Choose the Right Show for Your Art or Craft

WGK Glass Art BoothHave you exhibited at art or craft shows that didn’t produce sales because they weren’t a fit for your work or your price points? It happens all the time.

 

Here are some ways to avoid the wrong shows:

1. Walk the show first. Before applying to a new show, attend as a visitor.  Take a good look at the merchandise exhibited, the price range of the work and the crowd. Is your target audience shopping? Is the show well-attended? Does the art and craft on display complement the work you do, and do you consider the other artists your peers? Then consider your category. Is it over-represented or just right? Walking the show first can save you time, money and regret later on.

2. Ask other artists. Speak to other artists who have exhibited at the show you are considering and get their take on the general atmosphere and attendance, and how happy the exhibitors are. If you belong to a guild or arts organization, a good activity would be to compare show evaluations with other members.

3. Check it out online. Websites like Art Fair Insiders foster discussion between artists on many topics, including their show experiences. Find out how the shows you are considering rate with other artists, and what issues they have experienced. Join in the discussion and ask specific questions.

4. Do your research. What shows should you be doing? Check out the websites of artists whose work complements yours and fits your audience. What’s on their schedule this year? Those shows might be a good fit for you too. Since the artist community tends to be extremely friendly and giving, you might even be able to email those artists even if you aren’t acquainted, and get a frank appraisal of the show in question.

In your experience, what’s the best way to choose the right art or craft fair for your own work? 

 

Photo: WGK Glass Art at the 2013 Buyers Market of American Craft

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Comments

  1. boy, your number 1advice is spot on…i took a chance last Dec and did a first time art fair thru a local gallery…total disaster…hardly anyone showed up. It was a complete waste of my time and money.

    • Sorry to hear that Kathryn . . . but, we’ve all been there! At least your show was local, so you weren’t wasting travel costs. Better luck in the future!

      • I have been organizing show for 7 years. Money has to be spent on the media plus send out press leases to every newspaper. Get on TV and radio shows. Artists also need to do their part to promote the show. I tell artists that they can have their booth space paid for before the show by promoting their art on Social media FB and get a buyer to come to the show. Get people interested in your work, and invite them to the show. A positive attitude sales your work too. I personally invite 75% of all the artists in my shows based on personalty. Of course their work must meet my expectations too

        • Never complain or say a bad word about someone. I have heard artists bash other shows, and they have the right too, but I hold my tongue from being a part of the bashing. We all have bad experiences, lets make them learning experiences.

  2. Visiting a show/fair/market before applying to sell there is the best way to choose a show. Sometimes, however, that’s not possible, so I need to rely on various things such as information provided by friends, knowledge of the area and its economy (especially important during the Recession!), having a good feeling about whether my target market is likely to attend the show, time of year (Fall is the BEST time of year for me to sell), and a bunch of other things which I think I’m forgetting at the moment. I’ve been doing shows a long, long time and I’m pretty good at choosing events which are worth my time and I’m not afraid to decide not to set up if I arrive at an event and don’t have a good feeling about it (of course it’s not likely that I would ever apply to it again!).

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