Whether you're designing the display for a professional art gallery opening or a first grade art show for parents' night, your installation should present each individual artwork in its best light while maintaining a cohesive theme for the entire art show. Innovative display ideas will make your art show memorable for artists and attendees alike.
Beyond the Walls
Think beyond the walls when deciding where to hang or display paintings or other artwork. If you have the option, erect stand-alone screens or panels throughout the room to expand your display space. By moving art off the walls and out into the room, you'll encourage a different kind of interaction with each piece of art. In a classroom or school setting, use project board to create additional display space on tables and desks around the classroom or cafeteria. If your school uses temporary walls or panels to divide classrooms, borrow two or three and set them up in a zigzag in the middle of the floor. Hang artwork on both sides of the walls or project boards to maximize display space.
In a gallery or other professional space, you may have far more leeway to create artificial walls with plywood and fabric. Use individual easels to display the winners in juried art contests or to show off high-ticket pieces that you want to command attention.
Portable Art Gallery
Create an art gallery that travels with you from show to show with a combination of folding screens, easels, and tabletops. If you regularly display your artwork in craft or art shows, folding screens offer an easy way to recreate your own personal display space in any booth area. If you're the least bit handy with a hammer and nails, you can create your own custom screens and display walls with one-by-two lumber, lightweight foam core board, and cloth. Cut foam core board to your desired width and height and sandwich it between a pair of boards to create panels. Cover the foam core board with cloth in black or a neutral color so the background doesn't clash with artwork. Use two-way hinges to attach panels to each other so you can arrange them in various configurations with the panels at different angles. Use easels on cloth-covered folding tables to display larger paintings, and show off sculptures or three-dimensional pieces on pedestals so they can be examined from all sides. At the end of the show, everything breaks down easily and folds flat for easy transportation.
Invisible Walls Display
Take a cue from the museum and high tech display industry and show artwork seemingly in midair. Lucite blocks, cubes, and pedestals hold sculpture pieces and easel displays almost invisibly, so the artwork appears to be floating in midair. Display design companies like Nova Display and Systematic Art offer parts to create art display systems that hang from the ceiling, so you can mount paintings, canvases, and shelves anywhere in the room.
- "The Art of Showing Art"; James K. Reeve; 1995
- Photo Credit easel image by Rog999 from Fotolia.com
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