by Valerie Malykhina

Summer is a great time for outdoor exhibitions and events. Why not showcase the beauty and depth of Ukrainian art by organizing an exhibition in your community? We have prepared a step-by-step guide for you to get started.

exhibition | UNWLA - Ukrainian National Womens League of America

1. Identify an artist/artists you want to highlight

Focus on artists whose works would be easier to obtain. A local artist may deliver their works to your venue and perhaps give an opening address at your exhibition. Or it could be an artist who works in digital media; in that case, you only need to obtain their consent and HD copies of their works and print them out. Be mindful of copyright and credit artists properly.

2. Develop a theme

A good coherent theme is vital for several reasons. On the one hand, a theme is a pragmatic necessity, tying together individual works and artists. On the other, a theme serves as a grounding point for the viewers, setting their expectations and helping them navigate the exhibition, sometimes easing their interactions with uncomfortable content.

3. Choose pieces to exhibit

Once you have developed a theme, choose pieces that fit well within one theme and space, and work together to tell a story. For example, if your theme is the resilience of the Ukrainian people, you might want to choose wartime photographs that center on individuals overcoming hardships.

4. Come up with an exhibition timeline 

Three things that you need to consider: 

  1. A general timeline. You need to define whether your exhibition is centered around a specific date, how long it will be up for, by what date you need to have all the pieces on hand and put them up in the gallery, etc.
  2. The opening night. What do you imagine it to be like? You could have a panel discussion with the artists or art critics, have an open mic, or collect donations. You could even organize an auction of some kind. Get creative!
  3. A promo timeline. To ensure a great turnout, advertise your exhibition in advance! You know your community best, so you will need to come up with a promo strategy that best suits your audience.

5. Secure your venue

Find a local venue for your exhibition and discuss your plans with them. It could be a community center, an art gallery, or even someone’s backyard. A venue that is free and open to the public will be your best bet! Having a clear and detailed plan will facilitate negotiations with the admins of the venue of your choice.  Discuss the details of your exhibit with your venue. Be mindful that some venues have no soliciting policies that will not allow you collect donations, and some don’t allow food or drinks. 

6. Invite your community

Though advertising in a newspaper or online is important, nothing beats a personal invitation. Invite your friends, colleagues, and neighbors to attend. Send an invitation to your local schools and community organizations. 

Good luck with your exhibition!

This material was created within UNWLA Summer Internships Program. We thank Ukraine Global Scholars and the Ukrainian Community Foundation of Philadelphia for this great educational opportunity.