By Jena Connolly | 06 November, 2015

You accepted a place at Art School? Check. Had a wild couple of years experimenting with performance art, alternative haircuts, and artist run spaces? Check. Mastered the art of crashing exhibition preview open bars? Check. But now it’s final year and their is a hurdle looming; the decisive degree show.

Every year Art Students in their final year work towards the all important concluding degree show hoping that this sample of their practice will entice industry members and art buyers to patronize or promote them post graduation. The prospect of one event potentially opening vital doors into the industry can be a daunting one, so we have put together a list of must-do’s to get started early.



1. Get together

Make sure to meet up as a cohort early in the first semester to assign tasks, figure out how you want to promote and document the show, and to discuss expenses and fundraising.


2. Document your process

There is nothing like documentation to build a story around your individual works and overall practice. Whilst working through the year make sure to document your process with high resolution photography and video. This material is perfect for engaging traffic to your website. It can also be leveraged on crowdfunding sites to support for any degree show funds you may need to raise.


3. Prepare a quarterly email newsletter

During degree shows many students collect audience members email addresses. Keep a database of these interested audience members. Prior to the degree show prepare your own nicely formatted quarterly email newsletter. You can use this to inform your readership of the recent works and developments to your practice.


4. Create a buyer’s pack

Before the show starts make sure you are clear on a few key things; the price of each work, whether you are willing to arrange delivery or postage of work, and how you will wrap the work. Make a supporting document for each work outlining its title, materials, date, meaning, size, and recommendations for its care. Create a buyer’s pack including the individual piece’s documentation, show catalogue, a business card, and receipt.


5. Are you open to commissions?

Before the exhibition goes live you need to ask yourself are you open to commissions? If the answer is yes, try and work out how flexible you are with subject and style, and set parameters before you get put on the spot by enthusiastic art buyers. Once you have decided make it explicit in a supporting statement.


6. Create a personal website

Studies have shown that society is growingly replacing their brains with internet search engines when it comes to memory recollection. Make sure that you have a web presence that will be triggered by this search. You should use the year before your degree show to launch a professional website.


Already feeling like you’ve got a better grasp on final year degree show prep? Well we’ve not finished yet! Part II will be back with six more tips on setting your final year up for success. Don’t let the pressure get the better of you this year, get your eyes back here for Part II posted shortly.


Banner Image Source: UpSplash Free Stock Images. Image by: Mike Wilson

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