Event Debrief: Full Bleed Art Opening

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What: Full Bleed Poetry Comics Show

When: Thursday, Nov 6, and Friday, Nov 7, 2014

Where: Main Gallery at Indy Hall

Hosted By: Hila Ratzabi

Expected Guests (Actual): 30-50 (probably more!)

Summary: This event was planned to celebrate the opening of the Full Bleed Poetry Comics Show. Our goal was to raise awareness for the Red Sofa Salon, showcase art, sell some books, and celebrate with friends. Day 1 was a more low-key event, a poetry reading by the poets in the show. Day 2 was a party with DJ Easy Reader, free cupcakes from Whipped Bakeshop, whiskey cider drinks (and non-alc option), wine, etc.

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Day 1 Timeline:

7:00- Mingling

7:20- Readings start

8:30- Readings conclude

9:00- End of event + cleanup

Day 2 Timeline:

5-9 pm- Just hanging out, selling books!

Set Up:

  • Day 1 had chairs, Day 2 empty space
  • We set up two tables both days for book sales.
  • We used a cocktail table from upstairs as a bar.

Food and Drink:

  • Whipped Bakeshop provided cupcakes
  • Hila made whiskey cider drink in pitcher from home
  • BOTA boxes of wine (probably 4 total?)

Volunteers:

  • Sales table- 1 person
  • Bar- 1 person
  • Set-up and Clean-up- whoever was around and offered to help

Promotion:

  • Twitter- we promoted the event on our personal accounts as well as on the Red Sofa Salon and Indy Hall Arts accounts.
  • Facebook events for both events
  • On Red Sofa website
  • Posted on local literary listservs (I have a list of these)
  • Posters- We just had a digital poster made by one of the artists (chose not to print to save money)
  • Press Release- Sent out to a long list of contacts provided by Sonia Petruse (Neil Bardhan also has another list)
  • Geekadelphia blog post
  • Philly Mag listed us in “10 Things to Do this Week”
  • Sam gave a really good intro to the event on her weekly announcement video

Good Things:

  • Great turnout for both events!
  • People seemed to really enjoy the poetry reading and the art
  • People bought book and art (more art is being sold online after the event)
  • Annie Mok used the outdoor board to draw attention to the show- using the board should be a regular feature of all events
  • Cheryl Donahue and James Tyack have been regular volunteers at Red Sofa readings- their continued commitment to showing up is so helpful
  • CJ Dawson took photos during the event Friday Night

Things We Would Change:

  • Should have put labels next to the artwork with artist name and title of piece
  • I should have put the art price lists up front in a more visible place (they were on the book sales table)
  • We didn’t have enough wine at first for the whole night, but Jose was quick to notice this and went out and bought more during the event (however, we can’t just offer endless amounts of free wine- people get greedy- I said it’s time to cut it off at some point)
  • Could have sold more books, but that’s often the case at readings
  • A few poets were late Thursday night- doesn’t happen often, and can’t always be prevented. But next time I’ll make a point of insisting poets arrive early.
  • I’m still having trouble getting a decent number of people to join the Red Sofa workshops, and haven’t yet figured out why. But people are showing up to readings. This leads me to wonder if leading one-off workshops at IH would be more effective, and might get people to try a workshop without committing to a full series.

Money Things:

  • Both events were free, so I had to put my own money in for booze (and a few small art supplies)- we had a tip jar Friday night for booze, which ended up covering half the amount of money I had put in- I need to figure out a more financially sustainable way to do this. A regular alcohol sponsor would be perfect (we already have a regular cupcake sponsor, why not?)
    • But note- for the past couple Red Sofa events I did charge an entry fee with $7 tix online via Event Brite and $10 at the door. At the last event, our first anniversary on Oct 10, 2014, I not only made back my booze money, but had money leftover to divvy out to the poets! That was awesome. Lesson: “charging for tix is good.”
  • I had decided to sell artwork from the show online. Since IH gets 30% of art sales in person, I thought it’d be fair to split the online sales 20% IH, 10% me, because I pay for the online store, and will be responsible for managing the sales and shipping stuff (and I don’t know how labor-intensive and expensive shipping art will be). I’ve never done this before, and I wanted to make sure I don’t lose even more money in the process. I think the 10% is a good idea.
  • Something to think about… So far I have given 100% of books sales directly to the poets (who bring their books to sell). Do we want to take a percentage in the future? It’s typical for bookstores that host readings to take at least 30%. But as a poet, I hate getting that 30% taken, since I have to buy my own books from the publisher (at author discount), so I end up making a couple of dollars, maybe, per book. It kind of sucks. However, to mitigate that I’ve imagined creating a “sponsor-a-poet” program. Then if we took a percentage of book sales it would be less of a burden on the poets. Or, we could include the “sponsor-a-poet” option as an add-on in the ticket sales online.

Conclusion:

People kept saying to me, “You should do more of these events!!!” all night on Friday. And I would just smile and be thinking, “Are you fucking kidding me? It’s a lot of work!”- Conclusion: Four events a year are plenty! If I did more I’d be crazy, I think.4