All of my advice is dependant on the galleries own policies. You need to talk to the facility co-ordinator and get your hands on a copy of their rules and regulations for that specific gallery. All of my advice is based off how things ran in the gallery I worked at so take it with a grain of salt.
Most galleries will not allow food in the same room as the art, nor wine. This if for insurance issues... you can just imagine some drunken sod tripping over and splashing red wine all over a priceless picasso! There are execptions obviously, if the gallery has insurance that covers food/wine damage and or the owner of the art work allowes food/wine near their art. You need, need NEED this in writing to cover your own ass! I would ask for attendance numbers, they should keep records of the average number of patrons who attend and opening.
I would have wine set up at one station and food at another, if the gallery does not allow food near the art make sure you have a drop station for glasses/plates and ample (but discrete) trashcans. Our gallery opening fare is usually a cheese plate and "toothpick food" so im guessing thats what you mean by snack on a stick. The main thing to remember is it cant be greasy or crumbly. Most people dress up (depending on the town) and they dont want anything staining their clothes or god forbid dropping on the floor! From memory the last opening had spicy meatballs, sliced fruit, cheese platter and a couple of hot chafing dishes full of spring rolls etc. The city I live in is very western and the gallery director is... how shall I say... a tacky loud mouth with no taste....
I think 4-5 pieces per person sounds like a good number, depending on how long the event is (our openings ran 5-6 hours) but we were a state funded gallery and our events were well attended. Make sure you allocate some food portions for the staff (people who work in the arts are lowly paid and usually hungry!) they wont eat much but will LOVE YOU and go the extra mile for you if you let them know they are welcome to enjoy some snacks to.
The reason I would keep the food to one or two stations is to keep the lines down and to help "control" the area where people are, again if people are allowed to take food in this wont matter as much. We had a containment area sectioned off by staff (human corral) where people were free to eat, it was large and spacious but still "contained". Remember for the Art Gallery people, ART IS THE FIRST CONCERN ALWAYS.
Another thing to remember is you might be given a short time to set up and all items had to be removed at the end of the night so make sure you have helpers for that (the gallery attendants can usually help a little but they have other duties so dont count souly on them) even if its a buffet you will need someone (you or you and a helper) keeping an eye on things. We also had a sign on the drop table by the gallery door about not taking food or drink into the gallery space (the gallery staff also provided a person stationed at the door to double check and the gallery attendants watched on our security cameras). Oh and check if YOU need to provide the liquior licence or if the gallery does, that nearly ended in catasrphoe for one of our events!
I hope that answers your questions, feel free to PM me if you want more information.
I wasnt put on this earth to make you feel like a man ~ Mary Bertone
Last edited by Kiwi; 05-24-2007 at 07:40 AM.