A Guide to Running Your Own Gallery Exhibition


Gallery Exhibition Checklist

Have you ever considered running your own solo or group art exhibition?  Whether it is self-funded or supported by a grant, there are many things to consider, plan, and prepare when running your own show. Below is a comprehensive list of steps and points to plan your future event.



  • Book a space that meets the requirements of your audience and your expectations. Consider venues accessibility, seating, parking, location, public hours, wall space, and room size. Is it somewhere people want to go? How is the traffic? Does the layout work for you?
  • Consider booking up to a year in advance for your preferred dates.
  • Talk with venue staff about availability (not all upcoming events will be showing in the public calendar). 
  • Check the venue’s calendar to piggy-back or avoid other events.
  • Check the measurements of the display area for personal planning. You can also request to take a tour of the space prior to your booking.
  • Before booking consider how much time do you really need? Especially if you’re the only one working it. Do you need 6 months or a year to plan and prepare? Be realistic and give yourself plenty of time.
  • Consider your set up and what furniture you need (tables/chairs/benches).
  • Do they provide Wifi to run your payment system?
  • Review all rental room options, pricing and policies on the website or book a meeting with Staff.
  • Catering Fees, Insurance, Staff Fees may apply or be required. 


Congrats! You chose your space, now what?

In this scenario we will choose the Tett Gallery for your next exhibition.



  • Once you agree on a venue, book your rental with Rental Staff. Make sure to carefully read all the Rental Policies at the time of your booking. Clarify with staff what your needs are and what the venue offers and does not offer.
  • Ensure to confirm and plan for your gallery set up and clean up times that fit within your access time/booking. 
  • Organize with staff for a walk through of the space at the beginning of your rental to make sure it's ready for your event.
  • After your payment is confirmed, send Staff all your marketing materials.
  • Please note, there are different rates for tenants, arts-focused and regular rentals at the Tett Centre.



What is the goal of your show – who, what, why, when? Create a clear theme and direction for your show and body of artwork. Once this is complete it’s time to create and launch your exhibition campaign and marketing material. You and staff will need time to market the event effectively. Get the word out early to ensure you’re directing as many people as possible to your event.  Branding is important.  You’ll use this across many different advertising platforms.


Marketing Materials needs to include:

  • Your Name and Title of the Show
  • Start & End dates and Daily Hours. May change based on the day of the week.  Consider that the venue has certain operating hours. Allow for guests work hours and patterns.
  • Location
  • Contact information or website (how can people reach you for more information)
  • A short Description

You can design posters on Canva (better on a laptop) or other design programs (photoshop, lightroom etc.). Consider designing different poster formats for different social platforms. Example: Vertical poster for Instagram Stories, Square format for Instagram, Banner poster for website or Facebook Events.

  • You can also hire someone to design and create your posters. 
  • You can print posters or cards on a printer at home, on Vista Print, or at a local print shop. 
  • Tett Staff recommend 1-3 months + to market your show.
  • Consider sending out a Save-the-Date in advance.
  • Send Tett Staff all your marketing materials to be added and shared on the Tett website and social media. 
  • You are responsible for creating and printing and your posters/marketing materials. 
  • Recommended: Hang wayfinding posters or directions around the building to guide traffic to your show (on all levels).
  • Consider an outdoor A-frame sign to attach more visitors from the road.



It’s important to reach a wider audience online when marketing your show. We recommend you create the following links to best promote your show.

  • Create a Facebook Event (make Tett Co-host)
  • Create a show link or announcement on your personal website
  • Create an Eventbrite Link (FREE tickets)
  • Tett Staff will add the event on the Tett website arts@tettcentre.org



  • Facebook Event - make the venue a Co-host 
  • Instagram stories and feed
  • Kingston Arts Council Event Calendar
  • Posters in public places (downtown cafes etc.)
  • Postcards to hand out as invitations
  • What’s on Kingston website
  • Tourism Kingston
  • The Kingstonist
  • Queens Events
  • Email VIP lists that you compile through Mailchimp 
  • Your own website
  • Family/Friends



The Tett Centre shares and promotes all public rental events at the Tett Centre. This includes advertising on the Tett Centre website/calendar, social media, and newsletter. Renters must send event posters and links to Tett Staff in advance.



  • Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your show, order and organize everything in advance.
  • Consider the furniture you need: table, chair, tablecloths, merchandise, shelves, or stands for artwork. Bring what you need. 
  • Group subject matter into sections like a well coursed dinner.  Create an experience that tells a story that hooks at the door and gets more exciting near the end.
  • Think about the branding of your show – What is the experience? What is your brand?
  • You can showcase your artwork, examples of your process, media, or creation area. Get creative! The goal is to make your event engaging and enjoyable for guests.
  • Set up and take down must happen within your rental time.
  • Include a Bio on the wall for those who would rather guide themselves
  • Consider creating oversized stickers of your name and the show title (trimline)
  • Tag your artwork – include cards with info for each piece & prices
  • Red stickers to mark sold
  • Logbook to record buyers’ contact information and what they bought to package and arrange for pick up
  • Guest book to collect more emails for future VIP newsletters 
  • Consider offering custom framing options – reach out to a local framing company
  • Optional: A gift shop – offer a collection of affordable and small works in addition to your artwork. (Example: mugs, cards, prints, stickers, postcards)



  • Create printed or written tags or a price booklet for artwork in your show.
  • Is tax is included or not? State the prices clearly.



  • Send out VIP pre-sale options (loyal customers preview times)
  • Post everyday about the show on Social Media
  • Create short videos
  • Phone Tree – ask people to tell 3 people and bring people with them to the show
  • Use an app like ArtRooms to show what your work would look like in a real space.
  • Pay to boost social media content that had been performing well.



  • Artists are responsible for managing their own sales. The Tett Centre takes no commission.
  • You can accept any form of payment. Clearly outline what you expect for guests and viewers.
  • If you already have Shopify get their card reader to take payments directly off your inventory list. Keeps it easier to track online sales while you’re also taking point-of-purchase sales.   
  • Be prepared to use data if the wifi is not working.
  • You can accept payments through: Square payment, e transfer, cash or card. Choose the best option for you.  
  • Bring cash and change on-site (don’t leave cash unattended or overnight in the gallery)
  • Optional: Offering 24hr Advance online presale can work well



  • Ensure to read Rental Policies or ask staff about food.
  • Option: coffee cards for the Juniper Cafe
  • Catering Fees may apply. 



  • Use your show as an opportunity to take great photos of your artwork. Take photos yourself or consider hiring a photographer to take professional photos. You can use these on your website or for content to use when applying to more shows in the future.
  • Make sure to document your show online. Create walk through videos and virtual tours, or bright and enticing photos. Post on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube etc. 



  • Set your hours for the last day to allow clients to pick up their artwork right out of the gallery.  This accomplished 2 things: 1- they already know how to find you, 2- you don’t have to move as much stuff around after the show.
  • With the info gathered through your customer log book, notify them of the pick-up instructions closer to the date.
  • You can also choose for buyers to pick up artwork at the time of purchase. If you do this - make sure to have extra work to fill the show.



  • Consider that this is a splurge/treat for the purchaser or receiver and package it with care and details that meet your branding standards.  
  • Included a thank you note. Make them feel special and appreciated.
  • Ask for photos of the artwork in their space if they are willing to share.
  • Bring tissue or bubble wrap and bags for purchases.



  • Make sure to clear out all artwork and items out of the gallery.
  • Remove all nails, stickers, tags, posters etc. Leave the space as you found it.
  • Read the Rental Policies for renter/venue expectations.
  • Remove any signage or posters around the building.



  • Ensure your show and attendees are following all up-to-date health and safety guidelines and protocols.  


PLEASE READ. The Tett provides a Tett Centre Rental Policies & Guidelines PDF, and the Tett Centre Covid 19 Health & Safety Protocols. Contact rentals@tettcentre.org.


Written By: Danielle Folkerts & Michelle Reid


* Please note, many of these points are optional, but will add value to your exhibition. Whether it is your first show or your fifth show, we hope this checklist is helpful!


Contact Tett Staff for any additional questions.





The Tett Gallery is an exceptional space for personal or group exhibitions, creative performances, gallery showings, sales, workshops and meetings. The 1000 sq. ft gallery is for both experienced and aspiring artists to share their work with the community, while jurying their own show. Please note, The Tett does not curate or take any commission from displayed work. 

Learn more: https://www.tettcentre.org/rentals/community-exhibition-gallery

Rental Request: https://www.tettcentre.org/rentals/rental-requests

Art by Natalie Bohnen-Twiddy / Photography by Danielle Folkerts


Art by Danielle Folkerts / Photography by Susanna Gordon


Art by Michelle Reid / Tett Gallery / Photography by Susanna Gordon