POP-UP ART SHOP, 2018
94-96 WALCOT STREET, BATH
THIRD YEAR FINE ART STUDENTS AT BATH SPA UNIVERSITY.
I was the principal organiser, planner and curator for the Walcot Pop-Up Art Shop, in March 2018. It was held at 94-96, Walcot Street in Bath, Somerset. I sourced 11 Fine Art students to enter work to exhibit in the shop, which was held on the ground floor of the space. There were four levels to the rented building, and the shop covered the five sections on the street level floor. Work was varied, we showed ceramics, paintings, prints and sculptures. I arranged a private view for the public and other students to attend the opening of the shop, which coincided with the exhibition that was being held on the other floors in the building.
This was one of the most important experiences that I have had during my time spent at art school. This was due to the many successes that I had throughout the week, it has taught me some key skills to take forward to future commissions and industry based works. I was the main organiser for the event, and my tasks seemed endless at times. However I worked through them in a methodical manner, addressing every key aspect along with a time scale, and diligently assigned people in the ‘Walcot art shop’ group, which 11 artists were apart of. Ensuring that everyone had an equal number of tasks to complete.
I selected artists whom work was varied, so that the shop would have a wide range of works to entice people to visit. I made posters and leaflets to advertise the event and handed them out a few weeks in advance, in various community spaces in Bath and at the university. We also made social media platforms to advertise the private view and week long event. This proved to be very successful as the shop and exhibition had approximately 350 people visit during the whole event.
My work was particularly successful in as much as I sold the most amount of work to various public members. I had a wide selection of work, paintings of varying sizes, ceramics, prints and limited edition art works. Having had experience selling in shops prior to this experience I found myself to be the ideal candidate for being in charge of it.
Before the week commenced I made sure that I had got an invigilation rota, a general order of events for the week, a plan for taking in sales and a document for points of contact of artists involved in the shop. The works were all accounted for on a list when artists were putting them in the shop on curation day. Myself and two other artists involved worked together putting the work up on the walls and plinths, ready for the shop opening the next morning! This was a tiring day, but most successful as the work looked professional and after negotiating with other artists involved, it was presented in a shop format. The shop proved to be challenging, demanding and approached in a very different way to other exhibitions that we have done in the past. Simply from a curation perspective the work needed to fill the shop, rather than be presented in a spacial way as many art galleries are presented. The most important aspect that resulted in a successful week, was the curation of the work. The shop saw a balance between sculptural forms and paintings curated next to one another, along with shop display folders. Fine Art collectors and dealers along with tourists and residents in Bath visited the shop and passed on good remarks about the whole event in comparison to other events that had been held there previously. They thanked us for our efforts.
During the week I was also approached with a large commission. A resident in Bath passed the shop and viewed my ceramic vessels in the window. She then approached me asking whether I did commissions, I answered her in a professional and honest manner, saying its not something that I have had experience with before, but I am interested. The commission was to make 250 6″ bespoke ceramic tiles, with the same turquoise crackle glaze that I have made for the other works.
Since this conversation I have had numerous discussions (regarding pricing and time scales), with regards to the commission and I have been successfully given a deposit and a go-ahead. The work is in progress and it will be completed during the next two months. See the commissions section for more information.
Overall this experience at the walcot shop has taught me skills that will enable me deal with future clients professionally. I have learnt to negotiate, work alongside others, and be clear when leading others. My work has had a lot of successful publicity as a result of this experience, which has instilled confidence in my making.