We have two semester shows at my middle school. More manageable for me, and less artwork to store. At the beginning of the year, I solicit parental help to coordinate refreshments for the opening night reception for student artists.
At the winter show, we also have a mini show of faculty artwork, one piece per staff. We invite local notables to this show, also. At the spring show, my advanced 8th grade students have a PTO purchase competition, one piece per student done in class. Faculty votes on one overall piece, PTO frames it, it's hung in main hallway.
About 300 people attend. In the past, I've tried having my advanced students lead mini-workshops, but that really hasn't jelled for us.
To get all this DONE, I structure tasks as part of the advanced class assignments. Writing personal letters of invitation to notables; art show invitation design; labeling and distribution; poster design and distribution; morning and afternoon announcements; artwork matting and labeling; show set up and take down; staffing reception tables---students chose each task and upon completion, it's graded. I require the advanced class' attendance for a second grade, because they're expected to discuss their work with attendees.
We took 50, 4 x 8 sheets of Masonite and painted them both sides, drilled at the top. These
sheets are sturdier panels that can hold up to four or five pieces of artwork for the advanced students, and are hung around the library's periphery. Three-dimensional work is staged on library tables. Students who take 9 week classes have one piece hung, on wire displays (Graphic Display Systems in Lebanon, PA--purchased via grant funds).
I make sure that with each class I have, I stress how important the show is, and why. It's always evolving, but I'm not sure I would do it if I didn't have the help of the advanced class and parents.