This is the official quick start guide to organizing your own Fun-A-Day show, brought to you by the Artclash Collective!
What is Fun-A-Day?
The premise is simple: pick a project, do it every day in January, then show your work the following month in a big group show.
Started in 2004 by a group of friends in Philadelphia, Fun-A-Day began as a way to stay creative and motivate each other to make things through the winter. Now in its seventh year, Fun-A-Day has grown from its Philadelphia roots–in 2010 there were 10 Fun-A-Day shows, organized by different art collectives and groups of friends across the country.
If there’s not a Fun-A-Day show in your community, consider organizing one. It’s fun, easy and you’ll probably meet new friends!
Starting Your Own Show
Here are a few easy steps to help you start your own show. You may need to add, ignore or reorder steps depending on your unique situation. Do what you feel works best for your group.
1. Fun-A-Day shows should follow a few simple rules, please make sure you find these agreeable before we go on. Shows are always:
a. Free to participate in and to attend
b. All ages (which doesn’t mean the work need be G-rated, but there are no age restrictions for who can participate or attend. Use your best judgement in the case of how to display work that seems extremely graphic–see below)
c. Unjuried: everyone who submits a project gets in. It is up to the organizers to decide what to do with blatantly offensive work that they may feel uncomfortable showing. In seven years, we have shown all work that we have received (this number is in the 10,000s!), so this has not been a major problem. But feel free to ask us advice in tricky situations–we’ve seen a lot of projects and dealt with a lot of situations, so we might have some advice. Most shows welcome unfinished projects (some people will quit half way through the month and others only get around to having fun every other day), while others encourage unfinished ones.
d. Non-commercial (no one makes money, no sponsorships, no corporate logos, etc. We generally allow artists to sell their work, but that's all negotiated between the artists and the venue/patrons). We will often have a donation jar to recoup show costs, but any surplus money has always been donated to community groups.
2. Get some friends to help you! Fun-A-Day is about community and collaborative art making. Having friends help you with the show will make things easier, more fun, and you will all motivate each other to get things done.
3. Tell us you’re organizing a show (see our contact page). OK, you don’t really have to tell us, but if you do, we’ll publicize your show on our website, send out an announcement to everyone on our email list and give you access to a bunch of useful materials that we’ve spent a lot of time developing. You’ll be able to download flyers, posters, submission guides, press releases, disclaimers and other files ready to modify, print and distribute in your community. Our graphic designer has even been known to make amazing custom, hand drawn posters for shows that request it!
4. Publicize! Tell everyone you know about the show, put up flyers, and post things on the internets. Fun-A-Day usually spreads quickly by word-of-mouth and before you know it, you’ll have a bunch of people around you dedicated to making stuff in January and motivating each other to keep going.
5. Find a venue. The first Fun-A-Day show was held in a house and it turned out quite nice. You might also reach out to venues, community centers, galleries and other spaces that might be interested. Point them to our website to show them that Fun-A-Day has a long history of putting on fun shows that bring out a lot of people. You might find people interested in hosting your show even if you’ve never organized an art show before! Most Fun-A-Day shows have been one-day events, with work coming down the following day or even the night of (which makes for a long night!) We have also had shows stay up for a few weeks or a month. It just depends on the venue: both the short and longer shows have worked out just fine.
6. Send out a press release a few weeks before the show and put up some show announcements. You can chop up and rework one of our sample press releases to fit your needs. Send it to newspapers, weeklies, blogs, and anyone else who writes about art in your area. And remember, if you have 30 people presenting projects and they all bring 2 friends to the show, you already have a crowd of nearly 100!
7. Make a deadline for project submissions and pretend you’re serious about sticking to it. We usually set the date about a week or two before the show opens. Make sure everyone who submits a project fills out a disclaimer to limit your liability in case of damage to or loss of artwork. You can use our disclaimer which our lawyer told us is probably legal binding.
8. Get some friends together to help you hang the show. You probably will find that some of the people who submitted projects will volunteer to come help you. We usually hang the whole thing in a day or two using a lot of binder clips, tacks, nails and tables to display work. We also print out small nametags in advance and bring some blank ones for the super late projects which always seem to materialize.
9. Have fun and make art with friends and future friends!