Readers who find this page helpful, may also wish to visit these pages.
Exhibition SmartAwards that Leave No Mind Behind and reward every participant while educating all of us about art and life.
How to install a student show with ordinary masking tape. http://www.goshen.edu/~marvinpb/arted/tape.html
Exhibit Design and Installation
seldom have enough space to show things as professionally as it should
be. I like to keep exhibit design and presentation very simple and very orderly, even when it too crowded. I want the viewers to notice the artwork—not
fancy exhibition design, brightly colored mats, or some distracting
exhibition idea. When I see an exhibit with colored mounts,
decorative additions, or bizarre arrangements, it makes me feel that
there was not much respect for the artwork itself. I avoid colored
additions. I have never seen an art museum that used colored mats or
mounts for artworks created on paper. I want to see the
artwork. I want the exhibition to be so well designed that I do not notice the exhibit design more than the artwork itself.
To arrange the artwork, we begin with the largest works
and gradually add smaller works to complete the design of the
exhibit. Sometimes works can be grouped attractively. We
often lay it out on the floor to see how a group works before putting
Who Does the Work
The older students or more advanced classes do the work.
When students learn how to design and install the exhibit they are
learning art. They are learning very useful life-long choice-making
skills and I am ultimately getting lots of help. They
have to make choices about color relationships, dominance and
subordinance, how to move the viewer's attention around, and all the
standard compositional questions.
I remind students to be particularly careful about the negative spaces between the works. I make the negative spaces (wall spaces, if any) equal unless there is a good visual reason not to make them equal.
They have to make choices about color relationships, dominance and
subordinance, how to move the viewer's attention around, and all the
standard compositional questions. They are asked to be as fair as
possible when they choose where to place their own work and that of
See this link
for ideas on mounting a display of school artwork where there is no
good provision for an exhibit. It illustrates a simple way to use
tape to hang temporary exhibits so the work will not fall down, but can
still be removed without damaging the wall after hanging a week or so.
Labels and Information
London, I was fortunate to see a special exhibition of original
drawings from the hand of Michelangelo, 1475 – 1564. Often there was a
photograph of the painting or sculpture that Michelangelo subsequently
created using the ideas he developed with drawing. Much of the wall
space was given to text that helped me understand the need for each of
his drawings. Soon after entering, an explanation on the wall
said, “Drawing was an essential tool for Michelangelo to explore his
ideas . . . his creativity was stimulated by the process of drawing—the
flow of ideas quickening as he realized them on paper.” (--from the
British Museum wall, March, 2006)
In April, 2006,
I viewed an exhibit of the student work of art education students at
the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. In addition to
titles, artist name, and media, each work or group of artworks was
displayed together with the assignment. By sharing the concepts
used in the assignment the viewer participates in the learning.
Our art programs get more of the support from parents, administrators,
and other teachers when we help them see the learning benefits of art
When we display our student’s artwork, students need to see their names with it, and others need to see at least the main goals of the assignment
that occasioned the work. Why was the work created? What
purposes does it fulfill as learning for the student artist and for us
the viewers? Our students are not assigned the Sistine Chapel ceiling,
the Last Judgment, or a larger than life marble statue of David, but
our assignments shape their work just as Michelangelo’s commissions
shaped his work. As the result of including assignment
information, more than one art teacher has heard comments from parents
and other teachers saying things such as, “Oh, I didn't’t know they
learned things in art!”
In addition to the student name, it is good to include title, media, and the name of the art class if it is high school work, or year in school if elementary or middle school. If there are several teachers, include the teacher's name as well.
Some situations require a large overall title to the exhibit. Some exhibits are divided by categories, and it may be helpful to identify each category. In some schools, it is good to make some way-finding signs to guide the visitors to the room or place in the building where they can see the artwork.
END OF ESSAY - SEE RELATED LINKS BELOW
Smart Art Awards?
Giving awards has benefits and pitfalls. This page
explains a way to gain motivational and education benefits from awards
while avoiding the negative pitfalls (a teaching invention seen here first).
No good place for an exhibition?
How to Install an Exhibit using tape so it will not fall down.
How to Build a Temporary Self-Supporting Wall in the Gym using Tackable Fiberboard.
This space is used as a drawing room in an old gymnasium. Also see shop drawings below. The walls are used to tack up drawings during critique sessions. A similar wall can be used for exhibitions.
Panels are available in different colors and with fabric cover for classroom use. Other products are also available at your building suppliers.
Do not hide exit signs.
4 x 8 foot panels are attached to angle spleens with screws.
LINKS to .pdf Shop Drawings for
tackable fiber panels to display artwork.
Sheet 3 drawing (24kb download, .pdf files)
Sheet 2 (28kb download, .pdf file)
Sheet 1 (40kb download, .pdf file)
Teachers may make one copy of the drawings for school use. Commercial or business use restricted without specific permission. CAUTION: Find a safe and spacious place to add walls. Do not hide exit signs. Do NOT restrict or block school corridors or add combustibles unless your fire marshall and insurance company approves. The author does not make any safety claims for the products illustrated on this page. Check the specs of the products before using them in a school setting.
Panels for classroom use.
more links_of interest to art teachers, administrators, and parents
All rights reserved. Images, text, and design
© Marvin Bartel 2004.
Parents and teachers may make one copy of this page for personal study so long as they keep the © information with the copy.
Permission is required to make copies, publish, or to post on another web site.
mention the URL or the title of this page in your correspondence with
the author. You may make a link to this page from your page
Author info: As an art teacher, I was also gallery director for the Art Gallery adjacent to the art rooms in Topeka High School, KS for three years while teaching there. I was faculty sponsor for Senior Exhibits at Northeast Missouri State University before they had a gallery and had to improvise in the hallways or in an empty room. I was gallery director for about 10 years at Goshen College. -mb
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