Art Fair Insiders

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

Podcast: Show Directors Share Marketing and Sales Ideas

Tuesday, August 12 - 5 pm ET

Sharon McAllister, Executive Director of ArtFest Fort Myers joins Sara Shambarger, Director of Art Fairs at the Krasl Art Center's Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff to share their experiences. The two of them have been in the art fair business for over fifteen years each, travel to visit other art fairs and have a wide perspective on creating a community-wide event that facilitates "buy-in" by the local population and vie to make their shows the artist's "favorite."

How does an art festival market their event to the public without big name entertainers, wine tasting areas, children's stages, interactive activities for fairgoers? In other words, strictly an art fair.

This show will have strategic information that will be useful to artists and show organizers

We'll talk about:

  • what they do to make an art fair attractive to buyers and how artists are their partners in doing this
  • how artists can help them in their mission to bring buyers to the shows
  • what they think artists can do to maximize their sales 
  • the challenges they face marketing tthe events during "high season" in their resort communities
  • how to bring in an audience when the focus is solely on the art fair, without big name entertainers, wine tasting, road races, zumbathons, stilt walkers, intrusive sponsor booths

Click here to listen

If you have questions you'd like me to ask, please leave them in the comments below.

Would you like to speak with us during the show? Then call in 805-243-1338

Views: 764

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on August 12, 2014 at 12:28pm

I've not spent much time looking into Krasl since we're most likely never going to be in Michigan again during the summer (we don't like summer shows since it's most likely going to be too hot.) But what I see on ArtFest Fort Myers website is interesting and informative, and I'd just like to thank them for having such interesting tips offered there. It really shows that they're thinking about having a successful show with successful artists and satisfied patrons. WOOHOO!

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 12, 2014 at 1:19pm

Barrie, they do have one of the best art fair websites with so many helpful links for artists and intriguing marketing for the patrons. Good for you for noticing.

Comment by Scott Pakulski on August 12, 2014 at 11:02pm

I keep getting rejected by Krasl... no more applying to that show...

Comment by Lianne Westcot on August 13, 2014 at 9:41am

I missed sending this question in time for the podcast, but would love to hear show organizers or jurors give tips on getting into shows.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 13, 2014 at 10:24am

I understand, Scott. Krasl is very hard to get into. They reinvite approximately 50% of the artists who are showing that year as a result of the "street jury" scoring, so that really cuts down on the # accepted. Nonetheless, it does turn over each year. 

Lianne, we didn't answer that directly, but if you click on the "Radio" tab at the top of the site it will take you to the page that lists all of our podcasts. You might particularly find answers in listening to "How Art Fairs Choose and Run Their Juries" (I talked to Mo Riley who runs the AA Street Art Fair, Lyn Sedlak Ford who runs Art in the Pearl and Jerry Gilmore who is a frequent juror for the shows) and also "Artists, Art Fairs & Zapp" where the guests were Leah Charney from Zapp, artists Larry Oliverson and Kathleen Eaton, who helped nurture Zapp into a useful tool for artists.

Comment by Barrie Lynn Bryant on August 13, 2014 at 11:08am

I listened live, Connie. Thanks for passing along the kudos to Sharon. It was somewhat informative for an artist, but it might have been better for a show director or volunteer or someone in the admin side to hear it. I almost called in to ask if Fort Myers charges the Friday night artists an extra fee for the Friday night gig. I'm not exactly for that kind of segregation, and if I decided to submit art (meaning that I'd be doing a winter tour rather than spring) for jury and got accepted, if we weren't invited for the Friday night gig I'd have to decline going to the show, or at least I think that's my take on it. Someone on AFI asked about the Telfair show since they offer more expensive booths ($200 more at $550) who get to participate in the Friday night event and then they have a much smaller group who only show Sat. and Sun. for the lesser fee (it's $350). I'm not keen on this idea for what should be obvious reasons.

Comment by Sharon McAllister on August 13, 2014 at 3:15pm


Thanks for the question. ArtFest Fort Myers opens about 1/3 of the art festival on Friday night - normal artist booths all in one section of the festival site. Artists can chose if they would like to be open Friday night as well as the weekend. Amazingly many chose not to take advantage of the extra selling time so it usually works out that everyone who wants to be included is. We would consider opening the entire art festival Friday night but many artists express the desire that they don't want us to do so as it makes the weekend too long for them.

Yes, we do charge an additional fee - it was $100 in 2014. The fee includes electric access for the evening - which doesn't come close to covering our cost to bring in the electric and all the access cabling. And in the case of about 40 artists out of the 70 participating it includes extra storage space behind booths. Artists who elect to open Friday night have an additional 4 hours of selling time compared to the other artists, 5,000 attendees, a slightly younger demographic mix of attendees (30ish +) and are immediately adjacent to our VIP Party with 800 well-qualified buyers.

Any other questions please ask. We love talking to artists.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 13, 2014 at 8:30pm

You are right, Barrie. This is good information, probably more tuned to show directors. The podcasts are intended to help all the players in the art fair business, not only the artists, but also the show directors. I also think it is good for artists to hear the directors of the shows they do (or want to do) talk about how they put their shows together. We need to know each other.

Sharon and Sara run very artist-friendly events and I like to let the listeners get to hear them and their sincere devotion to their events.

Comment by Connie Mettler on August 14, 2014 at 9:32am

and Lianne, some time ago I did a podcast with three artists who had an excellent track record of getting into top shows where they talk about what they do. Glassblower Andrew Shea, photographer Bruce Reinfeld and 2D mixed media artist Kathrine Allen-Coleman. You can listen to that here (or download to listen to it on the road):

Comment by Lianne Westcot on August 14, 2014 at 1:23pm

Connie, thank you for directing me to the podcasts. I listed to the one you recommended yesterday and it was helpful. I will listen to this one too!


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