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 9669942491?profile=RESIZE_710x

Roughly one billion people use Instagram every month, making it one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. But in an age of fast-paced trends, ten-second videos, and virtual realities, it can be hard to see where tangible works of art can fit in.

Your art has the potential to disrupt the noise of social media and connect with people in unique ways. ACT Insurance has gathered their top 10 tips for small business creatives to reach new customers and grow their presence on Instagram.

 

1. Set Up A Business Account

Before you can start conquering the Instagram algorithm, you will need to make sure you are set up with a business account. This helps you have access to certain insights and analytics a normal account would not offer, as well as access to the paid ads feature. 

Once your account is set up, you will want to make sure your name matches your business name. You can set your profile photo as your logo to make your page more recognizable. Be sure to have relevant information in your bio. Specify what you do, add some branded hashtags, put your location, and be sure to have a link to your website.

 

2. Build A Content Calendar

One of the trickiest parts of running a social media page for your business is figuring out what to post. Start by brainstorming a list of ideas, like tutorials, sneak peeks, product photos, quotes relevant to your brand, photos of you at events, customer reviews, and more. You will then want to organize your content ideas into a calendar.

Having a schedule helps you know what content you need to prepare for your upcoming posts. Try mixing up the types of posts you are doing. Do a video one day, a product photo the next, then a quote, and so on. This helps break up your content to keep your audience engaged. You can have fun with your feed by designing a personal brand—like making a pattern with colors or content type to give your page a unique feel.

 

3. Research Hashtags

Having relevant hashtags in your posts is key to getting recognized by new customers. You know your target audience best, so you know what other interests they may have that could lead them to see your posts. Capitalize on those categories through hashtags.

To help you tag your posts quicker, you can keep a list of relevant hashtags on hand. These tags can be for daily post types, like #StudioSunday or #FeatureFriday; community based tags, like #CreativesOfInstagram or #NationalArtistsSociety; and tags for specific events you are attending. You can make your hashtags a focal point in your caption, or hide them in the comments section. 

 

4.Use A Scheduling Tool

Running your Instagram page can take a lot of work. You may not be able to set aside time every day to post—after all, your main focus is going to be on creating your products. This is where a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite or Planoly, can come in handy. We recommend using Later for all of the features offered and ease of use. 

Take some time every few weeks to plan out an upcoming series of content, spanning as far in advance as you can manage. Once you have your images and captions ready, upload them into these platforms and schedule them to be automatically posted for you. Look at your page’s analytics to see what time your followers are most likely to be online. This will be the most ideal time to post so you can maximize your engagement.

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5. Create Video Content With Reels

In a recent announcement, Instagram said the platform would be shifting to becoming a video platform. What does this mean for you? Now is the time to get into creating video content for your page. Reels, Stories, in-feed videos, IGTV, and Live videos should be a huge area of focus for you. 

Reels is the newest, and arguably the most popular, video content on Instagram. You can create a Reel directly in the app, or shoot, edit, and upload in another platform and upload the finished product to Reels. You can turn an old Story you save into a Reel, demonstrate a tutorial, film a timelapse of you creating a piece, and more.

 

6. Add Alt Tags To Posts

Something often overlooked when uploading a post is the alt text. This is a small descriptive paragraph that explains what the photo is so reading devices can recite it to the visually imparied. Not only does this help your posts be more accessible, Instagram reads this information to make them more searchable.

You can also make your posts more discoverable by adding the location of the photo. If someone searches a specific location, your post can appear in the list of tagged images, broadening your reach. 

 

7. Go Live With Other Creatives

Do you have any friends or acquaintances who are creatives? Plan to go Live together on Instagram. By going Live with other creatives, you can reach a broader audience and tap into their followers as potential customers. This is a great opportunity to host a virtual class or tutorial, and share some of your products.

You can promote your Live in the days leading up to it with a post on your page and daily posts on your Stories. You can even add a countdown sticker to your Stories where users can “subscribe” to it and be notified when the countdown ends. After the Live, you can save it to your page as an IGTV post so others can watch it later on. Plan to go Live based on when your analytics tell you most of your followers are active to reach the most users possible.

 

8. Make Interactive Stories

One of the best ways to connect with your followers daily is to post on Instagram Stories. It can be hard to come up with perfectly curated daily posts or feel like you are always trying to sell to your followers. Stories allow you to take a more personal and relatable approach to your content.

Give viewers a behind the scenes look into your everyday life as an artist. Try using some of the interactive stickers, like polls or submission boxes, to better interact with viewers. If you ever highlight a unique event or experience, or do a series of Q&A’s in your Stories, you can keep this content on your page with Highlights.

 

9. Start Conversations On Posts

Getting comments on a post is a good indicator that your followers like your content. It also helps to push your post out to more users. By engaging with the comments on your post, you are fostering valuable relationships with your followers and inviting new users to participate and follow your page. 

To help increase your engagement with comments, you can try asking questions in your captions, or share a compelling story that invites readers to chime in. Do your best to reply to comments, even the negative ones. This shows you care about your followers and your business. If you don’t get many comments, you can try commenting on other artist’s posts or your follower’s posts. 

 

10. Promote Your Work

It can sometimes be frustrating to grow your Instagram following organically. It is not always easy to get sales on social media. If you feel like you need some help getting your content seen, you can try boosting your posts or buying ad space on Instagram.

Advertising on Instagram allows you to pick your budget, timeline, placement, content, audience, and more. You can boost an existing post for a small fee you choose to get onto new users' newsfeeds. You might want to build an ad for your website that pops up in Stories. You can even utilize the shopping feature on posts so viewers can buy directly from a post. Don’t be afraid to give your content a little extra boost to get discovered.

 

Protect Yourself When Selling Online

Trying to manage a social media presence for your business is a lot of work—it can be easy to overlook the risks that come with online selling. Afterall, your main focus should be on running your business and not on insurance claims. With ACT Insurance, you can be confident in your coverage and continue doing what you love, worry-free. 

We hope these 10 tips help you grow your business on Instagram. Do you have a tip or trick for running your social media? Share it with us in the comments below!

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With the start of festival season quickly approaching, you need to start preparing in order to make the most of every art event you attend this season. 2020 put a damper on our spring and summer markets, so you can bet the turn out for this year’s season is going to be great. You don’t want to miss out, and is here with some info on liability insurance and a few tips to help you make the best of 2021’s art festival season.

