The exhibition is over. The room is empty. The project that has consumed the last six months every waking thought is packed away in bubblewrap and I am left a little bereft and wondering what to do. So how did it go?
Over the 15 days the exhibition was open, we had 1028 (adult) visitors which is an incredible achievement. It was always interesting watching people viewing the work – a mixture of art lovers who had come specifically and parents of children at Action Stations who wandered into an alternative universe from the noisy child centred activity around us.
Of the ‘walk ins’ it was clear that some were not used to seeing an art exhibition but in the spirit of wandering around the Dockyard perhaps, they gave it a go and had a good look round. It was very rewarding to feel that we may have challenged some beliefs about what fine art is all about.
We had some favorite moments, like when a child asked his Dad what my 3D installation ‘Opportunity’ was. “That’s art Henry, that’s art” he replied 🙂
And when we had a bone fide (and rather handsome) celebrity visit who was presumably just visiting the dockyard with their kids for the holidays, but it was lovely of him to drop in.
A couple of kids were unruly and we had some damage to a couple of things (luckily repairable) – but we always knew that was a risk but the benefits of having so many kids (not counted in the numbers above) see the show out-weighed that completely.
For my own stats, we were keeping record of the number of times that Being Present was triggered and how many people saw it through to the end. I always knew that a 2 minute art performance would stretch many people as the average time someone will stand infront of a piece of art is usually measured in seconds! I’m still working on the data but will post figures soon.
The raffle was extremely successful – 6 original pieces of art from the artists – there was something for everyone as entrants could prioritise their favorites. In the event, when the raffle was called, everyone got their first or second choice. Jenny Walden, Associate Dean, at the University of Portsmouth was there to receive her winning piece from me which was lovely!
So what made our exhibition so successful? I put it down to two factors. Firstly, location location location! We had a wonderful space in one of Britain’s top tourist attractions – that was a great move! Secondly the effort and expense we went to for marketing – it was the lion’s share of our spending but worth every penny. I was always gratified by people coming in with one of our fliers, or who said they heard about us on Twitter or who had read about us in the local paper. And of course we were on the Big Screen too!