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On Thursday, May 15, we presented the second installation of our conversation and workshop series, Break it Down, Make it Better. In this session for Venue Coordinators, we focused on ways to use the Connections and Collections features on artprize.org as tools to curate ArtPrize exhibitions. The following is an overview of that presentation:

There is a difference between curating a show vs. just connecting with works: Curating calls for intentionalitiy in every aspect of decision making. Think about locations in your space. What would fill the space well? Drawings? Photos? Installation? Sculpture? Film? Performance?

Once you've identified what you need to build a show in your space, browse the Find Art page using the filters for the types of work you’re seeking. For example: to find sculpture, search by the 3-D filter or type "sculpture" into the search bar. Review the works, paying careful attention to the Venue Considerations at the bottom of the page—will the entry fit in your space? Does it need internet? Do you have internet? 

Streamline your vision for the show you’re building. We encourage you select work in a way that stays true to that vision to build a strong show.   

Use Collections (Lists) to organize your top choices and to come up with several other options that would work within the space. For example, "I’d really like photograph A, but photographs B,C, and D would also get the job done." Here's how to get to your collections:

You mighty want to create one Collection (List) per space, or one per what you’re looking for specifically, of one for stuff you just like, your maybe’s, or by category—it's up to you! Entries can live in more than one collection/list. These collections are private, and are only visible to you. Artists will not know if they are in your collection(s).   

Add entries to your collections by visiting the entry profiles, and clicking "Add To Collection" at top right. The Manage Your Collections box will appear. Assign the entry to one of your Collections, and save changes when finished.

Your Collections will not expire. You can use them to curate your Dream Show this year, and then come back to these Collections next year to review artists and works you like.

Connections is the time when artprize.org turns into something like an online dating site for venues and artists. Artists and venues peruse the website and review each others’ online profiles—carefully considering the profiles’ photographs and descriptions before requesting connections and beginning the courting ritual. 

The initial connection request allows the interested party to send a HEY I LIKE YOU message to the other party. Requesting a Connection is to indicate interest in learning more about the requested party, and does not commit either party to working together. Here's how to do it:

Between requesting a connection and securing the connection, there are several steps that need to happen offline, in real life. Get to know the artist, and become familiar with their work and intentions for ArtPrize 2014 by starting a dialogue, asking questions, and sharing the artist’s profile with your curating panel or team members.  

When you are ready to commit, define that relationship: When both you and the Artist confirm mutual interest in working together, send them an e-mail or give them a call to discuss the exact details of exhibiting their Artwork. Make sure you agree on the specifics of working together (where the Artwork will be installed, when it will arrive and how, who installs it, etc.). 

At this point, you’ll need to draft a Hosting Agreement and provide it to the Artist to sign and return. You can download the Hosting Agreement template from your Pending Connections tab on artprize.org, then modify the contract to suit your needs. The Hosting Agreement will include details of the Artwork's installation and removal dates and requirements, insurance responsibilities, security, and terms of sales. Sign and send the Hosting Agreement to each Artist you're hosting.

As the final step, both you and the Artist must confirm that you have signed the Hosting Agreement. You’ll confirm first. Look for the confirmation button next to the Artist in the “Pending” list in the “My Connections” area of your Account and click “Yes”. Then, if the Artist does the same, the connection is complete.

Let’s go over securing that connection one more time:

That's it!  You're one Artist closer to curating a world-class art exhibition.

A few other things to keep in mind:

  • If you are also registered for ArtPrize as an Artist, you may exhibit your own work at your Venue provided you use the standard Connections process.
  • If you complete a Connection with an Artist and then later you and the Artist both agree to terminate this Connection during the Connections Period, please e-mail the Exhibitions Team at venues@artprize.org and explain the situation.

Which brings us to… Etiquette:

  • For many of you, this is not just a connection to show an artist’s work, but is also an opportunity to bring new people through the doors of your business, and to begin new relationships with the community. Be kind!
  • Don’t leave ‘m in the lurch! Decline quickly the ones you know you’re not going to take.
  • If you’re not sure, start a conversation. If you’re curating by committee, or waiting until registration closes to make final decisions, that’s okay! But let artists know your timeline. Basically, if you like it, put a ring on it. 

For more help with using Connections, check out our super helpful screen cast video

Still need more help?  E-mail venues@artprize.org.

Break it Down, Make it Better: Get Connected was put on in partnership with San Chez and the Avenue for the Arts. BIGGEST thank yous to our partners!

By Heather Duffy on