Have 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