Art Fair Insiders

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

This is an exercise in improving. I'm sure many of you recognize the hallmarks of display that are "no-no's" at the big shows ... let's deconstruct/reconstruct it. 

If this was your booth at a show do you think it can be improved? If so, how?

Views: 1774

Comment by Alison Thomas on August 4, 2016 at 9:14am

Put the sides down so the pictures can be seen.  Better yet get some covers for the gridwall.  Those legs on the gridwalls will give issues if booths are close together.

Comment by John Leben on August 4, 2016 at 10:27am

Connie knows that I am in the middle of redesigning my booth. I've thought long and hard about the best way to exhibit. One big piece of advice I got from Connie many years ago was to focus on a single genre and not try to show everything that I've ever done before. I finally took that advice and my sales took off. Another piece of advice that I have not followed (but will try in upcoming art fairs) is to think of the booth more as a mini-gallery, and to not overcrowd the booth with too much stuff... even if it is of the same genre. The booth in this picture looks way over-crowded. Its hard to focus on any one piece.

I just got a call this morning from the trucking company that will be delivering my brand new ProPanel setup. I'll be getting the new booth in tomorrow morning (Friday). I'm looking forward to using ProPanels at my next show in Lake Forest on the first weekend of September. I'm replacing an aging and faded Graphic Design Systems setup that I've used successfully for 15 or 20 years. 

Comment by Greg Little on August 4, 2016 at 10:39am

It is cluttered and has gridwalls and tables outside of the tent that blocks the walkway and neighboring tents. This booth has the overall feel of a flea market.

The gridwall has some stuff hanging way too low...unless it is there for dogs to view.

I'm not sure I have ever seen gridwall covers, or even if they are available..but they would help as a background.

Comment by Tammie T Everly on August 4, 2016 at 10:53am

I am also trying to learn 'less is more' when it comes to my display- It's a hard lesson!

As others have mentioned: reduce the amount of inventory shown, use some walls, or maybe mesh walls if you like the breeze, to show off the art. If the walls of the tent are white, then white grids might blend in better. Also there is no banner or signage to tell you who the artist is. If I am on grass [and the ground's not too uneven] I have a rug that I put down to give a clean look.  I'd love to have a pic of my display critiqued if you need a volunteer.

Comment by Roxanne Coffelt on August 4, 2016 at 10:55am

I agree with the advice so far, though in some cases it could have been said slightly more tactfully.  

The grid walls need to be in the tent, not outside. Perhaps a cloth hanging behind the grids could provide a background so the paintings would be more visible.  

Also, maybe the grids could be attached to the tent to help give it some stability.  I don't see any weights on that tent.  Maybe there are some stakes, but I think that tent will be blowing away the first time a storm comes around.

Also, I would replace the white tablecloth because, well, it looks like a tablecloth.  If the black tablecloth doesn't cover the table then I would try to find something a little more artsy that looks less like a tablecloth.  And of course the colors of the table need to match the colors of the gridwalls - which I think probably need to be black since the grids are black.  (Unless you paint the grids because black will make the space look smaller.)

I think I would also turn the table around so we are looking at the end of the table instead of the front.  With it front and center it looks like the artist is featuring the inexpensive prints, cards, or whatever over the actual paintings which should be the focus.

Comment by Pam sharp on August 4, 2016 at 2:15pm

less is always more...you have approximately 3 seconds to catch someones attention as they walk by...this just says walk by...... grid wall can have a cloth background by using the cut insulation waterpipe wrap to hold the cloth at the top.  just put cloth over the grid and put the foam sleeve over it....works great.....as for weights the tent is not going anywhere if the grids are attached to the tent.   make the space as open as possible.  people like to have an exit and do not like to trapped in a booth.  par down to one or two of the most popular styles. 

Comment by Christina L. Towell on August 5, 2016 at 8:47am

Yep, too busy...needs to be pared down and classed up a bit with solid walls and more focus on fewer examples of the work.

Comment by Larry Schneider on August 5, 2016 at 10:48am

A classy clean simple booth is not necessarily better.  Many people love stuffed, cluttered,and totally confusing booths like yours and spend a lot of time in them just puttering around and looking. A redo may not increase sales.

Comment by Patricia Zabreski Venaleck on August 5, 2016 at 4:14pm
Please, please, never ,ever put items outside your booth space. You block your fellow artists line of view. I would be complaining to the promoter if I was next to you. Most rules say to stay in your 10x10 space. You could cover the grids with white or black sheets and still hook through them. And yes, less is more.
Comment by Sheila Lamberson on August 5, 2016 at 7:42pm
I also use grid walls but wire tie them so they hang from the tent - no feet to get in the way and provide necessary weighting for the tent. Having sidewalks down also helps display artwork more cleanly. I agree that art should be contained within allotted space/tent.

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