This is an example of a show card by Denzel Boyd in 2013. He included a QR code that linked directly to his website. Many students have used QR codes in their exhibitions as a way to create a new level of interactivity.
Here is an example of a web banner by Elisa Rudolph in 2013.
What Is The Senior Show?
The senior show is a privilege that is unique to DRHSART, and a great driver of our program's success. At the beginning of each school year, senior students have the opportunity to volunteer for the Senior Show Exhibition Series. This is not mandatory, and it is only recommended for students with self-discipline and strong work ethics. The expectations for these shows are exceptionally high.
The annual Senior Show Exhibition Series kicks off in November and contains a new exhibition each month until May. The number of featured artists per show varies depending upon how many seniors choose to participate that particular year. Since the first show in 2010, we have had over 50 group/solo exhibitions in our gallery.
Photos of Past Shows
Student Created Movie of the show Tres
Student Created Movie of the show "Unorthodox Renewal"
Advice From The Artists
At the conclusion of each senior exhibition, the artists are required to write self-reflections to post on their websites. Below is a list of selected artists with links to their post-show reflections. It is HIGHLY recommended that you read these posts and take notes should you choose to have a senior show. Don't try to re-invent the wheel; take the advice from those students who have already gone through the experience. Their commentary will help you tremendously.
Being organized is paramount, and in this section I will list the many important tasks that you will need to prioritize as you plan your exhibition. Please don't wait until the last minute to visualize your exhibition, as that will lead to a lot of stress and poor results. Below is a list of tasks that you'll need to complete, along with a timeline to help you plan.
Choose A Date For Your Opening
It's really important that you look at the school calendar for major events like home football games, basketball games, baseball games, etc. Shows always draw larger crowds when there is already a captive audience at school on the night of the opening. In addition to major sporting events, the musicals, plays, concerts, and other auditorium events are also great for drawing a crowd to your show. Should you choose a date that falls on another major school event, you have to be sure to communicate with those in charge of the events so that you don't step on any toes. Communication and coordination are crucial. If you don't know whom to contact about it, ask me and I'll point you in the right direction.
Decide On A Theme And Title
Collaborate with your show mate(s) (unless you're exhibiting solo) and discuss the title and theme of your show. Do mock up drawings of the space and figure out who will be responsible for the multiple areas of the gallery. This should be done more than a month away from your show to be sure that the work you put together leading up to the exhibition stays cohesive.
Advertising Your Show
Collaborate on your advertising campaign. There have been many creative campaigns in the past, and how well you advertise will determine the success of your show. Do not wait to get started on this!
Social media is the fastest way to spread the word. Get creative with Instagram and Twitter to create a buzz of anticipation in the weeks leading up to your show.
If you're skilled with video, create a series of short commercials to drive curiosity about your show. These can be posted on the morning announcement each day for two weeks prior to your show. Commercials are the best way to make sure the school knows about your exhibition.
See Alana Stokes's Series of Commercials Below
Morning Announcements / Interview
Be sure to get your announcement to me two weeks before your show. I will be sure that the morning news anchors read your announcement each day during the week leading up to your show, and those announcements will also be posted on the official school site.
If you're comfortable in front of the camera, sign up for an interview the week of your show. Be sure you find out how early you need to notify the Wildcat News team about your interview to ensure your spot. When being interviewed, speak with clarity, and help your potential audience understand your passion for the work you've made.
Show Announcement Card
About a month from your exhibition date, you should create your show invitations. These do not have to be printed professionally, but many students have done this in the past. All real art exhibitions are advertised through postcards, so this portion of your ad campaign is mandatory. You may use any size, but the standard size for show cards is 4"x6". On this announcement, you should include your name, the date, time, and location of the opening, the month of your show, and your show title. If you choose to print your cards professionally, here is a list of resources that might help:
Web Banner Announcement
About three weeks before your show, you should send me a web banner to announce your opening. Since students visit my website daily, this is a great way to remind them of your exhibition opening. Choose a signature piece as the background, and be sure that the typography is clean and legible. On your web banner, you'll want to clearly indicate the date and time of your opening, as well as your name and the title of your show. In order to be sure you've designed your banner to the correct size, simply download one of the current banners from my website, open it in photoshop or illustrator, and then delete the background. You can then use that size as the template of your web banner, and email it to me when you're finished. I'll post it on the site as soon as I receive it via email.
Recruit Help Whenever Possible
Many students have the misconception that they have to do everything by themselves. That's simply not an efficient approach to such a large project. Entice your friends to help you with tedious tasks, and you'll free up time for the polishing details that will make your show stand out. The most successful shows of the past were all products of efficient collaboration.