TIP #1: UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION

Is your contact information up to date? Have you checked to make sure your phone number and email are listed correctly online and on your business cards?

You’ll want to spend some time updating your information if anything has recently changed. If nothing has changed, be sure to proofread any new business cards or signage you’ll be using for the 2021 market season. You want your customers to be able to find your website and online store info as easily as possible.

TIP #2: STOCK YOUR INVENTORY

We’ve all had plenty of time to create and think of ideas for new products. Now is the time to make sure your signature pieces are fully stocked and prepped for your first show.

Most seasoned crafters and artists suggest you carry enough inventory to sell at least 8-10 times. the vendor fee. So if a show costs you $40 to get into, consider carrying anywhere from $360-$400 in merchandise. You know your business best, though. Maybe try looking at past sales from shows you attended a few seasons ago to see how much you sold and base your show inventory off that.

TIP #3: CREATE NEW SIGNAGE

New year, new business signage! Try amping up your signage by designing something new for your booth. Whether you want to create socially-conscious signs that remind people to be mindful of space or have a new color theme you want to use, new signage is the way to go.

You can usually design something online yourself or contact your local graphics or even UPS or FedEx store for help.

TIP #4: REARRANGE YOUR DISPLAY

In creating new signage for your booth you might also look into rearranging your booth display. If you’re currently keeping things basic and only using a few tables and tablecloths to display your products to the public here are a few ideas to step things up:

  • Using shelves to elevate products
  • Organizing items with storage cubes
  • Try displaying larger art with table easels
  • Hang items with clips and racks

TIP #5: FILL OUT APPLICATION FORMS

Have you signed up for the shows you know will start soon? You’ll need to fill out your exhibitor forms correctly in order to avoid any application mishaps that could result in your business not getting into the events you've chosen.

Be sure to read through your forms a few times and list accurate, up-to-date information. For the best outcome check to see if your show has an online application to avoid any complication.

TIP #6: GET INSURED

When filling out your forms and applications, you may realize you’re asked for proof of artist liability insurance. Event shows and promoters may even ask you to list them as an additional insured on your policy. Wherever you’re unsure in getting the right coverage or paperwork, ACT Insurance can help!

 

ACT Insurance offers artists, crafters, and tradesmen liability insurance that can protect you against financial loss associated with liability claims that arise out of your booth operations at a market, fair, or festival. Show policies start at $49 and you can also purchase annual policies starting at $265.

To learn more or get covered, visit ACT Insurance. today.

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Can We Help You With Social Media?

8869203470?profile=originalStarting in May of 2020 Art Fair Insiders has been producing podcasts and hosting Zoom meetings to help artists navigate the present day challenges of creating and selling their art. The first four meetings were hosted by Sharon McAllister from ArtFest Fort Myers. We discussed how artists can apply for economic relief through the government sponsored programs, PPA, SBA, CARES Act and Unemployment. Then we spent 3 episodes exploring how artists can utilize websites to promote their work online. The third phase was a series of podcasts on using popular social media applications to sell art.

Below you will find information about the people who volunteered their time and information to help artists move into the new normal and continue to find buyers for their work. Click into their websites to see how what they are doing can help you. 

1. Can a Website Sell Art?


2. Etsy. Is it a Fit for my Art?

  • 8869203282?profile=originalDavid Klenk is a custom furniture maker who has increased visits to his Etsy page by linking it to my product photo pins on Pinterest. He has not done a craft show or trade show since 2016. My first online sale was in 2006. I sell between $40,000 and $70,000 per year online.
  • Jackie Kaufman selling on Etsy since 2008 has two shops, a long established jewelry business and a newer shop with prints. She  successfully uses her social media posts on both Facebook and Instagram to bring customers to her Etsy Shops to be able to sell worldwide."

3. Facebook: Can it Help You Sell Your Art?

  1. 8869204058?profile=originalRichard Sullivan from Naples, FL, who says he has "literally been to Facebook College. I know it sounds crazy but they have spent countless hours working with me."
  2. Erik Jensen from Utah, who uses his very tech savvy skills to sell his art, created from computer keys, from his website and interconnected Facebook and Instagram accounts
  3. Dawn Wilson, a high altitude and high latitude photographer and writer from Estes Park, CO, who integrates her website, Facebook and Instagram to manage her sales and serve as president-elect of the North American Nature Photography Association. 

4. Instagram: How Can I Use it to Sell Art?

  • 8869203893?profile=originalCatherine Freshly, landscape painter: catherine@catherinefreshleyart.com , www.catherinefreshleyart.com ,  https://www.facebook.com/CatherineFreshleyArt/ ,  https://www.instagram.com/catherinefreshley/  Catherine Freshley is an acrylic landscape painter from Portland, Oregon. She worked at an advertising agency for seven years, focusing on digital advertising strategy and brand strategy. In addition to being passionate about painting, Catherine is dedicated to disproving the starving artist stereotype. Her Instagram followers appreciate her candid approach to talking about the business side of being an artist and her digital resource guides for artists. available on her website, share the expertise that allowed her to quit her full-time job and earn more as an artist. 
  • Jay McDougall, contemporary wood sculptor from Minnesota - www.jaymcdougall.com & www.artshow-artists.com; Facebook: JayMcDougallArtist & Artshow_Artists; Instagram: @JayMcDougallArt & @ArtShow_Artists
  • Renzo Iglesias, L’Harmonie Creative Jewelry, info@lharmoniejewelry.comI've dedicated a page for your community where I plan to share all of my extensive knowledge and step by step actions on what you can do now to drive your business forward using digital marketing strategies and social platforms like Facebook, Instagram & email marketing. https://www.facebook.com/pg/renzoiglesiasmarketing
    I've participated in over 200 art shows and events for the last 8 years. Along the way, I have always had this passion about what really makes people buy someone's art or craft. One could think, well, it just looks good. But, I knew that couldn't just be the only factor. This passion to learn has led me to discover important people in the digital marketing space that share not only marketing strategies and techniques but also psychological marketing. I have then invested my time, money and energy; learning all I could about the digital marketing space and tools like Instagram and beyond.


