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

I posted a different thread here last week about taking too much inventory to an art festival, and it turns I have been. So now I'm looking at purchasing a used 6x12 enclosed trailer and turning it into a mobile art gallery. i.e., go to an art festival, only take about 45 pieces mixed between paper and canvas to the 10x10 tent, but have the trailer parked near by with EVERYTHING else. Over the course of the event we can switch out work with the inventory in the trailer... plus...

If a potential buyer seems genuinely interested in my work, I can offer to show them more art by giving them an secret your of our art trailer. If the organizers are open to the idea I can also have my son stay at the trailer and have his own art gallery there. The trailer I'm looking we would modify with internal lighting, carpet, and french cleats down the outside to hang large art on. I know others have done this.

My ponderance is this: how strange would it be to offer to take someone from the tent to the parking lot to see more art? 

I can also use this trailer to just go park somewhere on a random weekend and have an pop-up art gallery in a parking lot. The city of Fort Worth and Dallas both have mobile vending permits so it's legal (but the city I actually live in, Arlington, does not, maddening). 

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Offering more than what's in your booth will complicate the situation because people will want to compare with what's in your booth causing everyone else in your booth to not buy because there might be something better in your trailer. Better to keep it as simple as possible to initiate sales quickly.

It's much more expedient to have a book of photographs of your additional work then to walk someone to your trailer which may not be parked nearby. 4x6 prints are easy to do and they sell small albums that can take quite a few prints. 8x10 is even more impressive and a binder of 8x10 prints is quite impressive. Or do it electronically using an ipad and image viewing application.

I will add that for years, I've carried an ipad when walking shows and showing artists examples of my artwork photography. I've since gone to a book of 40 or 50 4x6 prints because they could be viewed under any lighting condition.

Larry Berman

If I were a customer, I am not sure I'd want to trek to a trailer which could easily be quarter to half mile away.  Then the return trip.  Physical ability has nothing to do with it.  For one thing, as a female, possibly attending alone with my daughter, I would not make the trek with a guy I have never met before, to a location that in all likelihood would put me alone with him ... out of sight from the main crowd.  It is a security issue for me.  I am not sure other women feel the same.  In a booth that is in the confines of the show, there are people milling about, wandering around, even if there is no professional security officer within sight.  You are probably a respectable guy and nothing would happen but that is my line of thinking.  Not all guys are nice guys.

Quite likely the scenario you present seems good on the surface but the promoter may say it is a second booth so cough up the $$ for that and get a double booth.

A 6x12 trailer would also be difficult if you use it in the show with a 10x10 space. It might require a double space and at some shows it might be difficult to maneuver in to place.

Some shows might also have a problem if you have someone else selling your art because all shows want the artist always present. You might get away with it at some shows but you most likely don't want to break the rules.

The best bet for a trailer is getting to the show and storing additional show inventory.

Rick:  Ideas such as the one you present here are the future of survival on the street. The Street Show Circuit has evolved into an "industry" with all the attendant rigidity and silly red tape and rules. Thinking outside the cursed "10x10' box" is how to proceed, especially your idea of Pop-up Art Galleries in chosen legal (or illegal) locations in your region. People like to be surprised, especially in our growing Big Tech and Big Corporate Mono-culture and yours is one very exciting avenue people should consider.  Keep it up!

Curious -why not just get a decent used Full size Van -like an econoline 1/2 or 3/4 ton

I see Artists with stock parked near by - gettting stock and restocking.

Brag books are nice as well - or possibly having an easier set up - like a display on wheels

maybe like a Triangle -front and back connected at top - the bottom both panels slanted out

with a base with wheels - Good luck !

why not just buy a van and also arrange your pro panels so that you have a storage area

Someone offering to take me to the parking lot to see their "art gallery" seems a little creepy to me. I also doubt any show would be cool with you selling stuff from the parking lot, even if you're a paying vendor. If you have too much stuff to show and you think it will sell, you should pay for a larger booth space.

I suspect that many of you go to art festivals where the parking area is more remote and maybe rustic. I'm in the city, so parking is most likely right next to the venue on a ciity street or even within the venue area (like a giant parking lot at a ball stadium). I'm already getting a 10x20 space. I asked the organizers for my next three events and none had an issue, as long as I don't take up more than two parking spaces. One event even said I could park along the fence near a entrance/exit (music festival more than art). But I get your point. )

Yeah, seems creepy to me too. Kinda reminds me of those guys who hold open their trench coats or opens their trunk and says, "Man have I got a deal for you!  Just step this way."

Reminds me when living in Las Vegas in 1970’s. Not unusual for neighbor to come over and ask if you want a new TV. “Friend has a truck load”. Phone calls to business “want a case lot of shipping tape. got a truck load at......” . Mob was hijacking trucks and unloading in Vegas.

This is actually a fairly common thing, I won't even be the 50th person to do this. I'm not talking about a non-descript gray trailer with a single swaying lightbulb and black light posters inside. I'm talking about a custom painted open air mobile art gallery with fixtures to hang large art on outside walls. Rear ramp would be entry, half the roof would be skylighted, and the interior would be well lit with balanced daylight bulbs. We would be only show art here during daylight hours (gets too busy when the sun goes down to split up our two person team). Forgive me but I don't see the seedy or creepy aspect at all. 


It's no creepier than asking someone to spend $2500 on a painting or sculpture that is displayed on the street three yards from a storm sewer. 


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