Use Music To Add Another Layer Of Art
Many of the past shows have included live music. We are lucky to have such an incredibly successful music program at DRHS, and collaborating with students from the music department has always enhanced the quality of show openings. We've had a wide range of student musicians play at openings in the past, and it would serve you well to get familiar with the students in the Jazz Band. They're always looking for a place to play, and it makes good sense to have them play at your show. Our orchestra is also remarkable, and having a quartet on hand for your opening would really add a touch of class.
Hanging And Labeling Your Work
Gallery Standard For Hanging Artwork
If you're interested in hanging your work in the traditional gallery fashion, you should be aware that the work should hang at 59" to the center of the work. That means you should measure 59" from the ground, make a mark, and be sure that the mark you made is in the dead center of your work. For larger pieces, this may not work if the walls in the long portion of the hallway are not tall enough to allow you to hang the work at the traditional gallery height. You do not have to hang your work in a traditional manner, and as you look at the many show images of the past, you'll see that many students have gone well outside the traditional realm and have come up with very creative and original solutions to hanging the work.
Students have experimented with many different ways to label the work. Your labeling should be consistent with the overall aesthetic of your show, and the golden rule is that "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". I highly recommend that that you look at the labeling systems in local galleries such as 1708, ADA, Glave Kocen, Reynolds, and Candella. Visit those galleries, and take photos of how they label the work. Also check out the labeling system at the VMFA. It's smart to echo the aesthetics of the local high quality labeling systems, as it will add a layer of professionalism to your show.
Works On Paper
Hanging works on paper can be as simple as taping the work to the wall. Some students have used T-pins to hang, some have used magnets, and others have even gone as far as spending money on professional framing. It's up to you how you choose to hang your work, just be sure it's done with consistency throughout your show. It can look awkward if some of the work is matted, some is simply taped, and others are framed. Try to stay consistent in all things within your show.
Works On Masonite
Many students at DRHSART create works of art on masonite because it is inexpensive and durable. If you have work on a panel, it can be hung by using small wood scraps, screw eyes, and some picture hanging wire. I can demonstrate this method if you need help.
You are responsible for the refreshments at your show. In the past, this aspect has ranged from simple chips, cookies and water, all the way a chocolate fountain and sparkling cider. One show was catered by a student chef that included 7 types of crostini combinations. How much you spend on entertaining your audience is completely up to you. People do love to eat, and this could be a great way to lure in your audience. I highly recommend that you do the extra work to receive donations from local businesses for your event. You can cut down your costs significantly with a proper letter and some personal contact to business owners and managers.
The Day Of Your Opening
The day of your show will be crazy! You'll need to come to terms with this fact. There will be many last minute touch ups that include cleaning the gallery, setting up the refreshments area, and installing the proper signage that will guide your audience to the gallery. The shows begin at 5pm, so you are limited on your time after school to get all of this done. Please don't wait until the very last minute to create the navigation system for the gallery goers to find your work.
In the past, students have guided the audience to the gallery through many different means. The most effective means so far has been balloons. Balloons are easy to spot, and will effectively guide gallery goers who may not have been inside Deep Run before. Arrows taped to the floor have also been effective in the past.
Post-Show Cleanup And Reflection
At End Of The Opening
Once your show has ended (7pm), it is your responsibility to clean up properly. Clean up includes removing all navigation signage, cleaning up any extra materials that have been stored in my classroom, picking up any trash in the gallery, and moving works back into the back of the hallway that may have been stored in classrooms for your opening.
Post Show Reflection
All students who have a senior show are required to answer a series of reflective questions that will help guide those who show in the future. These questions will be emailed to you the day after your show, and will need to be posted on your site within one week of receiving the email. If you've read everything on this blog post thus far, you've already seen the questions you'll be answering on your blog.
Taking Down Your Show
At the conclusion of your show, it is really important that you are considerate of the artists who will be exhibiting after you. You are given complete autonomy with the gallery space, and many artists choose to paint walls. Whether you choose to paint the walls or not, it's your job to leave the gallery space as a blank canvas for those who follow you. Sanding, priming, painting, patching holes, and cleaning up any dust left behind in the process are all part of your responsibilities. DO NOT be selfish and leave the gallery in shambles after your show. It has happened in the past, and nothing disappoints me more than seeing students selfishly leave the walls a mess with the expectation those who follow them will take care of it. If you make a mess, you clean it up.
BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU CREATED! These exhibitions are a lot of work, and you should be exceptionally proud that you worked as hard as you did to make it successful. This is the most real-world experience you could possibly get out of my class, and your commitment to your show has certainly taught you about collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking. The best part is that you worked so hard and didn't do it for a grade. In fact, you and I never once talked about how you would be evaluated or graded. You worked hard to make this exhibition successful because you take pride in your work and this experience is about showcasing your creative work ethic. You deserve to be proud of yourself, and you've certainly made DRHSART, and our community proud.