The life of a curator isn’t an easy one. While you’re surrounded by beautiful things, there’s last minute stresses, lots of planning and even more coffee. We got Courthouse Youth Arts curator Amber Smith to share what her day looks like setting up for an exhibition launch.

12pm: *first coffee!!* BIG day ahead!

1pm: Signific come to install the vinyl cut decals. I instruct them of placement and they always do an amazing job!
We receive our A5 exhibition flyers in the mail with exceptional timing! These are placed in the gallery on a plinth.

2pm: Images receive their final straightening/scrutinising/OCD treatment. Opening night nibbles table is carried into the gallery space, complete with fresh black oh-so-theatrical tablecloth.

3pm: Prayer flags are tweaked and tightened overhead, as well as projector systems jigged and set up for the incoming media. Silent auction preparations are carrying on in the background.

4pm: A final floor sweep, steam and clean so they look nice and shiny for the opening festivities. More silent auction prep… printing, cash floats, managing staff, etc.

5pm: Platter preparations commence. I always forget to get photos of these epic babies *sigh* Chopping, slicing, scooping, ramekin-filling, curating, beautifying food prep! Refreshments are also prepped and jazzed.

5:30pm: The projector dramas continue… always and forever. Our wonderful tech staff help us get this sorted before the people rush in the doors.

5:45pm: All food and drinks are out. Lights are set. Video art is running. Silent auction materials and rules are out for all to see and participate in. Cash and EFT are ready for people’s money. The A-Frame is out. The instagram story is updated, Big breaths are taken.

6pm: All systems go! We get our first patrons though the door. Prices are already being scribbled on the silent auction clipboards.

6.30pm: Even more people are rolling in. Food is evaporating… the room is getting hotter and louder!

7pm: We reach a peak of around 60-70 people which is phenomenal! People are starting to get excited for the silent auction results. Frantic scribbling and bidding is happening. A second round of water and some more biscuits are put out for the punters.

7:30pm: The silent auction ends and the results are read to the 70-odd strong crowd! Cheers and claps all round for the legend that is Leiko too. All pieces sell and the show is a resounding success.

8pm: The pack-up begins..

9pm: Fall in a joyful heap at the success that was another opening day!

Big thanks to Amber for giving us an insight into her day setting up for Leiko Manalang’s exhibition ‘Namaste’. You can still catch her work at CHYA until March 23.