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Landing your first exhibition is a daunting and exciting time, and some will find that milestone easier to achieve than others.

Below is a list of things you can do to make the process a little bit easier, and get your foot into the art world.

Choose wisely

In the anxiety of trying to get your first exhibition, many artists will apply the same approach to getting your first job as a 15-year-old: sending resumes out to anyone and everyone.

When it comes to art galleries, it’s worth being more selective given the personal element of art. Do some research on galleries in your area and what kind of artists they currently exhibit. Do they show only established artists or do they also show emerging creatives? What kind of art do they show? Do you have a niche and does your work fit into their space?

There are many small independent galleries out there looking to discover new talent, you’ve simply got to find them.

Keep it personal

Much like all opportunities, the saying “It’s who you know” rings true for galleries as well. When you’ve found a gallery you’d love to exhibit at, attend a show, introduce yourself to the curator and make yourself known. Building this personal connection is one of the strongest ways to show you’re interested in the space more than just selling works or getting your name out there.

Join the group

Group shows are a great chance to have some fun, learn something from fellow creatives and a great chance to “exploit” the audience of other artists. By creating excitement over the group exhibition, it helps each artist widen their network and maximise their opportunities via an entirely new audience.

You simply never know who is in the audience or the connections your peers may have, so opportunities are potentially all around you.

Trust your gut

One of the biggest pieces of advice that comes from artists on exhibiting is to trust your gut and not question what you’re creating.

Having to form a full exhibition the first time around can be daunting, especially as you’re trying to create a cohesive collection of works.

Local artist Miranda Jarvis said this on the matter to Courthouse Youth Arts: “Have faith in your work,” she says. “For your first show, acknowledge that the people there are excited for you and want to support you! Have fun and learn from the process, which can be really daunting and a little stressful. Give yourself a massive pat on the back for putting yourself and your creative output out there.”

Value yourself

Putting a value on your work is the most challenging thing an artist will face. How do you cover your costs without alienating your audience and eliminating the chance of a sale?

It’s important to make sure you cover the cost of your materials, particularly the cost of framing. A hint is to sit down and calculate the hours you spent creating the artwork and combine that with your costs for materials and work out what the overall figure is. Is that something you’d be comfortable charging? As previous curator and artist Courtney Ward says, this act of deciding what you are comfortable charging is the hardest.

“I know with my artists we’d sit down and have a meeting and we’d do a costing, because none of them knew how to price it,” Courtney says. “I’d tell them that’s what you have to ask, but what do you feel comfortable asking?”

Exhibiting as an artist is an important element of getting your name out there. While finding your first gallery to exhibit at may be challenging, the process only gets easier from there.