One of our aims as a newly founded regional group is to get together at least once a year in a physical location for 1-2 days (visits, workshop, making, connecting, socialising)
I took over the role to find possible venues in Switzerland, the country where our core team resides and travelling across Switzerland, I learned quite a lot, not only in getting information, but also in talking with people explaining our reasons for and how to present us as a group. And for me as an artist in facing the public side of an art world.
Couple of bullet points I find interesting to note down, at times rather questions than answers:
- Complexity: I screened all sorts of venues, simple rooms (why not at home of a member?) and more complex programs like Creavia/Paul Klee museum in Bern.
- Group: Do we want to make a team effort? A facilitated team workshop? Eventually, I came up with four options: a) study visit without a room, b) a rented room, c) team workshop with professional facilitation, d) all inclusive ‘vacation’ study package
- Expenses: I was aware that Switzerland is a more expensive country (but possibly similar to UK), and expenses between room rent and more inclusive programs challenged me in keeping all wide open and to ask later the group what would be more attractive. A question between content and cost.
- Identity and presentation: People asking who we are: How to present us as group? Why do we want to rent a venue? Do we have an identity? Besides naming OCA / UCA. What is our mission? At times I handed over my personal artist card as some where asking for tactile information – or sharing the OCA address
- Connection: I really made good connection, talked with established artists whether they would be available for a talk, with gallery owners, with museum staff. All gave me personally more insight in the art world – and understanding that there is much more to connect with, especially with fewer and at a deeper level. I still have some contact points open to talk with (colleges, community centers). Exiting to see how it all will evolve. I even made more contact for my own art projects and possible options for future projects.
- Exhibition: Although not in the short term plan for our group and more out of my personal interest I contacted some venues that we more used for exhibitions, eg. a pop-up gallery in an empty store. At times, I was astonished what people ask artists to pay just to show their work. Fix costs without even being there. A commercial approach for making money (for those who earn). Key learnings: to get into more established galleries as a group one need to plan 2-3 years in advance. Therefore, it would be good to think and prepare internally for the future (like OCA TVG did for their gallery show ‘Time’)
Overall, a time and energy demanding activity done within one week (with subsequent email and telephone conversations) but quite worth the experience. I need more input and focused clarity what we want as a group to move forward. The above mentioned options to be voted on. How much OCASA is willing to fund need to be discussed separately.