Outdoor display tips

This year will be different from any year before. If you’re going to try an outdoor display, review the tips below.

Watch the weather and COVID updates

  • Keep an eye on the weather predictions. If it’s too rainy or windy, SOS will cancel all in-person events. We strongly discourage moving indoors, due to continued COVID concerns.
  • Check the Somerville COVID information page for the most current restrictions on outdoor gatherings.

Make your location easy to find

  • Place balloons at the edge of your display so people can find your site.
  • Place extra balloons at street corners near your studio to direct people.
  • Use chalk to draw arrows and directions to your studio on nearby sidewalks. Get creative!
  • Let your neighbors know you’ll be outside and invite them to come see your work! SOS is a great opportunity to connect with the people in your neighborhood, just be sure to give housemates and neighbors heads-up ahead of time.

Setting up your display

  • Choose a space that visitors can get to: lawns, driveways, garages, or porches are great options.
  • Stay off public sidewalks and streets, and remember to talk to the other people in your building if you’ll be using any shared space.
  • If you use a tent or shade structure, make sure it’s large enough for both your work and a visitor or two at a time.
  • If you have fences or other structures you can hang work from, use them!

Display your work with visitors in mind

  • Be sure your art is well-illuminated. Good lighting makes a huge difference. Inexpensive battery-operated clip lights are available for less than $10 at most hardware stores.
  • Place as much work as possible at or just above eye level, so visitors don’t have to stoop or crane their necks.
  • Clearly label your work, including pricing.
  • Label or cordon off any part of your yard that you don’t want people to touch — a friendly “please don’t touch” sign will do the trick

Make your exhibit space welcoming and interesting

  • Invite members of your personal Quaranteam over to socialize with you during the event, or one or two friends for socially distant chatting. Having a group of people there can make other visitors feel more comfortable.
  • If possible, be working on something so visitors can watch how your art is created. Some artists also set up a slideshow of other works or video of their process, which helps visitors engage with the work.

Engage with your visitors

  • Greet everyone who comes to your space. You may find it helpful to put a sign with your photo and name on it near the street so that visitors know who to address their questions to.
  • Have slips of paper and a container for visitors to write their email addresses on to sign up for your mailing list (if you have one). Do not provide pens unless you can offer a new one to every visitor.
  • Thank visitors for coming — refer them to other artists if they ask for suggestions on whose work to see!

Be reachable after the event

  • Clip business cards, postcards, or brochures individually to a display for visitors to take. Don’t leave a pile – make it as contactless as possible.
  • Create and display a QR code that sends visitors to your website, social media, or online store.
    • Use a recommended QR code generator to create the code, such as Beaconstac or QR Code Generator.
    • Once you’ve created the code, save the image to your computer and print several copies of it for visitors to scan.
  • Have a website or social media account where people can view your art. Make sure to put your website address or account name on your business cards!
    • Website – There are a number of free sites you can use to build an online art profile, such as WordPressTumblr, and artid.com.
    • Social Media – Instagram and Facebook are photo-friendly social media sites to share your process and completed work.
  • Follow up with the people who’ve signed up for your mailing list thanking them for attending SOS. You can set up a free mailing list using Mailchimp or similar services.

Take care of yourself!

  • Get lots of rest and be sure to eat well and drink lots of water throughout the weekend — stay energized!
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and have a comfortable seat outside.
  • If it’s sunny, wear sunscreen or sunny-weather clothing, or stay in the shade.
  • Invite a buddy to be with you during all or part of the weekend, in case you need to step away for a bathroom break.