    My plan: I'm finally ready to give back to the community that has supported me all these years. I plan to give back value tenfold by sharing what has worked for me. I'm excited to share how I use Instagram to drive traffic to my site, find my audience, increase awareness, do customer research, have content generated for free, name my upcoming designs and most importantly, drive sales, all through this one platform called Instagram.
  • Dawn Wilson, photographer from Estes Park, CO:   www.DawnWilsonPhotography.com, Facebook: facebook.com/dawnwilsonphotography, Instagram: @dawnwilsonphoto, Twitter: @dawnwilsonphoto, YouTube: Dawn Wilson Photography is my channel name

 5. Pinterest: Can I Use It to Sell Art?

  • 8869204454?profile=originalOur guest Brian Reagan: "Pinterest is a gateway to my website that I can't duplicate with any other social media outlet. Before I kicked up Pinterest, I really didn't have a national audience.  I was limited to the individuals that we have met doing events in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. I am getting eyeballs that would never have found my website." His website: bhpltdohio.com 

The podcasts are always available at Art Fair Radio- https://www.blogtalkradio.com/artfairs and Apple podcasts at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/art-fair-artists-success-show/id440759328?mt=2

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8869153281?profile=originalLIVE PODCAST - JUNE 18, 1 PM EASTERN TIME

Part IV -  Marketing Art Through Social Media: Instagram

Instagram is a photo and video-sharing networking service owned by Facebook.  It was launched in October 2010. The app allows users to upload media and the posts can be shared publicly or with pre-approved followers. Users browse other users' content by tags and locations, and view trending content. Users can like photos and follow other users to add their content to a feed."  It has over a billion users.

8869202858?profile=originalBecause Instagram is all images and videos it is a perfect tool for artists to showcase their work and develop followers. The most successful Instagram users are artists who have networked with one another to share each others work. 

We have three great guests: a long time Instagrammer, a medium timer and a new user. 

  • 8869202687?profile=originalCatherine Freshley is an  painter from Portland, OR. She is dedicated to disproving the starving artist stereotype. Her Instagram followers appreciate her candid approach to talking about the business side of being an artist and her digital resource guides for artists.
  • Jay McDougall is a contemporary wood sculptor from Minnesota with a long history of exhibiting at the nation's best art festivals. In recent months in order to continue to earn his living with his art he has spent a lot of time online working on his own online skills and partnering with friends to build an Instagram empire. 
  • 8869202867?profile=originalDawn Wilson, a photographer and writer from Estes Park, CO, who integrates her website, Facebook and Instagram to manage her sales and serve as president-elect of the North American Nature Photography Association.
  • Renzo Iglesias, a jeweler from Florida who uses Instagram to drive traffic to his site, find his audience, increase awareness, and most importantly, drive sales.

 

As always, we appreciate your input - helpful tips, and questions. 

Call in at 1:30 - 805-243-1338

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8869098685?profile=originalLIVE - THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2 PM ET

A well functioning website can change your life. It is the art fair that never closes. It can reconnect you with a former collector of your art and expose it to a worldwide audience. It opens the door very wide to new opportunities and has the potential to change your life.

Did you hire a designer to create your site and now it is complete? Or maybe you did it yourself and it is nagging at you for attention again. Facing the fact that a website is never finished is one of the less pleasant facts of life. If you want your site to do its job (market/sell your art) then that requires regular refinements and updates, and sometimes a drastic overhaul.

This podcast focuses on examining your existing website. Some of the topics:

  • 8869200666?profile=originalIs your site up to date?  
    • What are the standards you need to meet?
    • Should you modify it to match the current design style?
  • Does your site fit your marketing plan?
    • Is it geared to your target customers?
    • How big should it be?
    • Should it be a store?
    • How often should you update?
    • How often should you revise it?
    • Are you collecting email addresses?
  • Getting Traffic
    • What you need to know about Google 
    • Using Social Media
  • Q & A

8869193867?profile=originalOur guest is veteran web designer Franklin Piuck, Cyberhenge.com, Web Design for the Arts and Small Business. Frank's own interests and contacts have caused him to develop a customer base largely involved in fine arts, designer crafts, and specialized antiques and collectibles. (Reach Frank directly: fpiuck@cyberhenge.com, 973-616-6162)

Please note: on Tuesday, May 5 at 2 pm, Franklin Piuck is going to host a webinar where we will further explore your questions about your website. If you wish to be a participant in the webinar, we need to have your email address ahead of time so you can receive an invitation to participate. Please send to me: info@artfaircalendar.com

We really want your input on this podcast. Please put comments and questions in the box below.

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Some Resources for Artists in Need

Some of the discussions on various social media pages have revolved around resources for artists. Here are some that you may or may not have come across and may or may not be of use to you.

https://cerfplus.org/get-relief/apply-for-help/craft-emergency-relief-fund/

https://covid19freelanceartistresource.wordpress.com/

https://www.nyfa.org/Content/Show/Rauschenberg-Emergency-Grants

https://www.nyfa.org/Content/Show/Emergency%20Grants

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8869098685?profile=originalMONDAY, APRIL 6 - 1 PM ET

ArtFest Fort Myers under Executive Director Sharon McAllister's leadership, has initiated a plan to act as a clearinghouse to help artists interpret and access the financial services established under the new CARES Act. The law is meant to address the economic fallout of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Sharon is joined by professional accountant John Brodie of Comprehensive Accounting in metro Detroit.

John will be a meaningful participant for this podcast, not only because of his accounting background, but because he has been my accountant since 1980 and has advised us financially on our art fair business since then. He has seen the financial aspects of art fair artists lives first hand.

The CARES act includes SBA Economic Disaster loans and grants, a payroll protection plan and access to unemployment benefits to small businesses and individuals.  Some of its individual facets are SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, a Payroll Protection Plan and unemployment benefits.

What you will learn:

  • how the act supports small businesses
  • how and where to apply for the various programs
  • who is eligible and what determines that eligibility

But mostly we invite your questions and will build the podcast around your concerns. Please put them in the comments below or email to me: connie@artfaircalendar.com

Click here to listen

call in with your questions during the podcast: 
(805) 243-1338

Find quick answers to your concerns on the ArtFest Fort Myers website.

