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I am a mixed media artist in Virginia Beach creating contemporary pieces of art.  Planning on my 2019 schedule and want to remain on the east coast.  Want to apply for art shows that will better my chances of selling a more contemporary style of art.  I understand there is not magic 8 ball that can guarantee all the answers regarding the best shows for a particular genre of art but I am all about feedback from those that have "been there done that".  Thank you

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The best advice I can give you, Joseph, until someone else chimes in is to do a "search" on this site in the search box for "contemporary art", "East Coast art fairs", "best shows for contemporary work", or other variations on that. I think you'll find lots of information. 

(ding) (ding) ... chimed in  :-)

Thank you Connie!


Just asking all of us will likey not return too many results.

For one, many don't want to divulge where they do well with a particular line, so as to keep as much market share as possible.

Instead just search for the shows you find meet your logistics and finances. Read the reviews. Then search the history of the show. Find out what artists in the specific mediums you are considering. Look at their websites to determine their subject matter. 

Analyze from there. Then you can get down to more specific questions. Better chance of getting a helpful response.

 Thank you Larry!  Helpful 

I can't tell you how many shows I've been to that were bad for me, but great for someone else. You just can't tell. Even some of those shows that tout huge dollar signs by artists... I've heard many times from trusted friends that it's just not a good show (for them). The only takeaway I can offer that's actually valuable to anyone is... do as many shows as you possibly can. Over time you'll fine tune it and meet people and talk. But if I had to put a list together for doing shows from online research, it would probably be a relatively worthless list... and then you still need to get in! haha

Now there is really good non-specific info out there that I would heavily weigh. For example, at the weekend goat race and rodeo, these people don't want 2D modern art... but that artist making rooster coasters might kill it. Conversely, that painter that loves beaches and does amazing in Florida, well, probably won't recommend ANY shows in Colorado.

Great points, Bobby. I remember some years ago doing well at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival but our neighbors (a jeweler who made very contemporary thoughtful jewelry -- no bling) did not do well and people walking away from that booth saying, "what was that?" and also a photographer who did wonderful black and white images (and was very successful) from the Everglades, there was no market for his work either. 

To paraphrase what's already been said... I would focus on putting myself in front of my 'target market' instead of following any particular 'successful' show. Whether it's a $50 church festival or $2000 trade show, determine the type of person that buys your work and put yourself in front of those people. If you are relatively new, really try to research the shows you are interested in. If your work is contemporary, I would look for other shows that have a decent amount of contemporary artists. That would tell me the style sells there (generally). 

Connie, was that artist Clyde Butcher?

Good guess, Larry. Indeed it was. He showed his work there once and never applied again. Clyde and Niki were friends of ours and did a visiting back and forth over the years.

He has a real nice place down there in FL. The setting with the water, trees and wildlife is great. Just walk out the door and start shooting. Heck you could probably get some great shots, sitting inside, shooting out the window. 


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