Virtual art exhibition?

I’m looking for suggestions for conducting an annual art exhibition which will have to be virtual this year if it happens at all. I’m looking for suggestions for a platform to host the event. For example, could it be done on Zoom? Is there a similar platform that is better suited? What about the sales side?

In previous years the the organizer, herself an artist, engaged half a dozen fellow artists, rented a space and set up a one-day exhibition. People paid a small entrance fee, there were light refreshments, and the artists were there to talk about their work. Work could be purchased via Venmo on the spot and taken home.

One way I see this unfolding virtually is, there would be a central live streamed introduction to the event, and then each artist could have their own virtual room that was separate from the central stream, where they could discuss their work with visitors. The works would be on display and could be purchased.

If this arrangement won’t work, my next suggestion would be to give each artist a timeslot on the main stream (e.g. 15 minutes each) to talk about their work and answer any questions.

Each artist could be in their own home with their artwork. In past years there were framed paintings and drawings, sculptures and calligraphy that changed in different lights, so it would be up to each artist to arrange a suitable presentation.

Any suggestions gratefully received.

One place to look for a model might be how conferences have done poster sessions during the pandemic. I believe @JohnAtl has participated in one, maybe he could offer some thoughts.

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Interesting challenge!

On one hand, it would be fairly feasible to set up a website with a variety of info pages for each artist (or piece) and a “visit!” button—during the event each link could go to a separate Zoom link (or whatever) where the artist was waiting. Kinda like walking through rooms in a gallery and jumping into a conversation with the artist. Something similar could be done with a series of Zoom rooms to emulate an actual event space—so you’d have a common room with links to every artist space, and provide links to jump back and forth somehow. (Obviously this idea is half-cooked…)

Alternatively, if it doesn’t need to be a time-based event, I have seen a variety of online galleries and other approaches to online art. I can try to find some links if you’re interested in these non-event directions.

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Thanks, I’d be interested to hear about any recent virtual events.

@ryanjamurphy thanks for the suggestion. I have used virtual world platforms extensively, but in my experience they were used by the subset of the general internet using population who were willing to invest and learn; there was a barrier to engagement and it wasn’t something that people would set up an account and get into for a one-off event.

However, one of the big disconnects when you get over the barrier as a user or as an exhibitor is that you can leave a virtual exhibit or tradeshow up permanently, round the clock and people can enter in their own time zone and see your exhibit without needing other people to be present.

I’d appreciate any examples you can suggest.

Ah, yes, Second Life-style experiences could be another route, but that wasn’t what I was suggesting. (On that thread, though: looks more intentionally designed for this sort of gathering than Second Life ever was!)

As for virtual galleries, I was thinking more along the lines of these:

Literally online galleries—the whole point is to do e.g., a Biennale designed for the Internet from the ground up.

Check out the following for an example of how this might translate to “rooms:”

there also Mozilla Hubs
you can import and place images, ie place them in walls