Hanging an art exhibition : 6 most important lessons I learnt

Do you ever walk around an amateur art exhibition and think fantastic I love it? Do you ever walk around an amateur art exhibition and think what a load of rubbish? What makes the difference between the two? Is it the art or is it the way it is all hung? I learnt many lessons in recently hanging an art exhibition.

Hanging an art exhibition: my first lesson

Think ahead. Think a very long time ahead. If you are going to invite other artists to participate ask them at least 6 months of more in advance. If you don’t you will find them too busy to take part.
Think about the artists and their work, before you ask them. Is your exhibition based on a theme or a technique? Make sure everyone is very clear what the theme of the exhibition means.

The second lesson: Pricing problems

Everything needs to be priced.  Of course.  A tricky and controversial subject. Here is an informative article on the pricing textile art.  I have recently faced the problem, of great discrepancy in prices for similar work in the same exhibition from different artists.   All I could do was advise that the prices be increased.    I think we all need to remember when pricing our work that people are trying very hard to make their living out of selling art, and amateurs should not underprice their work too much.

Lesson Three: Flexible hanging systems

Most gallery spaces will have a rail and wire hanging system. These systems give great flexibility in the positioning of pieces and make hanging the art exhibition easier.   But they do require the pieces to have D rings fastened to either side to give some stability of the pieces when hung. It’s possible to hang a piece using just one wire, but then they tend to hang out a long way from the wall and are difficult to get level.  You can see this below.  Does not look too good really.


This problem also occurs when the D rings are not near the top or when you try and hang more than one piece on the same wire.

Hanging an art exhibition: Lesson 4 – Avoid the committee.

Minimise the number of people involved in making the hanging decisions. Definitely not all the artists. If you do there will be too many debates and discussions on where to hang or display pieces.

Lesson 5. Keep the labelling discrete.

I personally think small discrete labels are more professional in appearance. I would always go for something like this.


I would also insist that everyone has the same labels.   In fact, I would make them myself to ensure this happens.


Lesson 6. Maximise the publicity

Don’t be shy, tell everyone you know that you are having an exhibition. You need as much publicity as possible, through all the possible mediums. The local paper, posters in the town, personal invites, FB etc etc. This is the lesson I really need to take to heart, I try but don’t do nearly enough self-publicity.



Time will tell if our exhibition Diverse Arts at The old school House Leyburn will be a success, but I hope regardless it looks professionally hung.


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