How has your perspective about art changed throughout the process of organizing your own exhibition?

I think that you need to actually make art with the intention of hanging it up on a gallery wall. If I had done that over the last year, my art would have turned out a lot different because I would have gone about it differently—every detail that people could fuss over would have been easily covered months in advance. All in all, I learned that actually creating art with that intention will give you a much better product--the painting that I made after I knew I was having a show is by far my favorite. 

What would you do differently if you had the opportunity to do it over?

I would have attempted to advertise even more than we already did. I am still really proud of us for drawing people to the show, even without a lure like a game or play. If we had been able to create more social media advertisement, we could have really made this show the biggest one Deep Run High School has ever had. Additionally, I would have forced the three of us to budget our time better so that we weren't hardcore stressing the week of the show. We were definitely feeling the pressure of the show deadline, so I kind of wish we had worked on the show before the actual week of it. 

If you had unlimited time and resources, what else would you have done to complete your show?

I would have purchased better materials to make my art because the wood I painted on did experience some warping. Additionally, I would have loved to have done some large scale installations—I don’t know how many incredible things I could have come up with had money and space not been an object. Additionally, if I had had more time I would  have painted my walls a different color because  that had always been something that I thought worked really well in the show--although painting over it would have definitely been a challenge.  

What was the value of this experience for you?

Your senior art show will show you exactly what you are getting yourself into if you are going to pursue a career in the arts. You will easily be better prepared than those students who have not gotten an authentic gallery experience before. Even if you aren’t going to art school, the experience will seriously humble you. The amount of work that goes into covering a school hallway is staggering—imagine how long it takes artists to prepare huge gallery walls. It really shows you how to work extremely hard and how to handle the stress of such a monumental task.  

How could this process be enhanced for future Art 5 students?

I think the process is actually pretty fine-tuned as it is. No matter what, it’s going to be stressful and it is something that no amount of reading is going to prepare you for. You have to actually get yourself into the process before you can truly understand it and it’s something that you won’t truly grasp until you experience it for yourself. I would just encourage the future students to have fun with it and try to have your show with friends.

What do you wish you knew before your show now that you've gone through the process?

No matter how prepared for it you think you are, you still won’t get much sleep the week of your show. To maximize the amount of time you get to spend in your bed, knock out the little things the week before—get your artist statement and labels made up in advance. On the Monday before your show, figure out what you need to do and how much time each thing will take. Spread these necessities over the days before your show, taking into account all of the different times you can work on your show—extended study, study hall, after school, etc.

What is the best advice you can give those who will have shows in the future?

Just have fun with it. You’re going to stress out no matter what—just make sure you keep your cool and try to have your show with someone you don’t mind spending long hours with. Do as much as you can in advance and, when it comes time to work on your walls, play some music and try to make it as fun as possible—a silent art hall kind of sucks.

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