Worcester City Hall Photography Show

Every quarter, the Worcester Cultural Coalition puts on a themed photography show at Worcester City Hall. While this show used to be restricted to members of the Seven Hills Camera Club, it is now open to the general public. Past themes have included Summertime, Street Photography, Music, and Gotta Laugh. Information about the 7HCC and about the theme of the upcoming show can be found here:

Seven Hills Camera Club on Meetup

Here are step by step instructions about how this show works. Note that all example images are copyright to their original owners. Click on any image to see a larger version.


What the Show Is About
The Worcester City Hall is located at 455 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts. There is an attached garage behind the city hall. The hallway from that garage to the elevators and stairs is where we showcase our images. The images are shown in both vertical and horizontal format. Each image is labeled with the artist’s name, the work title, and a price. Note that the price is JUST for the print and mat – the frame is supplied by the show and remains part of the exhibition.

Here are a few photos of how the show looks in that hallway. Note that every frame is 16″ wide by 20″ high (or vice versa) and MUST have a matted image which fits into that dimension. There is no other size frame available for the show. You can see how artists have matted various sizes of images to fit within that overall 16″ x 20″ frame.

So, again, to reiterate, your image can be square. It can be a standard rectangle. It can be a skinny panoramic rectangle. It can be circular! What matters is that you WHITE MAT it so the surrounding mat is 16″ x 20″ in size. And it’s good to make sure the print itself is a reasonable size. If you make a tiny 4″ x 6″ photo with an enormous white mat around it, that would be hard for people to see. The standard print size is about 10.5″ x 13.5″ in size.

Also, just to be crystal clear, when we say “mat” we mean a mat IN FRONT of the image. Something separating the image from the glass. You need something to physically prevent your photo from touching the glass so the photo doesn’t get stuck to the glass. The mat is on ‘front’ between the photo and the glass. That is separate from the foam backing, which is BEHIND the print and must be 16″ x 20″ in size.


Entering the Worcester City Hall Show
The theme of the upcoming show is posted a few months in advance on the 7HCC Meetup page. All submissions are done electronically. Instructions are provided on the Meetup page. Images must be properly labeled and sized for review. Sometime about a week after the deadline date, those chosen for inclusion in the show will be notified.


Preparing your Print
If you are chosen to participate in the show, it is your responsibility to print and mat your photo to the 16×20 final size. There must be a WHITE mat to keep your photo from pressing into the glass of the frame. You also need a 3/16″ deep foam board, 16″ x 20″ in size, to put behind the mat and photo to keep it snug within the frame.

You can print your photo yourself. You can have it printed by someone else. The print needs to fit within the frame and behind the mat. It should not have any watermark or other marks on it.

You can cut your mat yourself. You can buy a pre-cut one. It must be WHITE. You should be prepared when you come to the framing party with your matted photo and the foam backing board.


Matting Your Own Photo
Most of us mat our own photos. Here is how you mat your photo.

Start by laying your photo down onto a flat surface. Put pieces of scotch tape on the top BACK of your photo, facing up.

Here’s a closer view, as I know this can be confusing. You want the sticky side of the tape UP because it is going to stick to the back side of the mat you’re about to lay on top of it.

Now carefully lay the white mat down so that it showcases the part of the print you wish to have seen. Make sure there are no white edges at the sides of your photo. If you’re planning to reuse this mat in the future it’s a good idea to have packing tape on the BACK top of the mat – where that scotch tape is going to connect to the mat. That will make removing the scotch tape in the future much easier. When you are satisfied with where the mat lies over your photo, press down hard on the area with the scotch tape.

Now carefully turn the mat-plus-photo upside down. See how the scotch tape is connected to the packing tape area?

Now add more tape to ensure the photo stays in place against the mat. Note you ONLY want to tape the top side. This allows the photo to hang flat. If you tape any other sides you risk the photo torquing over time.

Your photo is now properly connected to the mat. You will need this photo-plus-mat, along with the foam board backing, at the framing party.

The Framing Party
Please read ALL of these instructions for bringing your physical photographic print to the framing party. It will save a lot of confusion.

When you arrive at the framing party, you MUST have these things:

* a photographic image matted to 16×20. This mat must be WHITE and it must be FLAT. The frames do not allow for multi-tiered layered mats. There must be a white mat to keep your photographic print from pressing into the glass of the frame. The outside dimensions of that mat must be 16×20. Your photo itself can be any size you wish, as long as it-plus-the-white-mat stretch to the 16 x 20. It can be either horizontal or vertical.

* a foam backing which is the full 16 x 20 in size.

It would be good if you also brought the following things:

* A flat-head screwdriver for assembling the frame
* Windex plus paper towels to clean the inside of the frame
* Packing tape and scotch tape, just in case something comes loose with your mat
* Patience. Framing rarely goes smoothly :). It’s part of the fun of the world of art.

Here’s how things are framed.

We provide you with the 16×20 metal frame plus glass. The first step is to detach ONE SIDE of that frame with the flat-head screwdriver. You don’t have to take the entire frame apart. Just removing one side will allow you to slide your photo-mat-plus-foam into the slot. There is one screw on each side holding that side on. Don’t even remove the two screws entirely from the side. Just loosen them enough so the side detaches.

Clean the inside glass with the Windex. Once the frame is sealed up, there’s no way back in there.

Now you can slide your photo-mat-plus-foam into the channel. You can see why it’s critical that your photo-plus-mat be the proper 16×20 in size. This is what is going to show within the frame. The 16×20 foam backing is necessary to hold it in place. There is no other “back” to the image.

Once the photo-mat-and-foam is in place, slide the frame edge back into place and re-seal the two screws with the flat-head screwdriver.

We used to Windex the front of the glass at this point, but the glass is going to be handled a fair amount as it’s stacked and loaded and unloaded and hung. So don’t bother with that. We’ll wipe down the glass as the last step once the art is hung in the hallway.

Label your artwork on the back with its full title and your name. That way we are absolutely sure which art goes with which label.

Do make sure you put four cardboard corners on the four corners of the frame. This helps prevent damage both to the frame and to the humans handling them. We supply those corners.

Now stack your finished framed artwork where indicated. These then get put into car(s) and brought the next day to the Worcester City Hall for hanging.

Make sure before you leave the framing party that you sign the sheet confirming you dropped off your print and the title and price for it. Remember, again, that the price is just for your print plus mat. The frame stays with the show.

Take-Down and Hanging
Both the take-down of the previous show and the hanging of the new show are time intensive processes. If you are available at either time please let Priscilla know that you can lend a hand. Take-down tends to be quick and easy – you’re just unscrewing things from the wall and stacking them. Hanging tends to be fairly slow – there is the process of deciding what goes with what and where it best lays out in the sequence. Because some of the hallway area is at an angle, the hanging brackets often need to be moved around to account for that. Depending on your temperament you might be better suited for just the take-down or just the hanging.

Once the hanging is complete, the show is live. This is a public hallway in the basement of Worcester City Hall which connects the garage and elevators. Anyone walking down that hallway can see the show. There are no “gallery hours” and often no special opening time. The show is simply visible to all who pass by once the last artwork is screwed up to the wall. The hours for that hallway are the hours that City Hall is open to the public.

Ask with any questions! We’d love to hear suggestions on how to improve this set of instructions!

Seven Hills Camera Club on Meetup

Images from the 2017 “Fire & Ice” City Hall Show