Art Over Science

Lesson 3: Group Art Exhibitions – 5 Ways To A Stress Free Hanging Day

Hanging a group art exhibition can be scary. You can easily reduce the stress on changing day by getting some help, taking the right hanging equipment, pre-marking the walls, adopting an efficient hanging method, and using artwork swing tags and price cards.

1. Find some helpers

Enlist the help of several people on hanging day for receiving artworks, pre-marking walls, writing up price cards or erecting signs. Assign individual tasks to each person so they are solely responsible for that job. Enthusiastic and independent helpers will allow you to coordinate the day without running around frantically.
Afterwards, remember to thank your helpers warmly. Mention their contribution at the opening function, send them a thank you card, or present them with a Certificate of Participation.

2. Bring the Right Equipment

There is nothing worse than forgetting to bring a step ladder or hammer on a hanging day. Be organized by writing an equipment checklist and ticking off the items before you leave. A basic toolbox need only contain a hammer, tape measure, pencil and some hanging hardware. A foldable step ladder will avoid having to stand on furniture.
If you are hanging a large exhibition you will need a wider assortment of equipment to get through the day. Items such as a box cutter, gun staples, pins, twine, spirit level, tape, assorted hardware and a cordless drill will come in very handy. If you hang exhibitions regularly consider purchasing a tool box on wheels to help cart your equipment around.

3. Pre-mark the walls

Hanging the artworks at a consistent height makes your exhibition look professional and cohesive. Some curators prefer the tops of the paintings to be level, whereas some prefer the centre of each painting to be at a common point.
To make hanging artworks easier, measure the required height at several different places around the wall using map pins to mark the spot. Connect the pins with twine to give you a horizontal line around the room. This line can then be used to accurately find the common hanging point.

4. Adopt an efficient hanging method

After pre-marking the walls with wine you are now ready to hammer the hooks in. First, turn the painting over and measure the distance between the hanging cord and the top of the painting, stretching the cord slightly. Transfer this measurement onto the wall using the horizontal string line as your starting point. Measure down from the twine and use a map pin to mark the spot. This is the point where your hanging hook should be placed.

5. Use swing tags and price cards

Traditionally, small adhesive numbers and accompanying price lists are used at exhibitions to identify each artwork. Exhibition numbers are easy to display, but if an artwork is replaced for any reason the price list will need to be retyped and reprinted.

To avoid this stress consider using price cards and swing tags instead. Professionally printed price cards alongside each artwork looks great and provides the customer with instant information.

Using artwork swing tags is also a good idea as it will make writing up the price cards easy. On one side of the tag place the artist details, on the other place the artwork details. Attach the swing tag to the back of the canvas with a long enough cord to hang over the top of the painting. It will now be easy to walk around the exhibition and write up the price cards, tucking the swing tag behind the artwork afterwards.

Hanging day for a group art exhibition can be stressful and hard work. But with a little help, some basic equipment and some pre-planning you can turn a frustrating day into a fun day!

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