Hang It All!

I’ve mentioned my new solo show at the Simpkins Swim Center here in Santa Cruz, and it occurred to me that people often don’t know what goes in to putting up an art show. So while I was hanging the show I took some pictures, and will now walk my gentle readers through the process.

Well before you get to the venue, you have to finish the art work, mat it, frame it, and attach the hanging wire. Even before all that, you have to prepare your publicity: press release, hi-res photo, and (possibly) postcards. If you’re lucky, the venue or organization where you’re hanging the work will take care of sending this out to the press. If not, you have to research the local newspapers, radio, tv, and any other possible press. If you print postcards, you have to take care of sending them out to your mailing list. There are also, usually, wall tags: name of work, year, medium, and price. And I always put my name and website on each wall tag; it might seem redundant, but the person looking at your work might not have the time to search out your information. It’s all about making it easy!

Presumably you’ve checked out the venue ahead of time, and know what kind of hanging system they have in place. I always bring my handy tote bag o’ tools to any hanging. In it: measuring tape, level, hammer, extra hanging wire, wire cutters, fishing line, utility knife, razor blades, screwdrivers, glass cleaner, plexiglass cleaner, paper towels, plexi wipes, pens, pencils, and sticky stuff for securing the art to the wall.

My tote of hanging supplies

Here I’ve brought my prints in to the swim center, and have stacked them against the wall. Cathy, the exhibit coordinator, has put out a ladder for me to use. (I had brought my own stepstool, just in case.)

Ladder and prints, ready to start hanging

I unwrap my prints and line them up in their proper order, and spaced out approximately as I want them to hang.

The prints lined up and spaced out

The swim center has one of my favorite kinds of hanging systems. There is a bar affixed to the wall, with hooks that slide along the bar and snap into place. The hooks have cables dangling from them, with an easily adjustable hook for the art. Sweet!

The sliding hook

The good thing about hanging a series of related prints is that they are all in the same size frames. When framing them, I make sure to measure the hanging wire to always hit the same spot on the back. Once I decide how high they’ll hang, I can measure all the hooks in one fell swoop.

Measuring the height of the hook

Making progress!

The hanging well under way

After the prints are all hung and leveled, I go through and clean off fingerprints. And cat hair; always cat hair.

Wiping off fingerprints and cat hair

And voila! All done. The walls’ finish is too rough to hang individual labels; there is a framed sign at one end with my statement, bio, and price list. Total time elapsed for the actual hanging: 2 hours. This was fast and smooth. I’ve hung shows where the process takes 4 or 5 hours.

My show, ready for its closeup

Here is the Simpkins Swim Center, so you’ll recognize it when you come to see the show:

The Simpkins Swim Center

It’s at 979 17th Avenue, Santa Cruz, and my work will be there through May 30.

1 thought on “Hang It All!

  1. The display looks great! Wish I could be there for you – know that I am in my heart.

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