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Budgeting an Exhibition

Planning is the key, regardless of the size of the exhibit. You will save time and money if you formulate a plan and a preliminary budget before beginning work on an exhibition. The following guidelines and the Exhibition Budget Worksheet on the reverse are offered to assist exhibit organizers in budgeting exhibit expenses. In order to project expenses, you will need to prepare information that will be used in organizing exhibit production and possible for fund-raising purposes as well. This includes: The following suggestions will help you in completing the Exhibition Budget Worksheet: Date: Be sure to date the preliminary budget and all subsequent revisions, particularly if the exhibit will have a long life. Total Value: Current? Will it fluctuate? Consultants: Plan efficient use of staff vs. consultants (curators, editors, graphic designers, photographers). etc. Specify number of frames, pedestals, display cases, text panels, labels. If the exhibit will travel, estimate number and type of crates. This is a good time to compile names of supply sourcesfar enough in advance so that you can get the necessary supplies in time. Contact vendors for cost estimates: tell them what you need and when you will need it, and ask if they foresee any problems or cost increases. Printing/publication: Catalogues, posters, brochures, educators kits, invitations. Request cost estimates from designers, typesetters, and printers. Advertising/promotion: Photographs, transparencies, press packets, mailings; production of PSA; advertising in newspapers, TV, and radio; expenses for receptions or other special events. Travel: Budget for transportation, meals, and lodging as needed for curators, designers, registrars, couriers, consultants. Overhead: Percentage of staff salaries and fringe benefits, based on time devoted to the project. Other: May include adjunct programming, extra security guards, telephone, photocopying. Contact The Exhibition Alliance for assistance in budgeting items such as exhibit furniture, crates, and Exhibition Alliance Art Transport. Review the budget regularly throughout the exhibit production phase. Calculate cost overruns and savings to determine where you can adjust or revise your budget. 1998 The Exhibition Alliance

Statement of Objectives

State what the exhibit must do. This will affect every major decision regarding the exhibit, including the budget, fund-raising goals, design approach, type of installation, size, and whether or not the exhibit will travel. The preliminary checklist should include information which will affect the budget: size, condition, sources, and insurance values. Must works be re-framed? Is conservation required? Will there be expenses for insurance, crating, and shipping of borrowed works?
Photo: Chris Maynard

Description of Exhibit Content

Preliminary Timetable

Chart a realistic timetable. The timetable affects the budget: Do you need to budget for overtime expenses? Extra fees to rush work through a photo house, fabrication shop, or typesetter?

Pre- and post-exhibit transit: Gathering and return of loaned items. Find out if lenders require specialized shipping or crating of their works. Get estimates for air freight and/or fine are shipping. Conservation: What procedures are required before works may be exhibited safely? Also budget for maintenance of exhibit equipment especially audiovisual equipment. Insurance: For borrowed items, what is the value of each work and the duration of the loan? How will works be insured during shipment and display? Exhibit supplies: Specify as many design considerations as possible (but dont try to provide solutions unless you are also the designer). Base the supplies budget on the anticipated form of the exhibit freestanding, wall hung, permanent, traveling,

Preliminary Budget

The Exhibition Budget Worksheet on the reverse of this page in intended to serve as a guide. It raises questions about the exhibit that should be answered from the outset. To prepare a preliminary budget, you should request estimates and cost breakdowns from outside contractors, printers, and consultants. Get bids from several sources in order to project costs accurately for major items. Ask for information on billing procedures as well.

The Exhibition Alliance Box 345 Hamilton, NY 13346-0345

Phone: 315-824-2510

Exhibition Budget Worksheet

Date________________________________ Exhibit Title________________________________________________________________________________ Number of pieces / medium ___________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________Total value: $___________________
curator editor graphic designer exhibit designer photographer other

$____________ $____________ $____________ $____________

Pre- and post-exhibit transit: Conservation:

art conservation equipment maintenance

in transit on premises

Exhibit Supplies:
mats/frames display cases text panels labels freestanding walls photo reproductions crates other catalogue poster brochure educ. kit invitation


Printing / publication:


Advertising / promotion:
photos press packets mailings newspaper ads TV, radio ads PSAs receptions



transportation meals lodging

$____________ $____________ $____________ $____________


Reference materials: Overhead: Other: INCOME: $____________

(grants, admissions, rental fees)