How to: Run an Art Event at Your University

by Cass Art Student Ambassador

As an Illustration student in a small(ish) town I've been occasionally frustrated by the lack of fun, art-related activities in my local area. After learning that a number of my classmates also shared my frustration we began to discuss ways to fill this void, and decided to work together to organise our own arty event. After a fair amount of planning, stress and fun we hosted a Drink and Draw evening at our university's Student's Union, which was a huge hit with our fellow students. 

If you're interested in having a go at planning your own on-campus event take a look at my five handy steps to follow, which will hopefully give you some pointers and help you to make your event a success...


Step One: A Creative Idea

The first thing you'll need to do is think of an idea for your art event- It could be as simple as a group drawing night, or as ambitious as a collaborative sculpture challenge. Remember that all ideas have the potential to be great ideas, and make sure that you take notes to stop you from forgetting any potentially valuable brainwaves. If you're struggling to think of an event idea or want some feedback, ask your fellow students for their opinions and input- they are your target audience after all!

Step Two: Share Your Idea

Once you have the core idea for your event in place, the next step is to share this concept with other students. Planning an event alone can easily become overwhelming, especially if you're juggling this workload with coursework and lectures, and by spreading the word you can get other people on board to help out. Start by setting up a meeting to discuss ideas and delegate responsibilities between members of the group. The more students involved, the wider the variety of expertise you'll have at your disposal, but keep in mind the importance of communication within the group and consider how the number of people involved may restrict this within your team- sometimes too many cooks really can spoil the broth!

Step Three: Put Your Idea Into Action

Now you have a team pulled together it's time to work on turning your idea into a reality. Here are a few things you'll need to think about:

  1. Time and Date: Remember that you'll need plenty of time to plan, organise and promote in the lead-up to your event, so don't set yourself an unrealistic deadline date. I recommend working at least one month into the future, to ensure that everything gets done to the highest standard- the last thing you want is to rush your plans and compromise your ideas. Ask fellow students about the best days and times for an event to take place, and try to plan around scheduled lectures and seminars to ensure the maximum number of attendees. 
  2. Location: Take advantage of the free venues available at your university, and chat with college officials about the availability of spaces such as the SU bar, library, lecture halls and art studios. When picking a location, think about how many people it will accommodate, and consider whether the available space will work for your activity- look at designated art spaces for messy events, and approach university bars for events requiring loud music. Be clear and honest with staff members about what you plan to do, and note down contact details for any questions you might want to ask them later.
  3. Materials: Don’t limit your ideas because you cant afford to buy the right materials- more often than not there is a cost-effective way to achieve what you want to achieve. You can try crowd-sourcing, by asking event attendees to supply their own pens and pencils, or by setting up a donations box in your university studios. If you are looking for specific products you can consider ticketing your event, and using the money raised in sales to purchase the necessary products. If you're feeling brave you can also attempt to gain sponsorship from your university or an exterior company to fund or donate the materials you need- you'll just need to think-up a juicy sales pitch to convince them that your event is worth supporting!


Step Four: Promotion

Promotion is key to organising any event, and you can be certain that if you don't get the word out to people they just won't show up! Social media is a fantastic way of promoting for free, so set up a Facebook page/Instagram/Twitter to keep everyone updated on your plans and progress. You don't need experience with design to draw out some bright and fun posters- just be sure to include the time, date and location of the event before you print and plaster them up around your university.


STEP 5: Enjoy your event

The final and most important step is to relax and enjoy your event- be proud of all the hard work you have put in and create some art!


Feeling Inspired?

Find more of Emily's work on her blog and Facebook page.

Shop for art materials online at Cass Art.

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