Call for Artists: 47th An Occasion for the Arts

October 1 & 2 0d1fd3e2-ebf9-4459-a8cb-489a41c8f57e.jpg
Williamsburg, Virginia
downtown historic Williamsburg

145 Artists
Deadline:  April 30

Application Fee: $35/Booth Fee: $275

3c336a61-b0d6-4e67-b988-2d318f17472a.jpg?width=292An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA) is held each year on the first weekend of October on the streets of historic downtown Williamsburg, a popular destination for people from around the world.

Our ambition is to be the best show possible for those artists exhibiting with us, and our commitment to our exhibitors is to balance the show in a way that showcases your work as unique and provides the potential for sales.  We purposely keep the show small, 140-145 artists.

Potential for sales:

  • The median household income for James City County and adjoining York County is $79,516, one of the highest in Virginia. 
  • Housing starts are on the Rise. Residential areas of Williamsburg are experiencing strong growth. Several new neighborhoods have emerged in the last year.
Our marketing plan includes an extensive utilization of media, including:
  • An artist's directory on our website to introduce artists to our patrons well in advance of the show. Artist's information remains on our web site months after the show for patron access. (Visit our website today to learn about the artists who were invited last year)  
  • Customized e-Card for each artist to send to his or her patron email list. 
  • Promotional art show booklet distributed to over 16,000 homes and businesses listing artists and their mediums, includes full color images, booth map and helpful information for festival goers.
  • A free shuttle service providing easier access for patrons 
  • Social Media ... with nearly 3,500 followers, our Facebook Page is an important component for us when reaching our patrons and introducing our artists. 

Participating artists can look forward to:

  • Early set up on the Friday with curbside217004f9-0ea2-4240-8ef2-8e8adaa7d4bd.jpg?width=375 unloading and loading
  • Free Artist-only parking within walking distance of the show
  • Artist reception and award Ceremony on Saturday evening with complementary adult awards for winning artists and acceptance to next year's show
  • Overnight security
  • On-demand booth sitters to assist the artists
AOFTA is a community show that is entirely supported by dozens of volunteerswho love the arts and diligently work to make the show a success.

Learn more:
Contact:  Leo Charette,, (757)565-7585

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  • Sorry for the funky fonts and any typos. There doesn't seem to be a way to edit once posted. :(

  • Does anyone have some insight into how I might do w/ this crowd? 

    That's a question that you must answer, only you can know your market. I will point you in few directions:

    1. go to the show's web site: Included on the site are the profiles and works of all the artists who were accepted last year. Painting is a large category that includes: oil, acrylics, egg tempera, encaustic and various combinations. Last year 30 painters were accepted into the show and the works ranged from traditional to abstract. Many are painters who have done the show for many years because they are successful. Overall, last year 30% of the artists were new to the show and I think that is a good balance.
    2. If you know any of the artists who are listed on the website, you should communicate with them, especially if they know your work. 
    3. Read the show's prospectus on Zapp to understand the character of the show. This is a fine art and fine craft show. All work must be made by the hands of the artist attending the show.

    The show is a community show that has a long history and is well supported by the community. Also, because it is in the heart of history Williamsburg, it draws from tourist who are visiting. But as to your question about "number of attendees" I can only venture a guess. There is no gate so folks pour into the show from all directions. On a good weather weekend we are probably looking at over 20K but that is a guess. Attendance is strong both days. Here are quotes from 2014:

    "It was my best show of the year! I had a lot of traffic, wonderful people and great sales. Sold a lot of new work and big paintings."

    "This was a killer show for us. People started buying from us at 9 AM and never stopped until 5 PM. It was the same both days. The entire atmosphere was perfect - the weather helped too."

    I am the Artistic Director for the show, a volunteer position (it is my turn to give back) but I am also an artist (abstract photography) who lives in Williamsburg.  For the last 10 years, with the exception of last year, I have done the show and done well; its a strong regional show that has transitioned from a one to a two day show. Because Williamsburg has a historical museum in its center, most tourists would think traditional, but it is a thriving community and the area has seen enormous growth. A whole new center has emerged called New Town. There is a big retirement community and I would say it is mostly conservative but well healed. My sales are not to that market but to the 40 to 60 age group that looks for non-traditional. this show is mostly a locals show and it is patronized by all age groups. Not everyone does well at the show, but many do. It is a market that needs to tried. I can say with certainty that this show draws a nice mix of artists. It is a small show, by choice, and about 140-145 artists will be selected this year by panel of 5 seasoned artists, most on the art show circuit. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask. I will do my best to respond, though I do have a show coming up this weekend. Deadline to apply is Saturday at midnight. I hope this helps. Cheers! 

  • I am a portrait artist. Does anyone have some insight into how I might do w/ this crowd? Any guesses on number of attendees? Any other input would be appreciated.

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