FIRST-TIME EXHIBITOR

Exhibiting at the Pittenweem Arts Festival for the first time can be an exciting – and daunting – experience. Seasoned exhibitors have shared their tips with us to help with your preparations. We hope you find it helpful.

VENUE


One of the charms of Pittenweem is that every venue is different. Although the quirky venues can be a delight to the visitor, they can present logistical problems to an artist. Where are you displaying your work? Are you able to use the walls for hanging? Can you use shelves? Will you require hanging boards or special lighting? Have you allowed enough space for visitors to ‘stand back’ from your art? How will the footfall flow work in the venue? It is good to understand the opportunities and restrictions of your venue and plan your approach to presenting your work well in advance.

Also, be aware that many parts of the village have poor (often non-existent) mobile coverage. You need to make sure your venue has Wi-Fi if you’re going to take electronic payment, which is a must from our visitor feedback.

 

ACCOMMODATION

Pittenweem and the East Neuk of Fife have a variety of accommodation options. There are a significant number of self-catering and B&B properties. Be aware that accommodation for the week gets booked up very quickly. There are places in the East Neuk for caravans and motorhomes,  however you cannot park them in Pittenweem itself for the duration of the Festival. 

FOOD & DRINK


Pittenweem has a bakery and a small grocers/Post Office (not open on a Sunday). The nearest supermarket is in Anstruther.

For restaurants/take away food, there are several options including cafes on the High Street and the local pub.

OTHER SHOPS

If you need art or hanging materials, there are two DIY/ironmonger stores in Anstruther – Gray and Nicholls. The nearest craft outlets are in Dundee and the nearest DIY stores are in Leven and Glenrothes.

CASH & PAYMENTS


There are no ATMs in Pittenweem, however cash can be obtained from the Post Office. There are ATMs in nearby St Monans and Anstruther. Our visitors mostly prefer to pay by card, and so having a payment device (such as Square or Zettle) is vital. These can also provide emailed receipts to your buyers. However it is helpful to hold a small ‘float’ of cash, for managing smaller purchases.

HEALTH & SAFETY

Health and safety at your venue is your responsibility. You should have Fire Exits clearly signposted. You should also consider:

• Fire risks – are any of your works potentially flammable? Are they close to heat sources?

• Plinths and standing structures – is there a risk of anything toppling over and injuring someone?

• Electrical safety – be aware of overloading extension leads.

• Trip hazards – are there unsecured cables or any other trip hazards in your venue?

• Glass – is there a risk of glass breaking and hurting someone?

Health and Safety is something you should take seriously. The quality of cover varies from insurance policy to insurance policy and it’s not unheard of for insurers trying to pass the responsibility for payment to their insured customer on the basis that they’ve not complied with some simple Health and safety precautions. 

ARTIST WELLBEING

Being open and hosting your exhibition continuously for 8 days, as well as managing logistics and being available to chat to visitors and make sales, can be tiring (but enjoyable!). Enlist the help of family and friends if you can. It is always worth taking a break to see the other artists in their venues for tips and inspiration.

VISITOR FOOTFALL

Typically, the weekends will be very busy, with weekdays being slightly quieter. The exact time you get busy at the weekends depends largely on how close you are to the car park and the harbour. It takes time for visitors to move around the village, so don’t be despondent if you get a smaller footfall than expected in your first couple of hours.

MARKETING

The Festival has a full programme of marketing, both on and offline. We encourage our artists to participate in our marketing efforts by linking to us on social platforms, resharing our posts and providing content. We can provide helpful assets for exhibiting artists such as logos and templates – just contact us. One of your best sources of sales will be from your existing purchasers and followers, and many of our artists use emailing applications/software to target previous buyers with information about their exhibitions. 

GALLERIES

Gallery owners across Scotland often visit Pittenweem to look for new talent, and to see the work on display by the artists they support. If you have an existing relationship with a gallery It is important that the pricing of your artwork at the Festival aligns with that displayed elsewhere. 

 

DISPLAYING YOUR WORK

Be aware that there are many professional artists at the Festival who are experienced in curation and exhibiting, so it is worth taking extra care to make sure you are making the most of the space you have to make sure your work is just as professionally presented. 

Here are some top tips for presenting your work:

  • Plan your layout carefully and know where you’re placing each piece. Group similar pieces together, by style, frame, or colour. 
  • Consider the right number of pieces for your space – too many will look cluttered, too few will look empty. 
  • Make sure you bring sufficient hanging materials. 
  • Buyers will expect to take the art away, so make sure you have some ‘spares’.
  • Try to keep your artwork off the floor – no paintings leaning against the walls, or sculptures placed as trip hazards!
  • However long you think it will take you to hang your work…double it. 
  • Make sure you have business cards or leaflets that visitors can take away.  Make sure your price labels are tidy, legible, with clear information about the name of the piece, the medium and the price. There are online resources available to help you write your descriptions!

 

OTHER LOGISTICS TO CONSIDER

  • Packaging is important, especially for delicate items, so make sure you have plenty of materials to appropriately wrap any sold pieces so that your purchasers can transport them home safely. 
  • Although the Festival will provide information on your exhibition, your location on a map, and a board with your exhibition number, it may be helpful to consider additional ways of highlighting your location to passing visitors – such as window posters. We are happy to have your promotional leaflets, if you have them, in our Box Office.
  • Be aware that the Festival brings a broad mix of visitors and we want to it to be as engaging as possible to all. Consider how you can make your venue accessible for those who may have disabilities, or how your venue might be experienced by children. Some visitors bring their dogs – remember to make it clear whether your venue welcomes dogs!

 

We hope you’ve found our information useful. As always, if we can provide any additional support or guidance, please do contact us!

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN MURRAY JNR.

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