NOTE: none of us are giving legal; tax; accounting; unemployment or similar advice. Contact your accountant and banker for your own situation. The final regulations have not yet been written and banks & unemployment offices are scrambling to get new benefits implemented. Patience will be needed.

A sobering fact: 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.

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Attending the Krasl Art Fair in St. Joseph, MI, last weekend I gave myself a photo assignment: find booths where the artists are not using standardized setups such as Pro Panels and see if I can find some that were designed by the exhibitors. Frankly I had trouble getting good shots -- way too many people in these booths :)

8871500283?profile=originalWoodworker Peter Czuk's, booth. He made these interchangeable panels that adapt easily to different sites. I wouldn't like this if there was a storm, but Peter's been in the business a long time and I'm sure he would set them up differently if the weather forecast wasn't so benign. I like also that he can repaint them a new color any time and change the look.

8871885058?profile=original8871885680?profile=originalJohn Gutoskey's mixed media assemblages -- he has the mesh panels on the outside but has used the velcro to add panels that really set off his work. The side walls are white and the accent walls are red.

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8871885472?profile=originalJewelry booth of Kara Aubin and Daniel Juzwiak -- I know jewelers are always looking for good ways to display. What I liked about this booth was the different levels of the cases and the shadow boxes on the walls. It felt like a boutique that you wanted to explore.

8871342683?profile=originalFiber work by Ana Petercic - Another case where you could wander around and explore the different parts of her booth. Also, if you notice the gold panels they complement the work, plus have a function with the poles run through the tabs to display the hand painted work.

8871885882?profile=original8871885501?profile=originalWooden orbs from Daniel Keith - nothing manufactured here. Obviously Daniel has an advantage here since he is a fine woodworker, these are all finely milled wood panels. Nice presentation, isn't it?


8871886657?profile=originalLou Michaels' mixed media work. I'm not pleased with this photo -- but basically Lou had this very tall booth with about five pieces of work. It is a standard tent but he had these huge pieces of white fabric covering each wall and doing his best to make the booth look like a gallery. It really worked and the presentation was excellent, no Pro Panels, just plain clean walls.  (The work is bronzes on a shelf attached to vintage photos that replicated the bronzes)

8871886076?profile=original8871886269?profile=originalMetalworking by Jon Michael Route - a totally handmade booth, hollow core doors and pedestals that he made -- again paintable for when he wants to change his look.

8871886853?profile=original8871886296?profile=originalDigital art by Joy Wallace. Joy told me that many years ago both she and her husband were traveling in one van to shows with two bodies of work so she devised this set up. She bought canvas, gessoed it and then painted it in complementary colors for her work. The panels just roll up and are easy to store and carry. It was very pretty. I have done this also when we needed an extra wall for a special display.

8871886684?profile=originalDonald Shelton - metals: clearly a blacksmith and woodworker, Donald made these panels which look great with his work from galvanized metal with weathered wood framing. A most unusual booth with the perfect look for his work.

8871887261?profile=originalLeroy Bayerl - Wood: all wood display that Leroy built to showcase his work, note all the levels, which lead the eye from piece to piece

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Ceramics by Glynnis Lessing - really pretty display that showcases the work beautifully. All hand made at very little expense. They bought the galvanized pedestals at a nursery and figured that if they didn't make it at the art fairs they would have some nice pots for the garden! Don't you love that picture window (that has an actual screen it it!) that accentuates the view of Lake Michigan?

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Candra Boggs - Mixed Media 2D: This work which is created on wood, looked pretty cool in the all wood paneled booth -- not something you'd want to haul around the country, as it would be pretty heavy, but it was a nice presentation.

8871887489?profile=originalBrian Jensen paintings - lightweight plywood panels set in metal frames. Brian said the metal frames are really easy and inexpensive. He designed them and had a welder put them together. He can paint the panels to work with his color palette.

8871887292?profile=originalBut I am admitting that this display on Pro Panels was quite nice - photography by Chris Dahlquist

 

Do you have a booth that you have made yourself? I'd love to see it. Post it below.

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Do you "like" this post? Let's move it around the web and share this good work with others. Click on the "like" button below.

 

 

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Pandemics, Art Fairs and the Coronavirus

8869200467?profile=originalDo we have an app for that? Nope, but Mark Loeb has some common sense ideas on how to handle the disruptions that may be in your future, whether artist or show organizer. Mark is trying to get ahead of the problem and has instituted a comprehensive approach for his 2020 events. Granted, most events have a cancellation policy already in place, but this new challenge calls for reinventing the policy.

CANCELLATION POLICY for Integrity Events

We are pushing back payment deadlines to six weeks prior to each show.

What happens if you cancel after paying your booth rent? 

Six weeks before move in- We will issue a full cash refund.

Three to six weeks before move in- You may elect a 50% refund or a free booth at next years show.

Within 3 weeks of move in- No refunds (we will have paid all of our bills and likely won't be able to replace you). If you have a health issue we will consider that and try to help.

• What happens if we cancel, or are forced for health and safety reasons to cancel?

Six weeks before move in- We will issue a full cash refund.

Three to six weeks before move in- we will return two thirds of your booth rent and apply the balance to next year at that same event.

Within 3 weeks of move in- No cash refunds (we will have paid all of our bills). We will apply this year's rent to the next three years- 1/3 each. That way you will get your refund and we will still have enough to run the shows properly each year.

 

REASONING

In a move designed to give artists more security and peace of mind, Integrity Shows, which organizes the Belle Isle Art Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair, just announced a new policy in case the coronavirus hits metro Detroit and requires cancellations of events

The new policy provides artists with clear, time-based  reimbursement or credits on booth rents for Integrity art fairs, and extended deadlines to pay for shows.   “We want artists to feel supported and protected, in these uncertain times,” said Mark Loeb, president of Detroit-based Integrity Shows.  “And we want to be the most artist-centric shows, and proactive, thoughtful and transparent in how we run our art fairs.” 

The new policy applies specifically to Covid-19 and applies to the 2020 season only. Full details of the announced policy are shown below.

“Despite some close calls, we have been fortunate in 23 years of art fairs never to have canceled an event,” Loeb said.  

