Showing Art at Brandeis
Would you like to show your artwork or present an art exhibition at Brandeis? Here are some suggestions for a successful show. Read these suggestions first, then get in touch with Arts Engagement. We are here to help!
The Create@Brandeis wall in Upper Usdan is a community art space that is available by request. Work may also be shown in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium. Learn more and fill out the application.
JustArts is Brandeis University's biannual faculty and staff art show. All kinds of artwork are welcome: photographs, paintings, jewelry, video, sculpture, fiber arts such as knitting and weaving, and so on. Sponsored by Brandeis Arts Engagement.
Six to eight weeks before you open the exhibit:
- Develop your purpose. Why do you want to present this exhibition? Create a title and write a brief statement of purpose, including the topic and any related academic or community interests you want to explore.
- Invite a faculty or staff member to serve as an informal advisor. We can help you connect with someone.
- Pick your dates. Allow at least one day for preparing the exhibit and one day for removing it. Consider the academic calendar as well as other campus events: avoid competing with study days, exams and religious holidays.
- Consult the Brandeis Events Calendar to see what spaces are already booked.
- Invite a department or club to co-sponsor the exhibition and add programming such as a talk or symposium. The extra time it takes to collaborate pays off in a broader audience and valuable new relationships.
See Creating an Audience for many more suggestions on publicity and communications.
There are some wonderful exhibition spaces on the Brandeis campus, but they are not plentiful.
- The Dreitzer Gallery in the Spingold Theater Center is used primarily by the Department of Fine Arts for student exhibitions. It may be available at other times. Contact Christine Kahn in the Fine Arts Department to ask about using the space.
- The Create@Brandeis wall in Upper Usdan is a community art space that is available by request. Work may also be shown in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium. Learn more and fill out the application.
- Slosberg Music Center Lobby. Existing artwork must be moved and reinstalled, and walls need to be repaired and repainted. Contact Mark Kagan, academic administrator.
- Goldfarb Library has places where art can be exhibited to the public. Please read the general guidelines, then use this form to request space.
- Chum's. Contact the Department of Student Engagement.
- Intercultural Center Lounge (Swig Center). Please visit the ICC website to learn more about reserving space.
- Sachar International Center, Brandeis International Business School. There is a small space available in the World Court area; unguarded, 24-hour access. Contact Karen Muise, program administrator for student services.
- Schneider Building, Heller School. Contact the Heller events team.
- Brown. The Anthropology Department's Material Culture Study Center Committee oversees the display cases on the second floor. Contact Laurel Carpenter, academic administrator.
- The Women's Studies Research Center houses the Kniznick Gallery, devoted to artwork by or about women. Professional exhibitions related to the center's scholarly research are planned six to 18 months in advance by the center's scholars and curator. If you have a suggestion for an exhibition, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rose Art Museum presents professional artists and works from the museum's permanent collection. Its programming is developed by the museum's director and curator 12 to 24 months in advance. The Rose does not exhibit work by students.
This is a creative opportunity to communicate the meaning of the work.
- Measure the exhibition site and draw a diagram of the space with approximate dimensions. Will horizontal pieces fit, or will a vertical format work better? What groupings might be interesting?
- What are the walls made of: wood, plaster, concrete? Are there hooks installed or do you provide your own? Find out about any restrictions on hanging work: can you use tape, nails, tacks?
- Make a list of all the pieces you plan to show so you don't forget anything.
- Make a list of your wall text, such as labels for each work, or an introductory text.
- Gather all the supplies you need: hammer, tape measure, pencil, masking tape, hooks, wire, wire cutters, ladder, etc. (Some of these materials might be available to you at the site. Just ask!)
- Make sure the space is unlocked and that the people who manage the space know you are coming.
- Less is more. Give each piece of art the space it needs to "breathe."
- Avoid damaging fragile edges and corners by padding the work during installation and hanging. Never lay work flat on the floor. Inevitably, someone will step on it.
- Never handle, move or hang large works of art alone. You can easily damage the art, or yourself.
- Hanging a show always takes longer than you expect. Leave plenty of time for adjustments. Bring a friend to help.
At Brandeis, art is more than just decoration. Take some time to deepen the experience of the people who will view the exhibition. This doesn't mean telling them what to think; there are creative ways to provide a context and point of view that invite the viewer to experience their own thoughts and feelings.
- Provide a clear and proud statement of authorship and sponsorship. For example: "The Brandeis Photographic Society presents 'Winterscapes,' new work by its members. Sponsored by the Department of Student Activities with assistance from the Department of Fine Arts. Curators: Joe College ’19 and Fannie FirstYear ’21."
- If you are presenting work created elsewhere (not by the Brandeis community), your statement should say so. For example, "This exhibition is sponsored by the Martian Pirates Society of Waltham. Brandeis University does not necessarily endorse its content."
- Create wall text or a handout with a statement about the show. This can be based on your earlier statement of purpose, but directed to the viewing public. Why this exhibit? Why now? What does it communicate? Who made the art? When and why did they make it?
- The statement does not need to be a manifesto. If someone took photos on a road trip and just wants everyone to see them, maybe that's all you need to say. On the other hand, wall text can be poetic and powerful — creative writing is an art, too.
- Print paper labels for individual pieces or compile a list on paper of all the pieces. Include the name of piece and the artist's name and affiliation. Media (watercolor, acrylic, ceramic, etc.) and dimensions are optional. Want to get fancy? The Brandeis MakerLab provides laser-cutting and other services to the Brandeis community.
- Put out a guest book for people to record their comments.
- Consider making a playlist that helps set the tone of the exhibition or record a narration that viewers can listen to on their phones.
Your opening reception serves several purposes. It welcomes the public and your friends, heightens the viewer's experience of the work and makes connections between the artists and the community.
- Invite key people from academic departments, research centers and other organizations on campus to attend the reception. How about the off-campus community? Consider inviting key people from local organizations who share an interest in art or the topic of the exhibition.
- Design an evite or social media event. Share it with your friends, members of your organization, board members, alumni and so forth. Post an image from the exhibition as your social media profile.
- It won't be an opening without a cheese platter! Contact the people who manage the space to discuss any restrictions on serving refreshments at your reception.
- Or skip the cheese and crackers for something that is more unusual and perhaps even related to the exhibition. Ask a local restaurant or grocery store to donate food. They will often do so in return for your posting a sign that thanks them for their donation.
- Is there a table available for refreshments or will you need to bring one? What is required of you in terms of clean-up? Ask some friends in advance to help.
Take down your show on the day assigned and remove all hooks and nails. Return any tools you've borrowed. If you are required to spackle or repaint the walls, do so — and leave the space clean. You should anticipate the time and cost of this process.
- Let the location managers know that you are done and have restored the space to its original condition. Send them a "thank you" note or email.
- Read your guest book! It's a great way to get honest audience feedback. Be sure to enter the names and addresses into your mailing list.
- Document the process. Keep a binder with copies of your budget, receipts for expenses, copies of promotional materials, emails and letters. You or your organization may want to do it again.
- Campus Resources
- Brandeis Art Exchange
- Arts in Boston: Museums, Concerts, Plays
- Create@Brandeis Craft Market
- BIPOC Creator Grants
- Career and Internship Resources
- Festival of the Creative Arts
- Student Clubs and Organizations
- Division of Creative Arts
In-person events have been impacted by COVID-19. Please review current information.