Hanging an art show in a blizzard
Though having an art show is a rewarding experience, hanging an art show takes a lot of preparation. But hanging an art show in a blizzard takes extra special care. Below are some tips and must have items to help make hanging your winter art show a breeze.
Wrap it Up
How you wrap up your artwork for travel depends on the type of artwork you are hanging and the distance you are traveling. For instance, if you are driving 100 miles with 15 framed pieces and 10 delicate sculptures, you need to take more care than if you are going 10 miles with acrylics painted on 5 heavy-duty panels. If you are flying or shipping your works, you will want to take special care individually wrapping and boxing (and insuring) each piece. If you are driving a short distance, you may be able to get away with having two unframed pieces in one box with some blankets wrapped around each piece. Needless to say, each item needs to be carefully wrapped and to protect it from the definite bumping and shifting that will occur during travel.
Now that each piece is carefully wrapped, you need to wrap it again in some plastic. Snow has a way of blowing sideways so prepare for it to make it’s way in on the sides of you artwork as well as below it. If you have some heavy boxes or bags, be sure to put protective plastic even on the bottom so you can let it rest briefly in the snow bank as you are trying to close your car door or open the door to the gallery. I personally use heavy duty construction clean up bags to waterproof my art- they bend and stretch with the best of them allowing for use after use.
Once all of the pieces are wrapped and waterproof, don’t forget to put your artist bio, hanging tools, and tags in a plastic bag too. Include wrapping all of your hanging tools and extras (hammer, needle nose pliers, screws, hangars, backings, snacks, etc), as well as your ladder. The worst is showing up ready to hang only to have all of your tags, marketing materials, and ladder dripping wet with soggy snow.
Once everything is bagged up, it is hard to tell which piece is which. This is not a problem if you are 100% sure that the gallery or gallery owner wants every single piece. But more often than not, your memory recalls some 40” more than the wall actually has to hang one of your works (and measurements don’t lie). The gallery owner or show curator may prefer to hang the show themselves so you want to make it easy for them (and safe for your art). Clearly mark each box with the name of the piece, your name, AND indicate the top of the artwork. If the box should not be cut with a box opener, mark that down too.
I am all about convenience. I don’t like taking more trips to and from the car if it is snowing out if I don’t have to. So I use heavy-duty canvas and tarp bags to carry more paintings in each trip. Depending on what size and weight each piece is (and how much I can carry), I can sometimes get 4-6 paintings in each bag or 2-12 paintings per trip.
Keep Your Sanity Items
Sometimes blizzards mean the road can be blocked for a bit or you need to shovel out your car or you just get stuck at the gallery for awhile. I’ve personally been stuck waiting outside for someone to arrive in 28 degree blizzard weather where the extra snow clothes made my multiple attempts to check if the gallery owner arrived more bearable. Snow clothes, gloves and boots are always a must for winter travel, but are mandatory must-have items to stick it out and stay warm if you get stuck during your winter art show hanging.
If you bring your child with you to hang your work, prepare for hours and hours of entertainment for them. I once planned for a 2 hour hang that took 5 hours. Luckily my daughter had multiple snacks, a water bottle, a bag of toys and some coloring books that softened the blow of “just a little longer, sweetie.” (In this case, having extra quarters to feed the meter was handy as well).
There are a lot of things that go into creating a body of art and preparing for an art show. But weather often plays by it’s own rules. If you have an art show planned to hang during the winter months in an area that regularly snows or has freezing rains, using these tips above will help save your art and make your show hanging go smoothly.