Integrity Shows organizes fine juried art fairs in and near Detroit and creative community cultural events including the Kensington Art Fair on Memorial Day Weekend, Palmer Park Art Fair June 6 and 7; Belle Isle Art Fair Aug. 1 and 2 and the Funky Ferndale Art Fair in September.   All the art fairs are run in partnership with local nonprofits, parks organizations and community groups. 

More information is at https://www.integrityshows.com.

Contact Mark directly: mark@integrityshows.com

What is happening around the world: 

An Update on How COVID-19 Is Impacting the Art World

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8869153281?profile=originalListen live: Monday, Feb. 24, 5 pm, ET

The two most important things about earning a living in the art fair business:

  1. Getting into the event
  2. Having work that people will buy once you're there 

Co-host, Cindy Lerick, CFEE, joins Connie Mettler for a nuts and bolts discussion about the jury process for art festivals. Cindy is one of the only show directors who has managed 4 major shows, Uptown in Minneapolis, Main Street in Fort Worth, the Saint Louis Art Fair and the Sausalito Arts Festivals. In addition for many years she has traveled to event's juries for ZAPP to be 8869203071?profile=originala Tech help.

There are many variables from show to show. Most show directors don’t know how others shows run their jury. Some have plenty of discussion, some have none, some have no directions given to the jurors. Scoring systems, projection, length of time, selection of jurors, there is no standard. We'll explore some of these variances.

A few topics we'll address:

  • 8869202899?profile=originalWhat is the difference between a projection jury and monitor jury?
  • How the jury ties into the show's look
  • Who is the competition?
  • Are the jurors the same from year to year?
  • Do show directors jury their own show?

Questions galore! We encourage your participation. We want to hear from you. Will you please put any questions you'd like answered in the comments below? Or send them to me in an email.

If we get enough questions we'll host another live podcast where you can speak with Cindy directly. 

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Podcast: What is America's Best Art Fair

8869153281?profile=originalFriday, December 13, 1 pm ET

ArtFairCalendar.com has tallied all the votes in our 2019 Best Art Fair survey (8th Annual). We had a record number of participants reporting in the favorites. The goal of the survey is to encourage "art fair tourism", bringing art lovers "52 Weeks of Art Fairs", coast to coast. 

There were many changes in the Top Ten this year with new events entering the ranks. Please listen as we speak with the art fair directors from those events (it's a secret who they are at the moment) and ask them this question:

     8869197052?profile=original  "What is special about your event that would bring people to travel to attend? Give up a day or more to be on the streets of your city?"

Then -- we'll announce the Top Ten.

This will be informative and upbeat especially as we all need good news! 

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8869189664?profile=originalThursday, March 7, 6 pm ET: Part II - Using Facebook to connect with your buyers and sell your work.

Back by popular demand artist Dave Emmons joins me to talk specifically about turning all those people hanging out on Facebook into your customers. Dave has over 85,000 followers on Facebook and has cut his show schedule from over 30 a year to only 4. Will Dave's tips work for you?

This podcast is a strategy session highlighting why Facebook works and why it is powerful. It contains step by step tips that are solid, time-tested and exciting. We talk about an overall marketing plan, a road map,  that goes beyond the free easily accessible Facebook tutorials, to detailing how to utilize the FB tools to  strategically impact your sales. Plus specific examples of how to make it work for you.

  • 8869190299?profile=originalWe'll learn the specifics of how to use Facebook to identify fans.
  • What FB tools to use to tap into the exact demographic of potential fans. 
  • How to use the specific analytics and stats from FB to refine and target advertising 

The purpose of this podcast is to give you the tools so you can start today to take advantage of the huge Facebook platform of 2 billion monthly active users who use Facebook each and every month. Surely even a small percentage of those users can become your audience.

Dave's website: https://www.vermontnaturecreations.com/

His Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hangingwatergardens/

Please post questions below for Dave.

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Can you spare 7 minutes of your life to help the art fair community?  Let me convince you.

Below you will find some very interesting facts about www.Artshowreviews.com?   I have spent some time evaluating the information from the website from 2018 that I would like to share with you.   Take a look.  I think you will find some very interesting facts.   Please consider giving back to the Art Fair Community with a review or two ( about 7 minutes per review).

 

Fact #1:  We now have 643 Art and Craft Shows listed on our site.  We have shows throughout the entire country.  

Fact #2:  We have 7 states that do not have any art and craft shows listed at all.  The states of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia have never had a show review submitted for them, thus those states have not been added.  We sure would appreciate having some reviews for those states.  

Fact #3:  The state with the largest amount of shows listed on our website is Florida.  That probably isn't a big surprise.  We have 84 shows listed on our site in Florida.  Coming in send place is Illinois with 49 shows.

Fact #4:  We have 25 states with 10 or less art and craft shows listed. 

Fact #5:  We have three states with only one art or craft show listed for them.  Those states are Arkansas, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.  Anybody have a show they can submit for these states? 

Fact #6:  We have one show listed for Canada.  We know they have shows up there.  Does anyone have a show and a review that they could add to that page to make it more valuable?

Fact #7:  We actually have a European page with one show listed.  Has anyone done an European shows yet?  We would love to add a couple shows to that page.

Fact #8:  Since our website went live we have had 1,155,274 page views.  That is amazing!  We know artists are using our website.  We need new reviews so that our site remains useful and needed.

Fact #9:  In the last 30 days, 12/12/18 - 1/12/19, we have had 11,964 page views.  Of course, this is a time when many artists are using our site to put the finishing touches on their show schedules. 

Fact #10:  We usually average about 381 page views per day.  In fact, we had had 111 page views by 11am today.  Artists were up early and working today. 

Fact #11:  Ninety two reviews or comments were left on ASR during 2018.  Of course, many people use our website without ever leaving a comment or writing a review.  Of the 92 comments left, 58 of those were actual show reviews using our list of questions to answer for the shows.  Those 58 reviews are more useful to artists.

Fact #12:  In the last year we had 143,568 page views.  Of those over 143 thousand visitors only 58 times did artists leave a review.  Certainly we can give back to the art community better than that.  

Fact #13:  The average show review probably takes about 7 minutes to write.  The form is right there on our website and you just fill it in.  Easy peasy!

