How Arts Nonprofits are Saving Time & the Headache When Planning Art Shows

Elysian Koglmeier | October 6, 2022

Image courtesy of Mike Von on Unsplash.

Running open art calls? Organizing group exhibits and solo shows? Manage rotating exhibitions more efficiently with Artwork Archive. 

If you’ve curated an art show before, you know there are a lot of moving pieces. It can be overwhelming to keep everything organized and on track. 

Here are popular time-saving strategies we’re seeing art groups use to coordinate and collaborate on their exhibition planning.


Allow artists to submit their artworks directly into your art database

With a rotating exhibition schedule, it’s challenging to track all of the participating artists and their artworks. It can be like pulling teeth to put together a detailed, let alone complete, artwork checklist. 

We’ve heard from art administrators how helpful it is to put the onus on the artist when it comes to submitting images and artwork details.

Art organizations use Artwork Archive’s Artist Upload tool to save hours of administrative work. How does it work?

  • Create a contact record for the artist in Artwork Archive. 

  • Enable piece submissions in the artist’s contact record. 

  • Share the upload URL and password with the artist via email. 

  • An artist without their own Artwork Archive account can simply click on the link, enter the password given to them, and then upload their pieces from their computer. 

  • If the artist does have an Artwork Archive account, they only need to select their artworks and submit them directly from their own artist account into the organization account. 

A screenshot from the Artwork Archive Artist Upload form from which artists can submit artworks details and images directly into an Organization Artwork Archive account. 


Remove confusing back-and-forth email communications

The Artwork Archive Artist Upload tool dramatically reduces the amount of back-and-forth that usually accompanies administrative communications between artists and exhibition venues. 

There’s no need to create and email separate PDFs —and then copy (or worse, re-type) all artwork details, such as titles, pricing information, medium details, insurance costs, artwork descriptions, etc. into a database. It’s transferred directly into the exhibiting venue’s Artwork Archive account. 

“One thing that we really love, especially for rotating exhibits, is that the artist can upload their artworks and images [directly into our Artwork Archive account]. That saves a lot of time. When the onus is on them to make it right, they get it right. We provide them with a password a few weeks before the show. I put together a PDF ‘how-to’ that walks them through the process. We review it. We can make any deletions or changes; we can do it on the backend before it goes public. We then assign those pieces to an exhibit and then it's there.” – Arts & Health at Duke University


Guarantee accurate information and high-res images

When organizing dozens of art shows with dozens of artists, it’s easy to lose details or make typos. You’ll avoid that mess by allowing artists to upload their artworks directly into your Artwork Archive account. Artists are responsible for uploading their images and making sure their titles and values are correct. You’ll rest easy knowing the details are up-to-date. 


No more broken Excel spreadsheets 

Without an arts database, some administrators may be stuck using an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet – both of which are not built for visual components, like images. 

Have you broken the formatting of your spreadsheet by including artwork images? Are you frustrated by not having high-resolution images on hand? 

That can all be resolved by entering the artwork information into your Artwork Archive account. Easily create an exhibition report or generate a Private Room to share potential exhibitors with your selection committee. They can give feedback directly via the Private Room by Favoriting pieces or sending a message. 

Artwork Archive is accessible anywhere, on any device meaning you can plan your art show from the studio, office or on the move. 


Easily review submissions before the artwork is installed

Arts organizations are thrilled to bring their exhibition planning online. 

“Before using Artwork Archive, I'd have artists fill out an Excel spreadsheet. We’d ask artists to send a few images for PR. We wouldn’t necessarily be able to see the whole show. But the beauty of Artwork Archive and their Upload tool is that I get to review the art before it's up. I’ll see the work and  be able to go back to the artist and say that the work may not be appropriate. That doesn’t happen often, but it’s helpful to catch it earlier rather than later.” – Kathi Talley from Michigan Medicine’s Gifts of Arts program 


Participating artists can update their contact information 

There is another key administrative benefit to using the Artwork Archive Artist Upload tool. Within the form, there is a section that artists can either enter or update their contact information. You won’t have to chase down your participating creatives for their address and if there is a change in their lives, like a marriage or divorce or move, you’ll have the most up-to-date information. 

