Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

As I've said before, my husband & I are hoping to start working art fairs/festivals next year. I've been looking through some shows on CaliforniaFestivals.com & have a couple questions that I'm hoping people here can answer.

1) Many of the applications I've seen list the booth fee, but I don't see the jury fee. If we don't get accepted into the show, will we be reimbursed the booth fee? I don't want to pay someone $200+ for a show that I won't get into.

2) We'll be selling prints of our photography & my husband's stippling. Since our "product" is mostly prints, would we be able to apply as one entity?

3) I've seen a few shows say that they don't need any more artists who do landscape/travel photography. We have some of that, but also have other pieces that I wouldn't consider landscape/travel. And again, we have Craig's stippling. Is it worth it to even apply to these shows, since we'd probably have some of the landscape/travel items in our booth. Or, if we do get in, should we make sure we *only* have non-landscape/travel items for sale?

4) Being that we're new, we wanted to try to stick to shows that are closer to home (within 50 miles), so we can get our feet wet. But with the restrictions we're encountering, we're wondering if we need to expand our search field. Thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance for the answers. I really appreciate the help & advice from this group.

Take care,

Alyx & Craig
MAS Artwork

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My opinion, FWIW.

1. some shows don't have a jury fee, most do. They keep the jury fee but refund the booth fee if you don't get in.

2. No. Photography is one medium, the stippling (is it in oil?) another. The fact that you have made prints of the stippling doesn't make it photography.

3. believe them if they say they don't need any more photography of a certain kind, and if you get in with some other genre, it would be in your best interest not to show the kind they have plenty of. You don't need more competition!

3. You're wise to stay close to home when starting out, you have a lot to learn and don't need the extra worry of big travel expenses.

Good luck!

Thanks for your feedback, Joan.

My husband's stippling is black ink to paper (apparently, "pointillism" is the term used for images made up of dots via paint), so it wouldn't look like canvas art next to photos.

There's a show in the Northeast Ohio area that does the jury thing a little differently. When you apply for the show you must send two checks, one for the jury fee and one for the booth. If you're not accepted they return your booth check uncashed, but if you're in they just cash it and assume you will be in the show. If there's a possibility of a date conflict for you, be sure to find out the show's policies beforehand.

Some of our local shows are adamant that you not exhibit anything outside your jury category. One show said they would require you to remove any non-juried pieces from your display.

Thanks for your insight, Judi.

In my first year of art fairs, I stayed pretty local doing mostly smaller shows to get a feel for the business. It is smart to stay local in your first year and then branch out from there. This is only my third year doing art fairs and I do it part time. If you have any questions, just ask me. I'd be happy to help! My medium is photography too..

Oh Scott, you may be sorry you offered that.  ;o)  Seriously, though, THANK YOU!

We have lots of questions, but I guess the first one would be: How many different images (not pieces of each image) did you stock your booth with for your first show?  We realize that there's no way to know which ones people will buy, but we also know that we can't (or at least shouldn't) make prints of every one of our images just yet.

Oh I stock 5x7 with an 8x10 mat, 8x10 with an 11x14 mat and 11x14 with a 16x20 mat. In my first show maybe I had about 45 prints. And some small framed stuff too. Here is what my first booth looked like... http://www.artfairinsiders.com/m/blogpost?id=2160589%3ABlogPost%3A4...

Yeah, but I meant how many different images?  Did you print out 5 copies of nine different images or 9 copies of five different images? 

I think I had some duplication of images but not too much. Maybe 35 of them were different when I first started out...

Okay, thanks.  That's one of our main questions right now, is how many different images to offer.  I don't think we were thinking of selecting that many at first, but I can see how it would allow for a broader selection.

Another question has just come to me . . . Did you find it hard to get into your first show, as a "newbie?"  Or were you accepted right away?

My first show as a "newbie" was a brand new fair too. It was the first year for Maple and Main Art Fair in Sylvania, Ohio. I did the fair all three years...

Don't get sidetracked trying to come up with every image in a zillion sizes. I've been doing art shows with my photography for over 35 years and it took me a long time to get it right. I recommend only two sizes that don't compete with each other. One small and one large.

I recently wrote an extensive article about inventory and pricing when starting out:
http://bermangraphics.com/blog/how-much-inventory-when-starting-out/

Also, you need to learn how to define what you are doing. Photography is a medium of multiple originals, not prints, which is a term usually referring to reproductions. Never refer to it as selling prints of your photographs. You are selling photographs.

If you have any additional questions, feel free to call me, which is why I list my phone number in my signature. I'll also answer questions about what else you are doing if you give me a call because I can't understand clearly from your post.

Larry Berman
http://BermanGraphics.com
412-401-8100

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