Art Fair Insiders

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

In considering whether or not to apply to an art fair, every seasoned exhibitor will tell you to check out the details.  Look for the red flags of warning.  Interestingly, this one came to my inbox this morning, and they helpfully even already had it in red text.  How convenient.




I've seen more than a few artfairs in my time, and experience tells me that when a show "extends"  the application deadline--there's something wrong.

Possibly an exception: a recent facebook "posting error"  of deadline time (supposedly) was the reason given for the recent Cherry Creek extension.  The difference?  They opened it up for three hours to give the mislead ones a small window of opportunity to mend their ways. 

But the above included note in red--it's a mall show--in February, no less.  And they're extending the deadline out another week?

You may read into it what you want, but I've already done my reading. I'd say buyer beware.

Have a lovely day!

Later, Cooper


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Comment by Carol Larsen on December 14, 2011 at 2:29pm

That's where checking with previous vendors would really come in handy. I just dropped a show I have done for 5 years because of management - they run it like a church rummage sale. Nothing has changed - they think they are just fine...turnover is fairly high...and I just joined the turnover list. The one in charge who didn't wish to be officially in charge - get a clue - had the attitude - good enough.  It looks like a church rummage sale (nothing wrong with that) - but that is of a type and I don't wish to be associated with that. And no amount of trying to guide the ones managing it has changed a single thing. They ask many of us who are fairly seasoned and turn around and use the colored markers and cheap flimsy poster board to make signs...and well you get the gist. It takes a lot out of me to cancel an annual show...but I can't support their bad management habits anymore...sales have continually dropped - due to how the show "looks" to new attendees...heck I wouldn't return myself I can see all those vendors at other shows within the same driving distance 2 other times in the same year.  Sometimes people just shouldn't put on shows.

Comment by karen cooper on December 14, 2011 at 2:17pm


I wish I could tell you the problem was part of your first group of reasons.  Unfortunately, it's a seasoned director, doing it the same as she's always done it.

Comment by Carol Larsen on December 14, 2011 at 10:12am

Reasons: the person who was suppose to get the information out to artists may not have, dropped off the face of the earth, quit, got fired.

The people didn't understand how to market for artists and realized their mistake and are trying to make it right.

Its a new show, and everyone is still trying to figure it out.

There was a change in management and they wish to have a broader reach.

The list goes on....and then there is the: reverse.

Its time to check with last years artists to see what it was like and hopefully it is one of the previous reasons.

I had a show that I wanted to attend strictly because of where it was - I love the area. So, I vended the first year, and did double what I planned.

Second year, the person in charge of marketing dropped the ball, and I did half of the previous year. Attendance was a fraction of the first year - OUCH - didn't even break even but because it was part of a grouping of shows on the road when all were added together, it didn't help but it wasn't a total bust. But, because I was aware of the reason why, I am attending the third year. New management by paid staff - the town center is taking it over.  I am hoping for at least the 1st year sales but would appreciate even better.

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