After all the hard work that has gone into the commission it is important to have an event to mark its completion. The launch event will enable you to celebrate and share the successful outcome, gain some feedback on the project, publicise and show the work to a wider audience and publicly thank all those involved. In some cases it may also be the point at which the work can be officially ‘handed over’ to the community or organisation in which it is sited.
Think carefully about who you might want to invite. As well as those involved in the project, members of the press and other media, it might be appropriate to invite influential individuals who may be in a position to advocate working with artists in the public realm or potential partners for future projects. It is a good idea to ensure you have some ‘ambassadors’ for the project. This doesn’t have to be a formal process but if you can, identify a number of people who have been involved who are willing and able to tell the story and actively promote the project to people attending the launch.
People will want to know the story of the work. The documentation of the project can be very useful here. Show the process, through a video, slide show, (digital or conventional) small exhibition of progress photographs, or audio interviews with participants. This can help to demystify and help people to realise that being an artist is a profession like any other.
The run up to the launch is the time to create a press release if you haven’t already and make sure you have suitable images of the work available for journalists. These could be images of the artists at work or participants involved in the project. For newspapers action shots including people often have more impact that static shots of the work. You might want to produce a postcard image of the finished work for people to take away.
The launch offers an excellent opportunity to talk about the benefits of working with artists, advocating for the particular project but also to create a climate in which to inspire other potential partners to get involved. It can also provide a useful networking opportunity to develop your next commission!