How to organize an exhibit or event

Created by Kelly Frankenberg

How to put on and run an exhibit or event

 BEFORE you do an event make sure:

_Proposal submitted to director. (see How to submit a proposal)

_Green light given from director on proposal to present to task force

_Presented to task force and approved

Start planning and putting on the event at least 4 weeks in advance. Here’s a checklist to help.

  1. The Basics


_Theme (stick as close as possible to ACW’s mission of social justice and building community)

_Logo (call for design or do your own or get a design)

_Date (consider when holidays are to work around them, other major events or like events)

_Time (consider traffic, work shifts, venue hours, etc)

_Venue (_you must visit the space in person, _find out who handles sales and if there’s a commission and the space size and _drop off and _pick up art dates , _parking, and if you can have _alcohol there and if it’s _open to the public and the space for _3D art and _what can you put on and in the walls/ceilings, windows, _do they have enough public bathrooms,_do they have security, _handicap accessible, _any restrictions they have to comply with. Find out if they print the _labels or you need to do that, if you need to do that then _collect label info, _make labels or have the artists print and bring their own). You need to confirm most of this information again with the space rep as it’s a lot to keep track of.



_Dictate duties to others

_Call for art? How to get artists. If not an ACW member, they will need to become one

to participate and volunteer 6 hours to get paid. (volunteer hours can include helping

with the event, hanging the show, etc.). (how will you receive these submissions? Via

email is typical or for larger shows consider google forms).

_Send all info to artists (day, time, parking, space, pick up, installation expectations,

payment, tax info) and have this in a document readily available for them to refer to with clear expectations of them. Sample call for entry:

_Prepare to update the task force at the meetings on the progress of your event.


  1. Advertise

_ Make a promotion plan that considers publicity from the start.

_Advertise 4 weeks out from the opening AND _4 weeks out from the closing (newsletter, press releases, distribute fliers, cards)

_3 weeks out from opening_closing

_2 weeks out from opening_closing

_1 week out from opening_closing

_days out from opening_closing

_day before opening_closing

_day of opening_closing

_Social media facebook, _Instagram, _youtube, etc).

_Write a press release. (see How to write a Press Release or see sample here:

ACW has a media spreadsheet you can use. The best press we have had was small newspapers. Ask the artists what their local newspaper is and then highlight that artist in the press release you send that paper. Here’s the link to the media spreadsheet. Please update it every time you use it-the contact people will likely change and newspapers shut down. Feel free to add media as you come across it. Here’s a checklist for publicity:

(personal invites via snail mail or text or call seem to work best-have the artists and those involved invite at least 10 people)


  1. Contracts. People exhibiting art or other, need contracts in order to participate, paid or unpaid.

_Contracts include what they need to do which is: send bio photo, title cards, artist statement, drop off art by a certain date, pick up art by a certain date, commit to the times of the event, attend at least one if not both the opening the closing of the event with at least two guests, promote event. Answer emails and deadlines in a timely manner. (contracts need to be approved by the director. For help on how to write a contract or get the template email the director).


  1. Hanging the show. (ACW has some extra tools, but make sure you have _extra hammer, nails, hooks, wire, wire cutters, scissors, tape, etc, title cards and artist statements printed by venue or you or individuals. ACW encourages statements that go with the work so the public and better understand the message and intention).


  1. Event extras

_Music (sound equipment (microphone, speakers))

_Furniture (chairs, tables, sculpture stands) who will bring them and when?

_Additional lighting?

_Food/drink for event (most times artists bring one store bought food item to share. Sometimes ACW has extra cups and beverages to bring. Artists and people in charge of the food should expect to pay their own cost unless the food was originally included in your budget).

_Consider doing promotional events or out-of-the-box ideas along with events related to your theme and event and event space)

_Consider giving your artists a short survey about what they liked and what you could change for next time.

_Plan ways for interaction with attendees, have signage about every aspect, consider make and takes, workshops, demos, giveaways, make it a community event.

_Get high quality photos before, during, and after the event for promo.

_Contact the director about when your artists get paid and arrange that.

_Alcohol (ACW does not have a liquor license) You will need a bar tender or entity that has a license. A liquor license depends on the venue, the city, and what type of alcohol and how it’s offered. This is important as we don’t want anyone to get fined or be liable for consequences. Please use these links and email if you have questions. Google liquor licensing for the State of MN or for Minneapolis Temporary Alcohol Permits – City of Minneapolis ( You’ll need to fill out the temporary “on-sale” license, even though we will not be selling. There is a “wine only” version: Temporary On Sale Wine (

There IS a fee for this license of $225.00 for “temporary on sale wine <10,000 people/day.


  1. After the event.

_Stay to help clean.

_Make sure everyone picks up their art and received their payments.

_Send thank you-cards to your contact at the venue and others that helped.

_Give contracts/tax info, any surveys to the project manager or director.


What ACW will do for your event:


-Promote your event in the monthly Newsletter (get a copy of the promo to Barbara at by the 23rd of the month to be in the next month’s letter).

-Set up an event on Facebook and promote on all social media platforms of ACW (you should plan to be involved in this part too- like, comment, and share to push the posts further).

-Connect you with experts, speakers on your theme, set up events, and access to volunteers.

-Offer tools, cups/plates, whatever event supplies we may have on hand.

-Guide you to have a successful exhibit in all areas.


contact information for suggestions and help:



Kelly F <>