Everything you always wanted to know about Art Openings
     -- but were afraid to ask:


What is the purpose of an Art Opening?

It is really more about the artist – and a little less about the art itself.  It's a social event – a chance for the artist(s) to bask in the spotlight for a few hours, before returning to his normal life.  It's an opportunity to meet artists and people interested in art – an opportunity to broaden your horizons!


What is a gallery Opening like?
Openings are (hopefully) fun parties where you get to see original art for free.  They usually offer drinks and snacks – typically wine/soft drinks and cheese.  Sometimes there is music, but dancing usually occurs only when an artist sells a work.


What do I wear to an Opening?
If you want to play it safe, black is the time-honored “uniform”, but art is all about being an original, so you can be as creative as you’d like. 


What should I do at an Opening?

You should look carefully and thoughtfully at the art (or at least pretend to).  You should definitely discuss the artwork with the people you came with and with others – but be sure to keep comments positive (save negative opinions for later – no matter how crazy something may look to you) as the artist(s) may be in hearing range.


Does it cost anything to go to an Opening?
Are you kidding?  No, the artist(s) just want you to come and tell them what great artists they are! – and the gallery owners are just hoping you will buy something!


Are these events open to the public?
Almost always!  It’s pretty rare for a gallery to have an exclusive opening.  If they do, most likely they wouldn’t promote the show publicly.


Can I bring my kids?

Only if you want them to know about art.  I think it’s a good thing for kids to know about art, so I would encourage taking them – unless they’re on the rowdy side – or unless you want an excuse for a night out without them.


Can everyday people like me afford to buy art at a gallery?
The price range varies – but many works are very reasonably priced, especially if they’re already framed – and you factor in that savings!  Galleries usually display their prices next to the work or have a price sheet available.  It is usual and acceptable to carry the price sheet around with you and refer to it as you look – because other information about the pieces are also included.  


What do I do if I find something I can afford and want to buy it?

First, check for a red dot near the piece (on the artist/price card) .  That will indicate that the piece is already sold, so I hope you don’t find one!  If there’s no red dot, then talk to the artist or the gallery owner.  He will be glad to help you with your purchase!

What does the red dot mean?

The red dot sticker on an artist/price card indicates that the art piece has been sold.  This is an American art gallery tradition.  During exhibitions, art is sold and marked with the red dot - but remains on display until the closing of the exhibit even though it's sold!


What does it mean when I see a "fraction" (like 3/50) beside the signature on a piece?
This is a limited-edition or a "signed and numbered" print.  A limited-edition print is a reproduction of an original work that is signed and sequentially numbered by the artist.  The "fraction" indicates the number of the print (top number) and the total number of prints in the edition (bottom number).  The total number of prints is fixed or limited by the artist or the publisher.

How can I find out about other show openings, if I didn’t get an invitation?
Look in your local paper in the Entertainment section for art exhibition and opening show information.  In Memphis, the Commercial Appeal lists theirs in the “Appeal” section, and the Flyer lists theirs in the “We Recommend” section.

If you have other questions, please feel free to ask! 
Email me at [email protected].