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What Makes A Solo Show Successful? Jacki Sowers at Bella Arte

On 25, May 2010 | 5 Comments | In Uncategorized | By man-admin

The Exhibition Season is in full swing and we are going to continue our series on them with a look today at one we consider “Exhibit A” for what a successful show could look like.
Let’s start off by considering the opening reception invitation for Jacki Sowers’ one-woman show at the Bella Arte Gallery in Midlothian, Virginia this past April.
We like this for its strong visual impact, solid representation of the artist’s catalog, title that is spot on for the work being shown and sophisticated layout. Our first impression:

Here is an artist who has a strong body of work to show. It explores the many colors of white found in natural materials, can be feminine, is highly textural and beautifully made. This artist is being represented professionally by a gallery that is solidly behind her work.

So, in Marketing 101 parlance, let’s say that this invitation has promised a lot to me as a potential gallery-goer-art-buyer. Now, let’s look at photos from the reception and see if the reality lived up to those promises.
We’d say those promises were kept and our expectations exceeded. This is the artist, Ms. Sowers, welcoming people to her reception.
Take a closer look at the presentation of the art behind Ms. Sowers above. The gallery had thoughtfully arranged the work on several levels and planes so there is interest for the eye even though it is a totally monochromatic experience.
The lighting was as thoughtful as the hanging arrangement. Again, the gallery was working with white on white, a difficult proposition. In the photos above and below, you can see how the lighting was directed to take advantage of the strong textural components of Sowers works. To us, it is a clear indication that the gallery owner appreciates mosaics for all the right reasons.
Ablution Detail
Our favorite photos from the reception are those that capture the artist as herself, passionately talking about her work during the evening.
NOTE TO ARTISTS: Hire a professional photographer for both your work and any public event showcasing your work. Photos like these are enormously appealing to the media AND potential buyers. “Eye candy” gets placement. Honestly, if we hadn’t seen these photos, we would not have run this story. If you can’t afford a professional, negotiate one with your gallery owner in setting up your show. The photographer who took these great shots was Hunter Henkel of Richmond, VA.
In a few days, we are going to run a piece by Marian Shapiro entitled, “Top 5 Tips for a Successful Solo Show.” In it, Shapiro writes that a strong, collaborative relationship with the gallery owner is absolutely essential. Was that the case here?
Gallery Owner Rena Klump and Artist Jacki Sowers
This photo definitely speaks a thousand words, but we’ll let the gallery owner speak for herself:

“Our artists are the heart and soul of our gallery and Jacki is so dedicated to her craft and supportive of others that she’s a pleasure to work with. I do believe we are a good fit together. I believe in her artistic vision and try to convey that to my clients.

Jacki’s show was a huge success. People are familiar with the traditional mosaics but were blown away with Jacki’s interpretation in the monochromatic style. Some of my clients bought because they said her pieces were very ‘spa like’ and relaxing. Others found them to be romantic and beautiful. People are relating to the ‘journey’ in the pieces and it’s fabulous!”

Our thanks to Jacki Sowers, Rena Klump and Ms. Klump’s daughter Catrina for helping make this post possible. While Jacki’s exhibit closed April 30, you can see more photos of her work on the gallery’s website at:

Additional photos of Sowers’ work can be seen on her page on the Contemporary Mosaic Art Ning site: You must be a member to view them.
Enjoy — Nancie

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  1. Jacki

    Thank you all so much for your very kind comments! Rena ( Bella Arte's owner) is a class act in every way, and I feel so honored that she asked to showcase my work. I will always be grateful to her for that!

  2. Pam Goode

    I completely agree — this was a stellar exhibition in every way 🙂

  3. Irit

    What a great show. A successful exhibition depends indeed on the quality of the works and their arrangement, and here both are first class.

  4. Nancie Mills Pipgras

    So glad you enjoyed this, Maureen. When you get to the Gallery, Tell Rena Nancie Pipgras sent you!

  5. Maureen

    Great post, and applicable to any show.

    Bella Arte is a couple of hours from where I live, so next time I head to Richmond, I will stop there.

    I love Sowers' work. Fabulous!