IDEAS TO MAKE HANGING A SCHOOL ART SHOW EASIER

Ideas

It‘s art fair season for art teachers. Time to hang hundreds of pieces of art made by the children we teach. It‘s the culmination of an entire year’s work. The prep is tedious and detail oriented but the result is glorious! It’s exciting to see everything displayed and observe the student’s, staff and family’s reactions. 

Last year was the first school wide art fair I hung. For weeks ahead of time I prepped by mounting all the artwork on paper banners. The night before the art fair I hung 50 banners. It wasn’t a fun night: my husband and son had to come and help me and I was cranky. On the positive side, the beautiful artwork lining the halls surprised everyone. The school secretary told me it was like Christmas morning when she arrived. So, you could say I was a grumpy Santa on Christmas Eve.

This year, I hung the banners gradually over two weeks which so much less stressful. I’ve discovered three products that are making my second time around the block better. The first is Outus ceiling hook clips for suspended ceilings. Last year, I hung the banners using paperclips—I know, what was I thinking!? Every time I came to school, I’d rehang a banner that hadn’t made it through the night.

I searched high and low for a hook that would stay put. Most of the hooks I found were too expensive, after all, I have to hang 400 pieces of art. That’s a lot of banners and hooks! I finally found one that costs less than $.10 each. It’s a vast improvement over the paperclips. Not a single banner has fallen!

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I still use paperclips; I insert them through the holes at the top of the banner, then I tie fishing line to them.The other end of the fishing line is tied to the Outus hooks.

Another item on my list was a tape that sticks to ANY surface. A couple months ago, I hung a semi-permanent display of painted and collaged buildings that the art club made. I hung them in the cafeteria on a bumpy plaster surface. Within a few days, they fell like leaves in the autumn. That’s when I ramped my search. I finally found the perfect tape. It’s called XFasten. It’s a clear, double-sided acrylic tape that can be used indoors and outdoors. To test the tape, I attached a piece of paper to a rough patch on the ceiling of my art room. Two months later it’s still there!

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This year I made some banners out of chipboard covered in construction paper. They are heavier and bow out from the wall after I have hung them. A couple pieces of XFasten takes care of it!

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Last year, I used blue sticky tack and another adhesive to hang the artwork on the banners, both of which were fails. This year I purchased a 6 pack of Scotch permanent double-sided tape dispensers. The 6 pack has gotten me through the entire year and has been enough to hang 400 pieces of art.

I’m not gonna lie, it’s still a lot of work to hang the art fair, but at least I can sleep well at night knowing that the artwork isn’t falling on the floor.

What about you? Tell us about your successes and fails during art fair season. Want more ideas for the art room? Join our email list to receive our weekly blog.

Pop Up Art School is a mobile art school that teaches art & STEAM workshops in public libraries and afterschool enrichment classes. Join our Facebook group Freelance Art Teachers in Librariesand learn how you can make extra cash teaching what you love!

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