We often forget that we’re not alone. It’s easy to do because you spend so much time working by yourself in the studio. But … You don’t have to hold up the weight of a solo exhibition all by yourself.
If you get a little creative, you will find a whole bunch of people who would love to be involved with your show. They would be happy to help you install it, interpret it, and share it with others.
In my former life (a long time ago) I was an art museum curator and educator. This is exactly how we thought about exhibitions in the art museum: holistically.
We never installed the art and only hoped people would come to the museum and understand the work. We spent months discussing—as a team— how we would involve others in the show. How we would help make the art more meaningful to our visitors and, at the same time, increase the chance that many more people would see the work.
This is where my guest for this episode of the podcast comes in.
Jill Powers is a sculptor and installation artist who creates art related to ecological issues. For her major exhibitions Jill produces public events designed to educate, delight, and challenge visitors and viewers. She also seeks unique collaborations with area businesses, organizations, and experts to help support and promote her artistic themes.
In this episode, she describes the many programs she has organized and how she does it. You’ll hear about how she's worked with dancers, scientists, and restaurants to expand the reach of the show beyond the walls and pedestals of the galleries. You'll see how easy it is to multiply your audience when you take this approach.
In this interview, you will hear about:
- Jill’s background both in art and education, and her passion to create and teach in different settings.
- Two Colorado exhibitions: Plants and Insects in a Time of Change at the Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, Colorado (2013) and Hold Fast: Seaweeds in a Time of Oceanic Change at the Dairy Art Center in Boulder, Colorado (2016).
- The curatorial thesis of experiencing art that opens doors to the message.
- The actual work that was on view for each exhibit.
- The benefits of becoming involved in your community and collaboration beyond what seems possible.
- The clever way Jill’s exhibitions included everyone from dancers, to chefs and scientists.
- The film night she organized as part of a public program.
- The funding that took place in order to successfully run the exhibits.
- The obstacles she faced in pulling off both events with over 3 years of planning.
- Her way of using volunteers and organizing systems to help her stay focused and on track.
- What led her to recognize the value in involving others and making the art more meaningful.
- The immersive aspect of her exhibits including live samples of seaweed at a tasting station and using music to set the mood.
- Her advice for artists who may consider becoming more involved in their community, and why enthusiasm and personal connection is so impactful.
- A glimpse into what’s next for her in the future, including a book based on her teaching and life experiences.
- Seaweed exhibit article in the Denver Post.
- The Art Biz Accelerator gives you a system for researching and landing the right venues for your art.
- Earlier post with images from Jill's climate change exhibition.
- I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion has plenty of ideas for connecting with your community and expanding your reach.
About My GuestJill Powers is a sculptor, installation artist, and educator who creates art related to ecological issues. Using current science about the natural world, Jill finds singular vantage points that fascinate her, and motivate her research and ideas.
You can see Jill’s art and learn more about her exhibition events at JillPowers.com. While there, sign up for her newsletter and she'll send you a free download worksheet to get started planning your own events.