Monday, July 11, 2011

Project Managing an Exhibition :)

I believe you can achieve anything with a good spreadsheet and this is where my engineering skills of project management and event management can add value to my artistic endeavours.  Most people have sophisticated project management systems…but I love a good spreadsheet!  It was a spreadsheet that helped me get around the world..and it will be a spreadsheet that will help plan my exhibition. 

I set out my spreadsheet with 4 important tabs.  I need to itemise my expenses (Budget), list my contacts (Contacts) including those who will provide publicity, identify my tasks (To Do), and think about who I might invite for the launch (Invite List) and indeed who might actually launch this event. 

While the venue has now been booked and choosing the photos from the thousands I took underway there are many other add-ons that will make this event look professional. 

I decide I want to print catalogues, a business card, a flyer for advertising, invitations and posters for the library.  I also decide I want to launch my website and play a movie of my year away during the event.  It would be a good idea to get some feedback on the day hard_coverso I design an evaluation sheet and buy a guest book for signing.  I also decided to display copies of my printed blog using Blog2Print, a great website for saving your blogs as a pdf or for printing as a blog book!    

As it turned out, these add-ons would actually take lots more time to complete than the photos as Jason was doing all of the hard work in that department.  Jason had also offered to help with some of the processing and after we had selected the group of photos that we thought would be worthy of an exhibition, he helped sort through and choose the ones that would present the best mix.  The magic formula for me was about one third each of landscapes, portraits and wildlife.  While I prefer my portraits over my landscapes, Jason reminded me that from a commercial perspective, it would be the landscapes that people might want to  hang in their living rooms.  Having already sold two landscapes within the first week of my launch I am glad I listened to professional advice. 

Before we could start work on the exhibition, we needed a name.  I think the idea of structuring it around connections came out naturally as I talked through my adventures with Steve.   Without a doubt, it was the Connections I had made with the people in particular but also the wildlife and the places I had travelled through that followers of my blog said stood out for them.  And so, the name of my exhibition was born. 

By Easter a few of the photos are framed.  They are looking fabulous.  We go away to Port Mcquarie for the long holiday weekend.  We both need a break but during the long pleasant evenings we troll through my photographs and choose the next lot for framing. 

I discover Microsoft Publisher and start experimenting with my catalogue.  This software is prefect for my needs, easy to use and has everything needed to design not just catalogues but all of the other material from business cards to flyers and banners. 

Food and drinks are the other two items that could be tricky.  My friend Anita who is a chef offers to look after the catering and I decide to use cellarmasters to order the champagne and wine for the evening.  My girl friends will help with the serving.  Things are coming along, but I need to get cracking on that catalogue…..and organise a bit of publicity.


“…before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World test everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. It’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’” -Paulo Coehlo

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