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Champagne taste Beer budget

Contemporary Exhibition Practice | Curatorial Project

Location: The William Cobbet Pub
Date and Time: Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 3 pm- 8pm

For our Contemporary Exhibition Practice Unit, we were asked to work on an independent curatorial project in groups of five.  With my group, composed of Kelli, Ty, Georgina, Chelsea and me, we managed to curate a pop up show, in a local pub in Farnham, named “Champagne Taste, Beer Budget”. Despite the initial struggles in getting started with the project, I think that the final show was great and I feel proud of what we have been able to achieve together.

As I have already mentioned, the beginning of this project has been a little slow since no one really knew where to start from and it was hard to find dates in which everyone was available to meet.
First of all, we worked to find shared interests and topics to use as main theme of our curatorial project. It came out that most of us were dealing with the concept of identity so we decided to make it the central theme of the exhibition.

Finding the location was the easiest part. I personally started looking at affordable places in Farnham such as the Riverside Café & Gallery at Farnham Maltings but my favourite option was Waverley Abbey, an old abbey in the countryside, once part of a monastery. We took this last option into consideration but at the end we decided to go for Georgina’s suggestion: The Cobbett Pub in the centre of Farnham which was accessible to everyone without extra cost being necessary.


Once we decided the location the major problem became finding artists willing to take part in our show for free. I personally got in contact with Maggie Eve Coffee, who had not specifically been working with the concept of identity, but was willing to make some work about it, just for the exhibition. In the meantime Kelly got in contact with Catherine McCaw-Aldworth and Ty secured Laura Greenway and Mary-Ann.
With an overall of four artists and nine art pieces we decided then to switch the focus on the promotion of the event, which meant advertising the show on social media and through posters; we had to provide drinks and food for the event and we still had to organise a fund raising to cover the costs.
Ty designed the posters and created a great logo for the exhibition. After we printed out some flyers and posters we also managed to start an Instagram page in order to promote the event.



For the fund raising, we decided to create small items such as cards or homemade sweets to sell at the event. I was the one in charge of the printing of all the items.


In the meantime we also arranged transportation for the artworks for those artists who could not be there for installing their own pieces while Kelly took care of the drinks for the opening.

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At the opening we had the present artists give a talk about their work and the pieces they had presented. It was really exciting to have the chance to personally discuss their practice and to see how happy they were with the outcome of the show.
The event was never too busy but we had a constant flux of people visiting through the whole time. Also, dealing with just a few people at a time made it easier to engage with them and have open conversations about the artworks exposed.
The feedback we got from the visitors and the artists were really positive as well as the comments about the small articles for purchase. I particularly felt very accomplished about the sale of the t-shirts since we almost gave out all of them, so that by the end of the night we rose more money than expected, with an overall profit of about 20 pounds.

At the end I can say that the show was a success, the works of the artists interacted well with the surrounded space and they fit within the environment; the room never looked empty  as the artworks themselves made it look busy; the artists were all satisfied with the placement of their pieces and everyone who showed up enjoyed the great art, free drinks and chats.
I am really happy with the outcome of this project, it has been stressful and not everything went the way it was supposed to, but working with a team really helped.