So, now that you have an idea of what we are aiming to achieve, now is the time to get into some of the nitty gritty detail about how The Exhibit platform will actually work; how exhibitions will be curated and published, and how The Exhibit will enable art collectors to buy artwork.
For most users, their first interaction with The Exhibit platform will be via the home and browse exhibitions pages. Both these pages will feature current and trending exhibitions as well as allow users to search by artist, curator, keyword or location to find the exhibitions they want to browse online. The home page will be constantly changing, featuring new and trending exhibitions, while the browse exhibitions page will provide all the search filters you need to find the exhibitions which take your fancy.
Step by Step Curation
Now for there to be exhibitions available for users to browse, curators and artists will need a simple way to curate their content on the platform. To do this we have designed an intuitive exhibition set-up interface which guides curators through a step by step process, so that no matter if this is your 100th exhibition or your first, you won’t forget anything and will be prompted at each step as to what information you need to curate a winning exhibition. Curators can curate exhibitions of their own artwork, solo exhibitions showcasing the work of a single artist or group shows where multiple artists are involved. Curators can also work alone to complete the set-up of each exhibition or collaborate with other curators.
Free to Curate
Curating an exhibition on The Exhibit will always be free for users. Each new curator will be able to choose between two pricing plans dependent on their needs. For Independent Curators and Artists, the platform will be free to use will a small success fee charged per artwork sold. For Art Galleries and Retail stores there will be a subscription model available allowing them to unlock additional features. These include a Gallery Profile page with additional contact and location information so browsers can discover your offline gallery space as well as the ability to continue selling unsold artwork after your exhibitions have ended via your Gallery’s Stockroom. Find out more about our pricing model here.
The Exhibit will allow users to exhibit a wide variety of art forms and the only real limit to what you will be able to exhibit is your imagination; from oil paintings, water colours, etchings, drawings, works on paper, collage, sculpture, assemblage, ceramics, photography to traditional indigenous art forms…. if it’s an original artwork and you can photograph it, you can exhibit it! Whether you create paintings of sloths dressed up as cats, glitter covered sculptures of miniature baby piglets, or crocheted decorative bananas, The Exhibit platform will have you covered for all your exhibition needs.
We are also working on how to make The Exhibit work for digital and video artworks, performance art and site specific installations but this will be a future feature release.
All the Best Parts of an Offline Exhibition
The Exhibit has been designed to replicate all the best parts of an offline exhibition and smartly incorporate all the features exhibition browsers will except to see. Just like in the offline world, The Exhibit exhibitions will be temporary, with defined opening and closing dates. Each exhibition will have its own landing page which will work just like a title wall in a gallery space with the exhibition’s name, the artists and curators involved, an overview blurb of the exhibition and a promotional or branding image. From here, browsers will be able to link to further information about each artist and curator. Each artwork will also be accompanied by further information, acting just like a wall label pinned to the wall next to an artwork in a physical gallery space. Curators will also be able to define their “wall colour” so their artworks are “hung” on the right background colour of their choosing.
Easy to include Digital Content
As an online platform, The Exhibit also has capabilities beyond a physical exhibition space. These include the ability to seamlessly add digital media, such as videos and audios, to both your exhibition landing pages and individual artwork pages. Easily add a studio tour to your exhibition so website browsers can watch you at work creating the works in the exhibition or an audio talking about the meaning and making process of each artwork or even compile a walk-through commentary which guides users through the exhibition. The easy addition of digital content adds a whole new dimension to the online exhibition experience and allows you to add further information and insights to your exhibitions.
For Sale or Not for Sale?
With all other e-commerce art websites and auction portals the focus is on selling, this is not the case with The Exhibit. Not only have we shifted all the focus onto the exhibition rather than individual artwork, but not all artworks in each exhibition will have to be for sale. Exhibitions can be made up of a mix of for sale and not for sale artworks. And if you are an Art Gallery on a Gallery subscription plan you will be able to have exhibitions where 100% of the works are display only and not for sale. This will enable galleries to use the platform to curate exhibitions using artworks from public or private collections.
Inbuilt Promotional Tools
We have built in tools to make it super easy to promote your exhibitions online. Each exhibition will have a custom URL to easily direct online traffic straight to the exhibition’s landing page. The custom URL will also make it fast to share your exhibition on social media, on your own website and by email to your email list. This also means you will be able to share your exhibition with your followers before the exhibition’s opening date so they can browse the artworks before they become available for sale. This means you won’t need to compile and send out a pre-sale catalogue, you will simply be able to direct your list to your unique exhibition URL.
Online and Offline
The Exhibit is also set up to allow you to publish an online exhibition which mirrors an offline exhibition in your physical gallery space. Not only will doing this expand the reach of your exhibition to a wide global audience, but The Exhibit will feature the address of your offline exhibition on your online exhibition. This means you can use your online exhibition to promote the offline exhibition, allow your followers to find you in real life and get more feet through the door. You can even use The Exhibit platform as the payment platform in your physical gallery space to manage artwork sales.
Artist Biography and Exhibition History
When you curate an exhibition, or participate in one as an artist, The Exhibit will automatically create a profile page for you. Now we are not trying to be the next social network but this is simply about providing exhibition viewers with more information about you and your exhibition history. Your profile will also include links to your social media accounts and website so browsers who like your stuff can easily follow you.
Buy Art Wherever You Are
During the set-up of each exhibition the artists and curators will define the shippings costs, shipping insurance levels and available shipping destinations. These shipping options will be available for art collectors to view on each artwork. Therefore, if the artwork ships to your global location with a click of a button, it could be yours!
There you have it, in a nut shell that is how The Exhibit will work. Off course there will be lots more technical detail and fancy tricks going on in the background but that’s the basic overview of how the platform will work from the front end. The Exhibit platform will also always be growing and adapting to our users’ needs and demands so this outline is by no means set in stone and is just the start of something we believe will be quite exciting!
Are there any problems you currently face when exhibiting, visiting exhibitions or buying art online which you want solved? Please let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Zinnia O’Brien is a co-founder of The Exhibit. She has a Masters of Museum Studies and has worked in internationally recognised Art Galleries and Museums in Australia and New Zealand. She is passionate about using technology to find ways for galleries, museums and arts practitioners to remain viable and valued in the current under-funded Arts and Cultural environment. Sign up at https://theexhibit.io/ to get notified when The Exhibit launches!