20 Things You Need To Do If You Are Hosting Your Own Art Reception

I am the Allied Artist Association of San Diego featured artist for the show Art From The Heart, and I’m having my opening reception tomorrow, February 13, 2015. During my last art reception we ran out of wine half way through the reception and I felt terrible. This time I wanted to make sure things went differently. So these are the steps I have taken, and after the reception tomorrow, which I plan to broadcast through Periscope.Tv (my first time), I will probably have more things to add to the list but for now here is my list:

  1. Once you find the venue for your art reception and date, think of a theme and do a press release. Three months ahead of time from the reception date would be ideal. Other media outlets can have access to the press release in case they want to use it to promote you.
  2. Start giving a teaser about the event through social media. Don’t say what it is but say something like “It’s coming in February”. Every other day add more clues to it.
  3. Make a flyer for the event and get some good photographs of your artwork and of yourself. Start contacting local newspaper, local online publications, radio stations, and anyone in the media who can help you promote it.
  4. I sent an invitation through Eventbright.com to all my personal contacts in the area. This way I could track who opened the invitation, who clicked through the link, who RSVP and who didn’t open it at all. This allowed me to resend several invitations to those who didn’t not open the invitation with different subject headings. I sent those who didn’t not open the invitation on the fourth email in the subject line “I know you won’t open this..” and I noticed a lot of them did after that heading and emailed me to tell me they didn’t know it was me sending the invite. Who knew!
  5. Start promoting on all your social media venues. The more people see the event the better, so frequently do so. I actually did a count down that started when there were 5 days left until event.
  6. Ask people in your social media network and your personal contacts to share the event with their list. It doesn’t hurt to ask and this will bring people who you would normally not meet.
  7. Go to venue and see how much space you do have and start making a map of where each painting will go. See if there is adequate lighting, if not, you may want to figure out a way to brighten up the space before the event.
  8. When you make a list of your paintings or artwork for the show, include paintings of different sizes and prices so people can have more options. Make sure you have quality photographs of all your work so when they sell you don’t have to worry about getting a good image.
  9. Prepare your artwork for hanging. Make sure your work is signed if you sign your work, and you have a label or stamp with you name and contact information in the back of the artwork.
  10. Installed the show. Make sure you take with you extra wiring for the art in case one breaks, hammer & nails (if needed), masking tape (comes in handy when a painting just doesn’t want to stay straight on the wall), labels for the artwork if not provided by the venue. This will take three times longer than you anticipated!
  11. Once installation is complete, take photos and video of it. Great to use for your website, social media, and other promotions.
  12. Do flyers and go to areas near your venue and put them on their community boards.
  13. Make a list of how many bottles of wine you will need if serving wine, better to have extra bottles than to run out. Have some light refreshments, nothing complicated as people should be coming to see your artwork and not to have a meal. Some water for those who do not drink alcohol. Something for your clients to take home with them like a post card with your work, business cards, or book markers with your art (pre-ordered 6 weeks before the show so you have plenty of time to receive them).
  14. Make a list of other things you will need during the reception. For example, glasses to serve the wine, platters for snacks, napkins, ice bucket, etc. A waste basket if venue doesn’t have one. Don’t forget a nice table cloth, and perhaps some fresh flowers.
  15. As you get closer to the reception, if any magazine did any articles on your show, post them to your website and social media.
  16. Remind people who are coming two days before the reception date. Also those on social media, remind them on the actual day of the reception and during the reception so they won’t forget or be more inclined to attend.
  17. Enlist the help of other people to help you during the reception with setting up, cleaning up, helping people check out when they purchase the art and keep record of inventory sold, and someone to help you with serving the wine so you have time to talk with your guests. Get someone who will photograph you with your guests, video and broadcast through Periscope.Tv the event.
  18. On the day of the reception get to the venue early enough to make sure all artwork is still properly hanged. Meet your helpers and start setting up. It helps to have a list of what needs to be done and ask them to choose which part they will each do.
  19. Relax, have fun, enjoy the event.
  20. Help your helpers clean up. Make sure you turn off air conditioner, all windows and doors are locked, alarm on, and anything else that needs to be done so venue is secured.

I’m sure this list will grow with time, and if you have any other tips, I would love to hear from you.

With Love,


Gladys Jimenez