Mission Statement

Our Mission is to promote art and art education in the community and among its members. To encourage and promote a public interest and understanding of art; to create and develop a closer relationship between art and the community and further the education and artistic development of its members.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Packing Artwork

Packing Paintings

For 10 years The Renaissance Art Gallery has been hosting shows of one sort or another. Our 11th Miniature Exhibition is coming up in November. During October, we will be accepting shipped work for this National Exhibition. Over the years we have seen many a box of art!

Since this is an open entry show, and we ask artists to pack it up and ship it out, we get both experienced artists and those new to showing their work. So we get questions! How do I ship my work and make sure it gets there safely?

These are some of the more successful shipping packages.

First, consult the experts. This means going to the company or service you plan to use and make sure they can make the delivery and ask for suggestions on packaging.

Many people double box their work. This means they supply an inner box with the return label and shipping already on it. This works. But it also works to make sure the shipping box/crate is strong enough to make the round trip. There are many ways to do this, and here are two suggestions.

One is to make a shallow tray for the artwork, then put the artwork in a bubble wrap envelop. The art is then placed in the box, with paperwork, and a top piece of soft foam is placed on top of it.

When you are shipping to a show, you will be expected to ship work fully mounted and ready to hang, and this would include glazing. Please avoid shipping even framed work under glass. Glass is fragile and can break, even if the package is not dropped. Sever temperate swings can cause cracking. So there is always a danger when shipping work under glass of it breaking. Not only is it dangerous to the person unpacking the artwork, it can also damage the artwork itself. Nothing would be more disheartening to have your artwork unavailable for the show because a piece of glass punctured it. Instead, when mounting work that needs to be protected by glazing opt for acrylic glazing. It is not only safer; it weights less and so will save you money in the shipping. Most of the good professional framers offer an affordable range of acrylic glazing for this. Many prospectuses now specify acrylic glazing for all submitted artwork instead of glass.

Of course, acrylic glazing is more prone to glare when photographed, but that is the show’s problem, not yours. In any case, you probably have previously submitted a slide or digital file for juroring, which would cover any problem.

For open entry shows, such as our Miniature Exhibition, we do ask for the artwork to be shipped instead of files, but again, photographing the work is our problem not yours, but if you wanted to send a digital file along, well I would not object!

Back to Packing

Paintings that do not require glazing, such as acrylic and oil paintings can also be safely shipped. We suggest that you always use protective cardboard corners for this, similar to those you see on ready-made frames. These are simple to make, using one of these corners for a template. They can be made from any cardboard, even cereal boxes, although I prefer a thicker cardboard than tag board. I like to make mine from the flaps of boxes. While they are bendable enough, they offer real protection to the corners of canvases and frames. You just have to remember to make them wide enough for the canvas and frame, if any.

Shipping framed work is a little simpler than shipping unmounted canvas panels. The frame itself offers some protection. The corners should be protected with cardboard corners. These can be recycled from frame purchases, or home made. But sturdy cardboard corners are a must. They also provide a platform from which to protect the rest of the artwork. You can tape pieces of cardboard to cover both the front and the back to these corners, not touching the actual artwork, creating an air pocket around it. Then en envelope of bubble wrap will protect the artwork when it is slipped into the shipping crate. Use several layers of bubble wrap instead of packing peanuts when shipping to a show. Most shows have outlawed packing peanuts anyway, as they create a mess, are actually hard to keep track of, and make return shipping difficult. So no packing peanuts to exhibitions.

When shipping more than one painting/artwork, you will want to put them all in the same box. Try getting panels of protective foam board for this. How thick will depend on the size of the artwork, but for most pieces, between 1 and 2 inches will be enough. Check with your shipper for this.

We see a lot of boxes at The Renaissance Art Gallery. The best one was last year. This box had a lot of thought put into it and was very well designed. It offered great protection for the artwork, was easy to use and made the return shipping easy. The box was lined with foam sheeting. This foam comes in sheets, and the kind used was similar to the oasis used in floral arrangements. It is easy to cut to size and shape. A piece was cut to the size of the bottom. Then sides were cut, with notches to hold dividing panels for each piece of art. These panels slide securely into the sides. Then the artwork was tucked into bubble wrap envelops, and slipped into slots. Paperwork also fit into a lot, then a top piece slipped securely on top. Box could be closed and everything was secure.

Before you seal that box, make sure all the needed paper work is there. Entry fees, entry registration, return label, etc. Also include a packing list, listing what art is in the box, etc. Yes your artwork is labeled, but a second list helps. Also, double check, no triple check the shipping address. Do not assume it is the same as the organization sponsoring the show, it often is not. All shows go to great lengths to make sure the shipping location is a secure location and that someone will be available to receive it. So read the prospectus and make sure you have the right address.

Mark your Calendar

Ship early enough to make sure the work will arrive is there is some delay. Nothing is more disheartening than to receive work the day after judging, and this has happened. Allow a reasonable amount of time for any unsold work to be returned after the show ends before calling to check up on it. Keep a duplicate of any paperwork and the packing list just in case and include the show dates so you will know when to expect it.


Insurance is typically the reasonability of the artist both coming and going. This should be included in the shipping costs, and noted on the return label.


If you wish conformation that your work has arrived safely, be sure to include a self-addressed postcard to this effect in with the paperwork. Note this on your packing list, so whomever unpacks the box will be aware that there is a post card included and that you expect it to be sent to you.

Then relax. If the venue or group has a website or is on a social network check for updates and other postings. Chances are they will have posts about the show, photos of receptions, links to publicity, etc.

Keep in touch!

Hopefully this will help you in preparing for entering the 11th Annual National Miniature Exhibtion this fall. If you are shipping it, please make sure you do so by the 12th to make sure we get it on time. Please tell all your friends about the Miniature show and how important it is to enter .

PROS : All work will hang ; this is an international show; people come looking for affordable minis to give for gifts ;you can use your participation on your resume' (being included in an important international exhibit); i'ts a lot of fun and you do not want to miss any of the fun !! Thanks , and start painting !

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