How to run a successful private view

How to run a successful private view
A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881 by William Powell Frith (1883)

With so many amazing shows in busy cultural cities like London and New York, openings have become a way for galleries to focus their marketing and generate early-on buzz. Having a strategy in place and using a checklist is crucial to make your private view a successful event and to make sure all your hard work finally pays off.

Here are a few tips for drawing in the best crowd!

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DATE

Combining your event with bigger art events, art weekends, or other type of gallery hops is a great move if you are trying to attract new artsy visitors. Many nearby galleries like to set up private views on the same night so visitors will more likely make the journey and they can hop between them.

LISTINGS

Reach out to listing sites. It is important to include your current exhibitions in art guides and art listings (check some of the best art listings in our recent post Where to find the best artist opportunities). Listings provide visitors easy access to information on your current exhibitions, start and end date of the show, artist showcased, name of the exhibition, gallery address. If digital, they also allow you to link these information to your website and social media or for instance to let visitors RSVP.

INVITES

Let's not forget about the quality of your crowd. The private view is a great opportunity to gather art professionals and collectors in your space and generate conversations about the works and the artist between like-minded people.

Analysing the target audience before the event and spending some time researching on the right people to invite can bring enormous benefits. A journalist might write a review, a curator might get fascinated and want to propose the artist to institutions, collectors who were given early chance to snap up works might put them on reserve and so on.

There are many shows to compete with, and getting your event in someone calendar early is important.


ARTSVP makes it easy for guests to add the event to their calendar (booking view below). Once completed the rsvp, guests can add the event to the calendar and will receive a confirmation email that our clients can custom as they like.


RSVPs

Gathering RSVPs will help you having an overview of who is going to be at the event and prepare accordingly. Having a heads up is extremely valuable, whether that simply means being able to welcome someone by their name or prepare for a meeting with high value clients. A very easy way to handle your rsvps is using a booking system. Depending on the exclusivity of your event you can either send your booking link privately to your guests, or share it on your online platforms. Sending out a press release is helpful but allowing guests to show intent on coming is even better. This can help measuring appetite for exhibitions and events and adjust marketing and PR accordingly.

MAILING LIST AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

Once your press release is ready and dates of the show are set, it is advisable to let your mailing list know about it and to promote the show on your social media. Most art organisations use Mailchimp for their newsletters and the most common social media is certainly Instagram, especially for its image-based focus. Linktr.ee has also played a central role recently as a great tool that allows you to share multiple links on social media, Instagram in particular. Click here to find out how to connect your ARTSVP general booking link to your online platforms.

There are other logistical issues to bare in mind that will help your event go smoothly:

  • Having enough quantity of printed material (press releases and work lists). Printers might play last minute tricks on you!
  • Rearrange your book and catalogues so that visitors can easily access the information and news you want them to be updated about (i.e. one of your other represented artists has been included in a prestigious institutional show: you want to have the exhibition catalogue handy to show it around clients)+
  • Update the artists' information on their cv, portfolio and press pack and any other marketing material
  • Have refreshments arranged well in advance as catering staff might not be available with little notice, same thing with glasses, drinks and ice deliveries.  

Once you keep in mind all of these tasks, you're all set with your checklist and can start preparing your event!

Don't forget to arrange a professional photographer in advance. Having high res installation views to display on your online platforms and to send around will turn out helpful.

If you have any energy left, plan other activities throughout the exhibition! Artist talks, book launches and workshops will definitely motivate and engage your audience.