Hello everyone, it is nice to meet you!

My wife is a painter who has recently been spending a lot more time on her art. We are hoping to get started selling her art at fairs, but had a few questions about the process we were hoping to find answers to. My wife usually paints in three different mediums: acrylic, watercolor, and a traditional Chinese style. She has nice paintings in each medium and wants to sell some of each. Is that something one can do at a juried fair? Should the portfolio contain examples of each to make sure it is ok under the rules? Or is that not suggested and instead we should focus only on one type of her paintings per show?

Is there any other advice one would recommend to new artists trying to break in? Honestly it seems like there are so many steps that its hard to get started. Does anyone have some recommendations for how to find non-juried events that are still reasonable quality (not filled with resellers or primarily filled with people who are not interested in buying more pricey items) so that we can get our feet wet?

Thank you so much!


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  • James,

    I did my first festival last October and it was very local. It was nice because I only had to send in pictures of my art to be selected and the price to set up was low. I even borrowed a friends, not all white, tent. It was nice to get the experience to learn how to set up and meet people, but our local arts and crafts fair was very much for crafts and trinkets. If you go to one that people don't want to buy pricey items, then you may not sell anything unless your wife has small prints or reasonably priced artwork. I did have lots of people come in and discuss my art and look, but it was more for people wanting to buy wood signs, photography prints, Christmas stocking stuffers, etc. I am looking into a step up now, but have to invest in more show equipment. Many of the step up festivals want a picture of your full set up with tent to send to the organizers. Do it, but agree with Richard, visit some festivals and see what is out the there, set ups and pricing.

  • School and church art events are good places to “get your feet wet” . Start a notebook of what went right and where you need to improve logistics, presentation etc. Keep it running forever as there will always be something new or different. Put some effort into researching demographics of juried shows to determine if your art fits the potential crowd. Walk local shows you want to apply to and talk to artists as part of your research. Develop a sense of return on investment for potential shows. Be selective and proactive which means look out for yourself.  Don’t waste your time on shows that treat artists poorly or are an organizational mess no matter what you hear about “fantastic sales”.  These are my “pearls of wisdom” from doing profitable shows for over 20 years and now celebrating my 50th year in business.

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