist Talk and provide this in a casual setting such as a morning or afternoon tea.


1.     Get acquainted with your gallery owner and their expectations

2.  Check out the Gallery’s hanging system and requirements, such as always using D-rings on the back of your work

3.     Start by taking your artwork into the gallery (prepare for courier or truck hire costs) and then unwrap each work before placing each work around the room. This is your mockup of where you might hang your work.

4.     Curate your exhibition around themes, considering sizes and spacing between artworks

5.     Once you are happy with placement in the room, then you can install the hanging strings or plastic wires that come down.

6.     Using a tall wooden doweling rod, gently move the hanging hooks at the ceilings into position, 

7.     Get the plastic hanging wires positioned to the same width of the painting you will be hanging, before attaching the strings to the D-rings on the back of your painting 

8.     Have a second pair of hands to help you hold each
painting steady, while you attach the plastic wires to each D-ring.

9.     First use your own eyes to position each work and then use a spirit level tool and tape measure from the floor to check the distances

10.    Using a tape measure the distance between different paintings to get balanced placement.

11. Don’t forget to hide (by masking taping up) the hanging system wires that may be showing at the bottom of your paintings.



1.     Don’t over cater at your launch opening, a nice cheese and fruit platter with crackers works well.

2.     Don’t invite everyone you know to your launch, only those people closest to you and those potential art buyers you may know

3.     Don’t forget to invite your local Mayor and or other local identities

4.     Ask a public figure to help you launch your exhibition and have them talk about you and your work.

5.     At the launch, have people arrive and be first greeted with nibbles and wine and champagne, after which you encourage them to browse your collection

6.     Short speeches allows more time for your guests to purchase your paintings


1.     Draft Excel mailing list well in advance. I started 12 months ahead!

2.     Join or start networking with art groups or enthusiasts out there, well in advance

3.     Set up your event FREE tickets using Eventbrite or another online software program

4.     Use hyperlinks that you have in your event program or Eventbrite to gather registrations

5.     Send out weekly blog news about your exhibition and you can start that at least 3 weeks ahead

6.     Use mail chimp to email your guest list and allow them to unsubscribe if required. Invite everyone you have an email for, to attend your opening, don’t just make it exclusive and that way you never know who may attend and purchase your artworks.

7.     Use online social media i.e. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote your event (daily) leading up to and during the exhibition

8.     Be direct when selling your artwork – say it is for sale and create a sense of urgency, linked to the dates of your closing sales date etc.


Published by artwithsylvie

Sylvie is an Australian representational portrait and landscape artist.

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