Fact #14:  To submit a show review click on this link: 
     https://www.artshowreviews.com/review-an-art-fair.html

Fact #:  To submit a show that is not on our website click this link:  
https://www.artshowreviews.com/art-show-listing-submission.html

One person who visited our website left this comment:

How come so many of the posted show reviews are from 2-5 years old? Can't you supply some more updated review information from artists that have done the shows. After all, many shows go through changes from year to year.

My answer back to this person was sure, we would love to add more current and up to date reviews for each show.  However, if the artists don't submit the reviews I can't add them.  Our website will be as useful to artists if everyone does their part.  It is only 7 minutes!

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Tell me the truth. Are Art Shows dying or not?

Like some other old timers, I've  been doing shows for 30 years and after some breaking in, sales during the 90s and early 2000s were great!!! Sausalito, Ft. Worth, Sun Valley, about 17 per year and sales were booming. Then 9/11 and later the recession of 2008 I noticed my sales were HALF of the usual. I also noted that the booth fees did not dip, nor the hotels, or gas or food. So each show was a gamble after that time. Dave Piper may have had it right- Bayou City may be dead in a few years. How can a show in a city of 2+ million (+ surroundings) get a gate crowd of only 20,000. Yeah no parking. Well solve it!!! Bayou City should get at least 100,000 many with oil money. And after Harvey, people's walls will need clothing so to speak. If I'm right, I think most artists are hurting for great sales again. If I heard this once I heard it a zillion times, "My walls are full, I can't buy more art." Hey let me come to your home and take some of that awful shit you have and put mine up!" Needless to say the sale did not happen. So if the seniors are not buying wall art (art on a stick? give me a break), what are the millenials buying and from where. Well I hear the millenials are buying prints online for cheap with frames or at shows they buy cutting boards, bowls, hard stuff that is useful.

It is very discouraging to see a national trend go south like this. Is this true for you? And as art fairs do worse, other bright eyes start a new one to entice us but then the old adage, "Never, ever, never do a first year show (unless it is free)". 

At Bayou City in Memorial Park, out of 20,000 attendees I see virtually 25% as teens and volunteers with no money just dorking around.

It makes me start to consider money laundering or campaign finance so I could retire.

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On Purchasing a Fair/Festival Tent

Well, I finally bit the bullet.  I bought a tent so I can go to art fairs and festivals.  It was a pretty penny, to be sure, but I plan on having it for many many years, and I got a lot of features that I find appealing.  Thought I'd share what I went through to make it happen...

 

There have been a lot of different things said about different types of tents, and everyone has their favorite brand.  There is a huge variety of different kinds of tents to choose from when you're thinking about making a purchase, and there are a lot of people out there willing to tell you exactly why you should choose their preference over another.

 

Being in the "clueless boat", I had no idea where to start.  There are a couple of great blogs that I started following, but Michelle Sholund's Quick Craft Artists Tips You Need to Know seemed to be the most interesting and helpful.  I also joined a forum, Art Fair Insiders, and found a helpful group of posters that were very willing to assist newbies as long as I took the time to explore the site for answers to my questions that had already been given numerous times.  I had an unfortunate run-in with a flamer who tried to stir up trouble, but the forum proved her completely out of character and really stepped up to make me feel welcome.  I wrote about it in my blog post, here.

 

trimline_awnings_1_640.jpg

So today, I just had to put my money where my mouth is and dive in.  I bought a 10x10 TrimLine tent from flourishdisplays.com.  I'm very happy with my choice.  I had lots of alternatives--Light Domes, Craft Huts, EZ-Ups...  I decided that I was going to potentially have a lot of weight mounted to the walls of the tent with gridwalls, etc, so I opted to go for something a bit sturdier than an EZ-Up which can sometimes be a bit flimsy (I've read).  That, ultimately, was the motivating factor behind my decision to purchase a TrimLine tent instead of other brands.

 

Ease of assembly was not an issue for me--I was a Boy Scout for a while (albeit a short while) and I'm quite capable of putting up tents.  And as  long as I'm organized, I'm pretty sure the tent assembly process is not going to be a burden.  I'd watched the videos.  I'm feeling pretty good about it.  So that meant the ease of assembly for an EZ-Up tent was a non-issue, and their main selling point was moot on me.

 

It really boiled down to whether a Light Dome was my choice or a TrimLine.  And the TrimLine simply seemed sturdier and had more features that I could choose.  I got more structural stability, a semi-translucent roof so I don't have to worry about lighting too much, and some awnings that are really going to be nice.  And I was able to purchase it at a height of 8 feet, not the standard 7 feet.

 

Yes, I'm sure the Light Dome has all these options, too, but I would have had to ask in a phone call how much they cost, and I didn't want to have to debate things with a salesperson.  Instead, I simply called up TrimLine in Florida (a far cry from San Diego--shipping is going to kill me), talked with Luke and told him everything I wanted, and it was done.  Luke was nice, affable, and extremely helpful.  He offered some great advice, and walked me through the whole thing.

 

Ultimately, I don't anticipate that there is much price difference between the Light Dome and the TrimLine when you add everything up. And both are in Florida, so I couldn't save money on shipping either way...

 

So.  It's done.  I'm sure there are lots of people that may say, "You should have done this or that or the other thing," but I refuse to have buyer's remorse!  I have been planning the layout of my tent for a long long time, and I'm really excited about having the opportunity to practice packing everything into my little Nissan Cube and assembling it all, then disassembling and packing it all away again...  I have been contemplating display mechanisms for a while and fleshing out the "look" that I want.  I still have a lot of exploring that I want to do (mirrors, hanging display forms, battery-powered lighting) but I'm not worried.  I feel like I have a starting point to work with now.  And that makes it less conceptual and more real.  Buying the tent has provided some limitations which I can work within, which in the end actually become "de-limitations" because they allow me to move forward.

 

Whew!  Now to start exploring local farmer's markets and street fairs--the next steps toward actually getting myself out there, and then on to bigger and better art festivals.

 

Time to get back to the studio!  Live Life with Relish!

Image from Flourish.com.

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Being told our position on a wait-list

So frustrating trying to comprehend why providing artists their jury score and position on the wait-list of an event is such a difficult task for shows to perform.  A few do, very much to their credit and thank you to each and every show that does so.  Most do not.  Some actually get a pissy if you ask for the position on the wait list.

