BLOG NO 24 / I Love Columbus / by steve joseph

In 2015 I was accepted for a solo show at the Kennedy Gallery at Glass Axis in... you guessed it.. Columbus Ohio. I have done a few previous solo shows outside of New York that have been successful in the past, the top of the list was "VOICES X" in Dubuque, Iowa, which had a 7 hour opening festival with entertainment and an open bar. I met over 200 people that night, and sold 6 works. 

In this blog I would like to offer pointers on the best way to organize an out-of-town exhibition. Click here to see images of all of my work, in my Columbus, Ohio exhibition, even better stop by in person. Below are couple photos of the installation.

PACKING & DELIVERY: I needed to install 13 of my glass works for this show at Glass Axis. Paying for an art moving company to ship my work would increase the price of my art, not just the cost of shipping but the time it takes to pack the work. Instead, I wrapped my art in moving blankets, rented a car through TURO.com (if you rent cars you can save big on this website), and drove my art to Ohio myself. This decision cut my delivery expenses significantly. I needed to physically be at the gallery to install the art, so bringing the work myself fit with the schedule.

In the past I have also placed a listing on CRAIGSLIST.com to find someone local moving or driving to the same location of my exhibition. One occasion I connected with a driver who had extra space in their moving van that was soon filled with my art. They made a few bucks for gas, and I got my work delivered directly to the gallery. There is no insurance using a non professional mover, so you have to pack the art well and be extremely clear on how to handle the work. They brought the art directly from my doorstep to the gallery doorstep.

TIMING: Picking up the car was scheduled the morning after the election. So like half of America I was sleep deprived! I did manage to get to Glass Axis on schedule, listening to NPR all the way. Needles to say timing is important so you don't hit traffic. I packed a bunch of healthy snacks and made the trip to Columbus in 8 hours, with one stop at the 5 hour point.

A YEAR IN ADVANCE: Once you know the exhibition is set, look for other ways to meet artists during your visit. I discussed other items I could offer with the Glass Axis staff which included teaching a weekend class at Glass Axis (below), and a free "Marketing for Artists" workshop. The staff at Glass Axis organized and filled the class quickly with 10 talented students, and the lecture filled immediately, thanks to a posting by the Ohio Arts Council, who also generously sponsored the event. 

CAR CULTURE: I think it is good for the brain changing your routine, plus a variety of new connections are made when you go outside of your city.
- I experienced what is like to own a car for 5 days straight.
- One of my student traveled from Seattle to take my class, and is planning on taking my class again at Pratt Fine Arts.
- Two previous clients bought one of my larger panels, and treated me to a production at their theater.
- Two students purchased my work, one actually works at Franklin Art Glass Studios.
- Glass Axis has invited me back to teach a longer class in 2017.

MEDIA COVERAGE: By chance I met the organizer of the Franklinton Art Walk, who was looking for an artist to feature in a live "Good Day Columbus" TV segment. The next morning I was talking about my art in a fun interview with the lively reporter Cameron Fontana (below).

EXPAND YOUR REPUTATION: Get out of your comfort zone and go after shows in new locations. Not just for exposure to a new market, but to form friendships with other artists. I am really looking forward to returning to Columbus to meet these people again and take a tour of Franklin Glass Studios.