Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Earlier this year I purchased propanels and a tent, lights,etc. and was planning to start doing a lot of art festivals and then proceeded to strike out at 3 major shows in New England. Well, I did cover my costs at the Marlborough, MA Paradise City show last March but it was a fluke.
So I'm getting the message from the universe (and showgoers) that maybe it's the wrong audience and approach for my work..which is abstract oil paintings and guitars. Then, I recently rolled the dice on an expensive undertaking, participating in the Boston International Fine Art Show. Sold a big piece there which was very affirming and validating considering the quality and quantity of 2d fine art on display.
And for the first time my prices were at the lower end! There was a piece there for $1..3 million!
I just can't seem to compete with the craft market and pricing of ceramics, turned bowls, textiles, handbags, candles,etc. I also noticed that some of the bigger outdoor fests, especially when the weather is nice and there are food trucks, music,etc..seem to be a source of entertainment and gift buying for most show-goers rather than a place to see and purchase fine art.
So the big question..Where to find fine art only shows in New England..or for that matter anywhere? Also, I'm trying to target the interior designer/architect/design trade and corporate placement market.
Any thoughts, resources you could share would be greatly appreciated.
I have been wondering the same thing but for different reasons. I have done some outdoor shows with so so results overall for a number of years. I was wondering whether it made sense to continue and then I had my tent wrecked in a storm and decided that was a sign to change directions. So I am trying to find more indoor and gallery opportunities. I don't have suggestions for you sadly but I am curious what ideas others may have for you (and perhaps I can learn from them as well).
Have a super day.
sorry to hear about your tent. That must have been awful.
I think I'm coming to the realization (now that I've spent a ton of money on pro panels, tent and 4 expensive shows this year) that shows and festivals are not bringing me the audiences that I need. Just watched this guy's 'live' webinar and he may have sold me. When you see the opening to this video it may make you shudder Kevin..sorry...but, he seems to have a good playbook, a road map for how to kill with online sales and get out of the 'show' business. It's a long video and he finally gets to the cost at about 1 hour 30 minutes. But, I'm intrigued.
check it out and let me know what you think. I didn't sign up yet.
The guy mentions clicking on the sign up link, never saw it. I do not do fine art ... I flip furniture and vintage home decor. Wondering if his course would work for me? Whether I do it depends a lot on the cost.
Thanks Scott. I had watched that video a while back, but it felt a bit like he was selling snake oil or something. I couldn't bring myself to sign on the dotted line. It might be great though, I just wasn't brave enough to take that chance.
The indoors shows have far fewer attendance than established outdoor shows, which is what you should be looking for. The ACC shows are indoors but are mostly high end fine crafts. There are a lot of holiday themed indoor shows around this time of year. But people are looking for a lower priced gift option.
Paradise City shows, One of a Kind Chicago shows, American Art Marketing shows are all fine art indoor shows.
thanks Larry..will check those out.
One of the best indoor shows in the country is the Art Expo (New York-San Fran). They are accepting apps now for the New York show in February 2020. A 10x10 booth is $6100.00 and they take 15% from every sale. I haven't done that show, but if you have upper end fine art, this may be a choice for you.
I have done that show, (2018) Larry - in fact, it was our very first Fine Art Show ever. Talk about Deer in Headlights! The show cost us around $11,000 to do between booth, flights, hotels, food, Ubers, crating our art and shipping. The art was amazing - we were stunned to be included among the other artists that were there. We sold to a gallery in New Jersey and I'm sure our prices were lower than everyone else there (we were total newbies). As such it was a money-losing adventure but an invaluable experience which opened our eyes to the show process - in other words, we were thrown into the deep end. Really glad we did it, but I might venture that it would take a lot of good luck to get sales that would make the event a profitable one. Experience - yes - we got that in spades! One further thought - sure someone can list an artwork for $1M + but that doesn't mean it's going to sell. I've seen a lot of high priced pieces at all our shows since (over 50 shows since Art Expo April 2018) and I've seen them go home with the artists unsold. We're still assessing as well as to where we will find our best sales and weeding out shows, but I think even the most experienced artists are still doing the same. There is no guarantee for audience, weather, or environment (at shows) that promises a return on our investment and our work. But, since my husband and I are in for the long haul, we are definitely giving it all we've got and working our butts off to do our best, including searching for all opportunities to sell our work (online, shows, exhibitions, etc).
Great information. I guess $11K makes a $650 booth fee sound like pocket change. :)
Beautiful work, Scott. I recommend signing on and in to Juried Art Services. www.juriedartservices.com
It isn't great for outdoor show listings, but it IS good for the shows you seem to be looking into. They list a lot of juried competitions, juried shows in galleries and museums etc.
You might also do well with some of the private school shows, like the Harding Art Show near Nashville and ArtXtravaganza at the Webb School in Knoxville. They are small and elite and because they raise money for their schools, the clientele expects to spend money. The first year I did the Harding show, Steve Penley was the featured artist, just to give you an idea. The featured artist at ArtXtravaganza in 2018 sold over $40,000 in 2 days. Your work is very well suited for both.