Art Fair Insiders

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

Newbies, before you spend a ton of money applying to shows and doing "dog" shows, remember, there is always next year. When in doubt, walk a show look at a show and then decide if you want to apply. The electronic application sites make is so easy to apply, but, if you are in it for the long run, you need to take care.  For example...

If you haven't you need to sign up for www.juriedartservices.com. I just got notification today that a listed show, has extended the deadline and decreased booth fees.

This is a sure sign that you need to avoid. Look at the promoters hard and remember their interest is in getting your application fee. That is their number one job. This is a classic case of panic. Don't be afraid to take a pass. 

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Hi Paul, Thanks for sharing this advise.,

Sabrina

I beg to differ, Paul. I have spoken with the people in Miami who are putting on this first time show, they are sincere about putting together a solid new event that capitalizes on this location and time of year. They are aware of the big art shows (Art Miami - with international gallery representation) and want to parlay their connections to an outdoor event. Every new event makes missteps. They are learning about our business. Perhaps they were more sold on their assets than the artists were, so they are stepping back and relooking at their options. I mean, Paul, let's say they get 100 applications @ $35 -- is this enough to pay salaries and mount a show? They are not after those fees, I'll bet. They have invested time and money and want to make sure the event happens. So, if they advertise harder and lower the booth fee maybe they can find the artists they need so they can get the show off the ground.

In addition, new art fairs are necessary for the health of our business. I urge artists to take a hard look at the new ones that come along. If new events are not supported, if you wait until the next year, the shows do not get off the ground and opportunities are lost. Key things to look for are the organizers civic connections and their plan for promotion -- do they know anyone, can they bring people in.

Good point Connie, As you can see I'm still learning also...but love to read all the information and get different perspectives.

Sabrina

Connie, I pulled the reference to the Miami show out, I didn't mean to single them out. You might want to edit this comment as well. I thought this BB was for artists, particularly newbies. Sorry.

Hey Paul,

I wanted to take the opportunity to address your post. I am the promoter of Art in the Park Miami. You raise some good points and from the perspective of an artist they are certainly valid. I have been working as an artist for 15 years so I do have an understanding of what it takes to be successful in this profession. I am also aware of the stigma of first year shows, there has not been time to establish a relationship between the artist and promoter. Many artists have had less than positive experiences when taking a risk at an inaugural event, be it promoters in it to make a quick buck or simply poor execution. I can say that those are things we are not in this business to do. Just as any artists work, Art in the Park Miami started with a vision. The canvas being Miami's premiere outdoor location, Bayfront Park. Our vision, to establish Art in the Park Miami at Bayfront Park as a quality annual event providing artists with a platform to share their artistic expression with as many people as possible. Just as with any relationship, trust is the foundation. And that is where we sit at this particular juncture. The leery artists and sponsors vs. our vision, and rightfully so, we haven't had the opportunity to prove ourselves, meanwhile we deal with a project of massive proportions, most details likely unknown to the exhibitor; permits, police, paramedics, rentals, sanitation, security, electricians, volunteers, insurance, advertising and marketing to name a few. We've taken the opportunity to speak with hundreds of artists to see what their primary needs are at an event and are taking all the necessary measures to address those needs, from booth sitters to parking, organized set-up procedures to effective marketing. One recent issue being booth pricing, thankfully we recently reached an agreement with Easy FM  to assist in our marketing efforts freeing up some of our advertising costs, instead of pocketing the funds we were able to use it to offset the booth pricing thus lowering the costs for our exhibitors. We are very thankful for those artists willing to share in our vision and participate in the Inaugural Event and without them we would definitely not be successful. We look forward to continuing to build relationships and trust with artists and the community over the years by focusing our efforts on making Art in the Park Miami a successful annual event that thankfully has the opportunity to give back to the community we so love by supporting local non-profits such as South Florida Family Resource Center and The Collaborative. We hope to be successful enough to share our vision with you next year.

Sorry I didn't mean to single you
No problem, you have legitimate concerns. Just wanted to address it from my end. I'm glad we all have the opportunity to share.

Not that I'm the most experienced of vendors in the art world, but I have noticed that at some new shows I do well, and at some established fancy shows I don't do as well and am frustrated with the show.  The bottom line seems to come down to marketing, we as artists are there to sell.  If the show promoters can't deliver an audience that wants to buy, then it's no good.

 

As for first time shows, if it's cheep and convenient, I say go for it! When you're new you can use them as practice on set-up and tear down, as well as what you want your display to be.  And if you get a good vibe and sell some things, try again next year, it could be even better!

Thanks for the tip on juried art services.  I'll look at them.  is there anyplace to go to see whether a show is a good show or not?  You can't tell anything from ZAPP and the reviews are not complete.  Thus...shows outside of my state are alien to me as far as whether it is a good show. 

 

As far as new shows...my first show was a new show that was a one time appearance and was horrible.  I broke even but only because I was local and had no expenses other than show fee.  BUT, it was a great learning experience.  I met several other artists including my neighbor who as been very helpful in helping me look at shows and other tips like keeping babywipes in your ice chest for a cool refresher.  The other benefit of the show was the organizer worked on one of the other big shows in OKC that I was waitlisted on.  I spoke with him and told him I had applied and status.  I did not have a booth shot when I had applied because I hadn't bought a tent yet.  He looked at my set up and said he would "check in to it"  Within 5 days after the show...I was accepted into the big OKC show.  (Not the downtown one...but the one at the college).

 

If the show is local....do it for the experience and contacts if you can afford it.

 

btw Paul....I got a chuckle out of your response post on the Stone Birds thread.  I think I would like your sense of humor.

Word of mouth is always the best way to learn about what shows to apply for, John. If you don't know any artists yet, read and research as much as possible online. Ask your questions here on this site, "walk" as many shows as you can to see what you can learn. None of the application systems, Zapp, Juried Art Services or Entry Thingy rates the shows -- they are impartial listing systems. The shows use these services to get the word out and to receive applications. Period. They are a tool. If a show is listed at one or another it only means the event organizers like some aspect of that particular service. That's it.

Thanks.  I haven't heard of entry thingy.  Will check it out.

Another thing to check is the roster of previous years' shows.  Check out the artists in your medium  to see what the quality of the work is and how you feel you fit in.  

And speaking of first year shows, I can't think of a worse fiasco than that Miami show at Bayfront Park.  I never heard one good thing and lots of exceedingly bad things about this show.  And regardless of who the promoter is, a fellow artist, gallery owner or john q. public, take everything said with a grain of salt.  Words are cheap.

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