First point, we paid a jury fee for the jury process and that jury score.  Did we not?  And for that $25 to $50 jury fee, are we out-of-line to expect to be provided our jury scores, cut-off scores, and thus where we stand on a wait-list?  I hope show Directors will wade in on this with their rationale.  Educate us why they do not think this is valuable to us, or why they do not have the money to do so.

If a show is truly and honestly juried, each artist has been scored by each juror, those scores totalled to determine who is in, who is out and - who is wait-listed. That score determines what their position is in their medium - and on the wait list, does it not?  

As for communicating that information it has bee provided historically by some shows, probably currently is being done by some, and absolutely positively in this age of computers and the internet - CAN BE DONE.  Broadripple used to put the scores by individual jurors online based on application ID - maybe they still do.  Des Moines used to send out a PDF of the individual jury scores - maybe they also still do so.  Uptown used to send out paper forms with individual juror scores.  Most show do not bother, some  say do not even bother asking as we will not tell you. 

As artists, we realize we will not get into all the shows we really hope to have on our schedule.  Duh.  So we typically apply to multiple shows on the same weekend so we have hope of getting juried into at least one of those events.  Increases our cost of doing business substantially but under the current business model of how most shows are runs, seems unavoidable.  Shows have different application dates, different jury dates and different pay-your-booth-fee-by dates. Some shows refund if you withdraw before the event, some depending on how far out from the event, and others just do not refund your booth fee once it is paid.

I say this last part because that, IMO, is the chief reason for shows to let you know where you are on a wait-list (besides the "we paid for it in the jury/application fee" argument). If we are wait-listed, and another show says "come on down!" and they have a non-refundable booth fee policy, it would be nice to know where we are on a wait-list for the show we most hope to do, would it not?  If we were #1 or #2 is it not a completely different question to wrestle with than if we are #8 or #20 on the wait list? (yes, shows do now have wait-lists that exceed the total number of artists in that medium in that event - sometimes by up to a factor of 2 or 3!).

So this is the communication/courtesy factor:  if we are so far down on the wait-list that given how far down a show has historically ever gone, why not let us know our position on the wait-list and how far down you have ever gone on the wait-list so we can make a meaningful decision to either commit elsewhere or hold out - or even drive to the show and see if a spot opens at the last minute if we are high on the wait-list?  If show Directors and Promoters truly care about the artist base and the success of artisans, is this an unrealistic expectation?  To provide us what we paid for and what we need to make our economic/business decisions?

I think that is a rhetorical question.  It is not an unreasonable request.  Though I open the door to be convinced otherwise.

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8869097853?profile=originalTHURSDAY - MAY 11, 6 PM ET

Veteran travelers (and cheapskates) share their secrets for traveling and scoring lodgings frugally. This podcast has useful information for all of us who travel a lot or whose goal is to be on the road. 

Artists Melanie Rolfes, jeweler Margaret Aden and photographer Evan Reinheimer tell how they really score. Learn their insider secrets of leveraging Air BnB, VRBO, Hilton Honors Points, KOA, couch surfing, Corporate Lodging cards, Ebates, loyalty rewards programs and so many more tips to save you money and have more fun on the road! 

There is a mother lode of information and places to get deals: Priceline.com, Trivago, Booking.com, kayak.com, HotelTonight, Hotwire -- getting kickbacks along the way to fund the next trip is one of the favorites. Click here to listen.

We'll do a Part 2 to this podcast about RV's and camping. I've found there is just too much to cover in this one program.


I know we've got lots of experts on this topic. What is one of your best tips?

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Is Anyone Here Earning a Living?

8869097853?profile=originalNext podcast: January 31, 5 pm ET

The premise: As a "new" artist attempting to earn a living at the nation's art fairs I often think about the business side of things. People are surprised that I even attempt the notion of doing it full time... without a pension! 

We speak with art fair artists who actually pay the bills and make a living, BUT they do so without a pension or some other significant source of income. In other words, these are people who figured out how to be profitable at art fairs! Are there people like that? This is a very practical nuts and bolts discussion of entrepreneurship. Creating art and earning a living with it are two separate endeavors.

Our guests will be long timers and new people just starting to hit the road.

If you would like to be on the panel please let me know. If you have questions you'd like discussed add them in the comments below. 

