Step-by-step: art exhibition

An art exhibition is a great way to showcase the talents of your school cohort and to encourage support for your PTA from new quarters

Finding artists

  • Contact artists at least six months in advance with a letter asking them to take part. Try local art and photography groups as well as national artists.
  • Get artists to complete a booking form outlining the pieces they intend to exhibit, plus a short biography. This information can be used to compile the catalogue.
  • Agree a charge per hanging space (ie £20 for 100cm by 240cm, £5 per freestanding piece). Charge commission on each piece sold, ie 20%.
  • Have a display of pupils’ work.

Insurance cover

  • Your PTA insurance probably won’t cover loss or accidental damage. If items are stored overnight the premises must be alarmed or someone must stay with the artwork at all times. Additional insurance cover can be sought at a premium – contact your insurance provider for guidance.

Setting up

  • School halls and classrooms have good natural light for displaying art. It’s also free and underlines that the purpose of the event is to raise money for the school!
  • Aim for a sub committee of six looking after specific areas. Over the weekend you will need at least 12 volunteers.
  • Erect display boards and label spaces with the artists’ details. Volunteer stewards will need to oversee the hanging of the artwork, checking that they match those listed in the catalogue.
  • You will need a sales desk with 4-5 people taking payments and recording sales in a spreadsheet to help work out the artist’s payments and the PTA’s commissions.

Preview evening

Have a preview evening and invite local press and politicians and people who have helped support the school. Make it an invitation-only event offering a free drink and canapés. You will need to ensure you obtain the correct licence. See our licensing guide.

Fundraising revenue

  • Charge an entry fee per adult, to include a catalogue.
  • Let buyers browse the exhibits, either taking items away with them or paying and collecting items later.
  • Secure sponsorship to cover as many costs as possible.
  • Run a raffle.
  • Check whether a licence is required – see our licensing guide.
  • Set up a café serving tea, coffee, lunches and cakes.
  • Consider having a ‘Market Place’, inviting local sellers of home-made wares to take a stall. Remember third party suppliers need their own insurance in place.


  • Send event details to local art galleries and art groups.
  • Ask the artists taking part to self-promote the event.
  • Put up posters in local shops and on village notice boards.
  • Place flyers in school bags and promote the event on the school/PTA notice board, newsletter etc.
  • Display roadside banners a few weeks before the event.
  • Talk to your local authority first, as there may be some restrictions.
  • Prepare a media release and issue this to all local papers and radio stations.
  • Think about advertising in your local paper.


  • Agree a time for artists to come and retrieve their unsold art. Have stewards on hand to help.
  • Ensure thank you letters and payments are sent to artists as soon as possible.


For more information

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.