The Trustees of Reservations manages the Corporate Art Loan program for the deCordova Museum and they share how Artwork Archive’s Artist Upload tool has helped streamline their process: “It’s easy to send out a password protected portal for artists to be able to submit – better than coordinating via email. New artists fill out their contact information with bio and artist statements.” 

"Integration" by Cecily Carew, 108x200", collage and mixed media on canvas. Image courtesy of The Trustees of Reservations.


Do you have an artist roster?

Are you constantly updating your artist roster? Is your inbox filled with email outreach and long threads with jpg attachments. Remove the back and forth and simplify the process.  Nonprofits like the Trustees of Reservations and Cambridge Arts Association keep their artist roster up-to-date by using the Artist Upload tool. 


Easily inform stakeholders about the progress and success of your art shows

Create advocates within your arts organization by reporting back on the success of your art shows. If you document your shows, you can easily share that information with supervisors and board members. You don’t have to spend hours logging the information and generating reports or presentations; instead, let Artwork Archive do the heavy lifting. You can generate sales and exhibition reports in your account and share them directly from your database.

The Gifts of Art program at Michigan Medicine uses Artwork Archive to share exhibit information with their Risk Management team to ensure everything is insured by the university. 


A screenshot from Gifts of Art' Public Profile showcasing their exhibition "Beauty in Texture." 

If you’re selling your artwork, you can centralize and track art sales in one art database. With all of your art sales uploaded into a platform like Artwork Archive you can easily pay artist commissions and report back on show sales. 

This is critical for the financial health of your organization. You’ll simplify the mundane process of getting your accounting in order for tax season. 

“In the past we weren't able to document the exhibits like we can now. It was a lot more dedicated hours to document an exhibit in the past. Now it's really easy. I'm able to generate exhibition reports quickly and support our supervisors and their managers. We don't take a commission but we do ask artists to donate back to the program based on their sales (which is tax deductible). We track that in Artwork Archive. We can pull a report with real numbers.”  – Arts & Health at Duke University 


Increase your art sales 

Help your participating artists sell more art. We’ve heard from arts organizations that they’ve tripled their art sales by bringing their exhibitions online.

Arts organizations like Arts & Health at Duke University use Artwork Archive’s Online Exhibitions and Public Profile to drive art purchases. Duke tripled their art sales thanks to the Public Profile. They weren’t reliant on just foot traffic.

With Artwork Archive’s PayPal embed and Invoice generator, they can also take the headache out of logging sales.

“I encourage our participating artists to share more artworks than they exhibit physically. If they send me artworks digitally, we can still sell those pieces; we are not limited to physical space. Even if the work is not exhibited, if people see it online, and can't get into the building, they can still buy it using the Artwork Archive Public Profile.” – Arts & Health at Duke University 


Market your art exhibit

Your participating artists will be thrilled that you are promoting them beyond the physical show. With a public-portal to the exhibit, and the ability to embed the exhibit onto your website from your Artwork Archive account, you’ll promote discoverability of your shows and artists. 

Artists are blown away. They love that we can advertise their exhibit to a wider public and people can inquire about specific pieces. They are happy to upload their information into our Artwork Archive account because they know that it will be seen.” – Arts & Health at Duke University 


Boost engagement with your art show

Online tools also help you increase engagement. Similar to art sales, you do not have to be reliant on foot traffic. The Gifts of Art program saw a tripling of votes in their Staff Show. They received over 600 votes for Best in Show…and they were all unique – no ballot box stuffing.


Manage your art shows with easy-to-use art inventory tools. Sign up for a free Artwork Archive trial today.

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