While I understand that cost is a huge barrier, this discrepancy does bother me. I’m not sure what can be done about it. Maybe having students work on higher quality materials (papers, canvas, etc.) would help in that nicer looking grounds typically don’t have to require a lot of framing and decoration.
I usually work on large box canvases myself precisely to avoid having to figure out methods of display. That can get pricey and canvases can be directly hung on the wall.
I’ve matted pieces before, but that generally requires a bevel cutter, and you usually only do that if the piece needs a frame. So, for our group, it seemed like the only real skill to impart to the students was how to mount their work.
I talked a bit to various students about cutting the mat and how a 2” margin is ideal. We also experimented with which color mat would look best with some of our pieces. Overall, though, I felt that this workshop day was just a rush to finish things up, get things sorted and titles, and a small selection mounted. Some students worked on finished up old projects and others experimented with materials in the room (dry felting, and water balloon paint bombs).
One of the high schools mentioned in our text (Studio Thinking) had a course every year that centered around museums/galleries, installation, and display for artists. I think this kind of think would be really useful for artists everywhere. I really wish such a course had been offered at the college level or maybe even offered by an art gallery or museum, but I’ve never seen one. Maybe this is because this is generally left to curators and art historians? Not sure. All I know is that my own lack of knowledge here is uncomfortable.