I have a series of projects that I would like to exhibit. I have done some small exhibitions in the past / and presentations and I have a fair few friends who are artists and exhibit their work. I am interested in lets say doing an exhibition about psychogeographic photographic walks in south east London in 2011, or following a watercourse from source to sea in Andalusia, which are projects I've done but I would like to understand how better I can frame and communicate these as projects within an ecology of other artists.
I am a member of a small co-op gallery and we regularly do shows of individual artists' work in exchange for commission on the sales. Other galleries may provide a similar opportunity, but you may need to start at lesser-known galleries and work up. In our situation, we provide space only and require the artist to do all the publicity. Alternatively, you can show and sell your work at a number of arts and crafts shows - just buy a booth space, set up a 10 ft x 10 ft set of walls and hang out for a day or a weekend to see what sells. If you pursue the latter approach, I'd suggest you look for juried shows, as the overall work will be better and the clientele will be more in the market for high-end products.
Shooting from the hip, there are a couple of ways to get your work displayed:
- Local Shows
- Small Sales
This first one is easy, just find some contests (photo.SE, dpreview, pop photo, Black and White, and so on) and enter to gain some momentum. Eventually larger contests will open up to you and you can find the pro community that way.
The second one is harder, but I think it would be more rewarding and what you're looking for. Most places (cities, towns) have some sort of cultural center. As such, they regularly rotate their public displays. When there is an opening, you should attend it as not only you'll meet fellow artists, but you can see how their art is presented. Generally at these openings, the curator will be present and you can bring some examples or ask about getting your work displayed that way.
The third one is simply going and finding art sales or galleries and offering your work that way. If people like it, then they buy it. Sell enough work, you're stuff will get promoted.
I look forward to other people's suggestions, as I know we have some pro people on this site.
Contests are usually a huge waste especially if they aren't doing any legwork to sell your stuff. Most I've found are self interest to exploit artists to "show" work. Anyone can show work anywhere.
Applying for grants is a good option.