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I really liked Oscar's latest post. It got juices rolling about next year. Gas prices, soaring stocks, more disposable income, all great topics.Two things missing from this prognostic discussion ( good word to use in Scrabble, Barry).One, the factor of too many A/C shows everywhere.Two, the dumbing down of America about appreciating art. The present generation could give rats-doodles about art. Electronics rule, wall art comes a poor second. Craft always has a chance, especially traditional work.I started in the 70's, prospered thru the 80's, started to see the slow unraveling in the 90's.After the tech balloon bust in 1999, and the recession in 2008, it has been an uphill battle to keep one's head above water.Now we enter 2017.Here are some of my thoughts.Chew on them, then give us all some feedback. Our lives depend on it.First off, you can not go blindly and stick your head into the ground and ignore the fact that there are too many outdoor art/craft shows going on at any moment and in any community.To give you my basis. I know not everyone knows me.I do 33-36 shows per year nationwide. Have done so since 1974.I am a photographer.I dance to my own drum. I do not always do the cliche or the traditional.In the 70's, while I was mostly in Hawaii and had just returned to Florida, I showed mostly black and white images of: guys surfing in Hawaii, naked women posing in exotic waterfalls, and guys growing outrageous Ganga from Hawaii. My best sellers back then was "Billy Smelling the buds" and Fallen Angel ( a beautiful blonde naked woman lying on the beach).In the 80's I transistioned to flamingos and Art Deco. I started doing color images. I could barely make a living doing b/w. My name was not Ansel Adams.I took my little plastic flamingos and stuck them in railings overlooking Niagara Falls. I shot the Deco buildings on Miami Beach. This was the "Miami Vice Era at Coconut Grove". You could take the residue from $100 bills and snort a line.I transistioned into the early 90's by combining b/w images with color images in collage form. Then under the influence of my wonderful wife, Ellen Marshall, I started putting pastels on my images.Beginning the new century my eye was drawn to strong lines in architecture and shooting neon images in the evenings.Now I do the architecture, but I have a whole new portfolio that came out of my open heart surgery in 2012.With a new physical body, came a new body of work. I started looking for iconic persons who I rendered in black and white images and then hand colored them using acrylic inks and oils.I have won a lot of awards in my time, over 400 at major shows. I have always made a profit every year. I do 33-36 shows per year, and I will be 72 soon.I just say all this, not to brag, but to hope you will listen to your elder, he knows some shit.First off, the middle class is never coming back again in our lifetimes. They will not be spending like in the past. Technology and politics has changed all that. Sorry, Oscar. Get what you can, but the numbers will never be there again.Secondly, the number of art shows will only proliferate. They are not going away. Too much profit for the promoters. Within 10 years you will see a $60-$75 jury fee for the biggies. A thousand dollar booth fee will be the norm for big shows,Problem is, for most of you, your sales will not ride up too.Too many shows. None of them feel precious anymore. Not unless you are in the really biggies.If you luck out and get into Winter Park, the Plaza, St. Louis Art Fair, Artisphere, Coconut Grove, et al., of course you are going to make some serious bucks. The serious art buyers are there. They want something very precious, very special, maybe even a little out of the box.Nowadays, it is very hard for an artist who does "art from the heart" to make it on the circuit. There are not enough buyers out there for them.Because we have lost so many serious artists we have lost the same customers who no longer come to the second and third tier shows. Those artists have been replaced withe the more traditional and commercial artists. And also the rising plague of buy/sell that now inhabit our industry.This trend will continue in 2017. Only the strong will survive. Yeah, if you do out of the box, art, you might survive if you get into a lot of the top tier shows.If you do traditional art, you will survive more easily, no matter at what level you show.Unfortunately, the more commercial artists will continue to flood our arena, which only keeps us one scant level from the flea markets.Before you all get pissy and aghast with my last statement, let me expound.All I am saying is that the outdoor shows are becoming a difficultvenue anymore for a fledgling artist to try. Fees are very high. Failure, of sales, can easily set you back mucho bucks. The traditional and commercial will always surviveSo, 2017 looms ahead.Trump or not, it is a tough time to sell original art outdoors in America.My advice.Create your own unique form of art that lets you stand out from the herd.Be willing to try new areas to sell your work.Be flexible.It is a marketplace. Keep your prices realistic.Be willing to negotiate. Do not lose the sale. It pays the rentStay vigilant, learn from others.Read my blogs, check out my past ones. I have a lot of good info. I am still standing, I have seen hundreds drop off by the wayside. Gee, maybe I know something.Mele Kelikemaka everyone.Mat Hatala knows that one..
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The Best Art Fairs in America - 2016 winners

8869175295?profile=originalArtFairCalendar.com has announced the results of its 4th annual "America's Best Art Fairs" survey. This survey is the only national online listing of the country's juried art fairs and craft shows, designed to reward the festivals that create opportunities for artists to sell their work.

The study opens the voting beyond the traditional "art fair insiders" such as artists and show organizers to focus on voting by art fair patrons, fine art collectors and the public that attends art shows and festivals nationwide, every event needs these 3 groups of people to make it work: show organizers, artists and the art buyers.

We asked our mailing list of over 55,000 art fair patrons what was the best art fair in the country and had an outstanding nationwide response. Nearly 90% of the respondents completed our lengthy 25 question survey and the answers were both expected and intriguing. 

The winners reflect who voted. The winning shows shared the survey, got their constituents involved and knew that the resulting PR would pay off for their event. Just like in any election its all about getting out the vote. 

Best City for Art Fairs: Chicago

8869168066?profile=originalChicago has it all, indoor and outdoor art fairs.  10 of this city's shows were voted into the Top 50, with 6 of them in the Top 20. Congrats to this city full of art lovers. Making a trip to the Windy City? Plan it so you too can catch an art festival. Our list of Chicago events.

Our #1 art fair is the Old Town Art Fair for the second year in a row.
The show earned more than double the votes of any other event.

Survey said:

  • The setting is fantastic in the historic Old Town Neighborhood. It has a wide variety of artists with high quality art. We buy art here always.
  • great art, great city - What could be better than Old Town Chicago????
  • PERFECT mix of art, culture, food and FUN

2016 AMERICA'S BEST ART FAIRS - the Top Ten

  1. Old Town Art Fair, Chicago, June 10 & 11, 2017

  2. The Ann Arbor Art Fairs, Ann Arbor, MI (all 4), July 20-23, 2017

  3. One of a Kind Show and Sale, Chicago - Dec. 1-4, 2016

  4. 7c5d3be6-c9b8-4733-8c99-6cddad40a504.png?width=350Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Winter Park, FL- March 18-20, 2016 (image at right)

  5. La Quinta Arts Festival, La Quinta, CA - March 2-5, 2017

  6. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original, Ann Arbor, MI - July 20-23, 2017

  7. *Saint Louis Art Fair, Saint Louis, MO - Sept. 8-10, 2017

  8. *St. James Court Art Show, Louisville, KY - Oct. 6-8, 2017

  9. Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Denver, CO - July 3-5, 2016

  10. *Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, Cedar Key, FL - April 8 & 9, 2017

Our entire Top 50 art festivals, a year round listing to encourage "art fair tourism":  www.BestArtFairs.com

* - new to the Top Ten

At that link also find

  • who took the survey
  • why people come to art shows
  • what they buy, why they buy and why they don't come to some shows any more, including a lot of great tips for show organizers.

8869097853?profile=originalFor more anecdotal information listen to a recent podcast with Lynn Smith, vice chair of the Old Town Art Fair, where she shares her insights on why the OTAF garners so much enthusiasm throughout the greater metropolitan area, making it a "must attend" event. Art buyers from Florida and Ohio also join us to tell us why they attend art fairs and buy art. Winners! 2015 Best Art Fairs

8869174883?profile=original

Show directors, we have prepared an extensive report full of 

helpful information with insider information from experts who already know how to produce a successful art fair including: 

  • Our analysis of the extensive survey results and how to use them to make your show a "best art fair"
  • 5 Important Keys to a Successful Art Fair +++
  • Our 5 favorite ideas for encouraging buyers to attend

Click here for more info.

See the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/

ArtFairCalendar.com's mission is to promote the American tradition of art fairs by showcasing events where art collectors find hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind fine work and encourage the interaction of client and creator. 

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