WALCOT POP-UP SHOP & EXHIBITION, BATH 2018
6TH – 10TH MARCH
This year myself and my peers were lucky enough to have the opportunity to use 94-96 Walcot street, Bath. We turned it into a test space, shop and exhibition. Over the three floors we allocated spaces for different uses to make the most of the space we had. The venue is located in a well known creative area of Bath. The shop located on the ground floor which boasted large double windows looking out onto the street creating a great space within the building allowing us to gained as much footfall as possible. The shop was open for a week from the 6th - 10th March, with the exhibition opening night held over all floors on the 7th. The evening was a huge success. The exhibition and test space opened to the public Thursday evening through to Sunday.
The Organising the shop was found to be difficult in terms of logistics. Getting my work down to the location from university was not to testing as a I had access to a vehicle which made the transporting of my work was easy. However, the space was larger than expected and to begin with some of my peers underestimating the amount of work that was going to be needed to fill the space. When it came to the hanging of the shop Hannah Ball had everything under control, with a plan of where piece should be hung resulting in people’s work complementing one another. The curation of the show challenged Hannah Ball, Holly Nicholls and Kelsey Cruz-Martin due to the space being large and needing to flow but also being aware that this ground floor space was a shop not an exhibition which needed to be adapted accordingly. This was a new experience for myself as well as I have only ever curated exhibitions not a shop environment. The walls were filled as much as possible to make the most out of the space but also to maximise the potential of items we could sell.
The main organisers of the shop ‘ground floor area’, mentioned above, wanted the it to feel professional but not too unapproachable. I feel everyone involved wanted the space to be eye catching and professional looking from the windows. The space was organised by my peers in a way that meant it was split, the front of the shop was a little more sparse and large scale works and works that has bright colour pallets were used to catch the eyes of the public passing. Smaller works were then hung further back in the shop achieving the sellable environment that we all wanted. The window which was a pop of colour and tactically arranged initially drew the public in. Once entering the shop it become an environment with a few tables with smaller works for sale and a selection of small paintings, etchings and mono prints on display. With a student invigilating the shop at all times, giving the public a welcoming hello and answering any questions about the art displayed.
The shop was a great learning curve when it came to the pricing and the selling of my work. I had two oil paintings for sale in the shop which had considerable interest, talking to people about my practice and exchanging emails. This opportunity to talk to potential buyers in this setting was a really valuable experience. This is something I can take forward to degree show and after graduation. I didn’t have a sale while taking part in the shop and reflecting on this that may have been due to my pricing being on the higher side and the audience /footfall coming into the shop weren’t serious art buyers. Having said that I wouldn’t have priced my painting lower as I felt the materials and time put into my paintings was reflected in the price. Another thing I also learnt was that going the extra mile with a customer is important. I contacted any one that had passed on their email as I felt it was important to reach out, asking if they had any quires, were interested in any pieces or wanting a commission.
I had a selection of other works which I didn’t have in the shop they were situated on the second floor (exhibition space) a series of four A1 drawings and two small oil paintings. These pieces weren’t for sale due to me need them for assessment purposes. However, the paintings in particular had interested. Emails were exchanged and there has been discussion of a sale after my assessment in May.
Lost of skills were learnt from this experience. Pricing, talking to people in a professional manner but also judging what art knowledge that person has as the language used may differ, working with my peers as a group, working in a space outside of university. Logistic of making the most of a shop styled space and making sure I am considering the sizes of my work as transporting needs to be a easy and not distressing to the work also.