Art Fair Insiders

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

John Leben
  • Male
  • Saugatuck, MI
  • United States
  • Digital
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John Leben's Discussions

For Sale: 10 + 2 Graphic Display System Display Panels - $500

Started Aug 9, 2016 0 Replies

I have ten 7-foot tall 37.5 inch wide sectional panels covered with black fabric from Flourish and two 7-foot tall 19.5 inch wide sectional panels, also covered with black fabric from Flourish. I…Continue

Looking for Used ProPanels in Midwest

Started this discussion. Last reply by John Leben Aug 19, 2016. 2 Replies

I'm in the market for light gray seven foot Propanels with all the needed attachments. I need nine of them. I'll probably wind up taking out a second mortgage (HA) and buying them new from Propanels,…Continue

Digital Printmaking

Started this discussion. Last reply by John Leben Apr 17, 2017. 22 Replies

Although the "Digital" category is gaining more widespread acceptance in the art world (and the art fair circuit), as a digital artist, I continue to battle misconceptions in the public eye. I…Continue


John Leben's Page

Profile Information

Your Medium
Years in the Art Fair Business
Off and on for 30 years
First show ever
Old Burton Place art fair in the 60s. Now the wells street art fair.
What is your website?
What are the best things about art fairs
To be able to sell my art and make a living on my own terms.
Best show ever and why
Recently, 2009 DES Moines art fair. Why? Perhaps because people attending looked forward to it every year and attended with the intention of purchasing something, unlike cities like Chicago that have an art fair every week-end so none of them are considered a special event.
Worst show ever and why
I remember a show in Muskegon, Michigan a few years ago when I didn't sell anything.
Who referred you to Please be specific.

John Leben's Photos

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John Leben's Blog

Six Florida Art Fairs for this Michigan Artist

Posted on March 18, 2019 at 11:00am 1 Comment

Every year Marcia and I head south for February and March to do art fairs in Florida. Lets face it, there are not very many opportunities to make money in the frozen north during the winter. Is it worth the trip? For me, it is worth it. In fact, the trip has become essential for us financially. We would have a lot of unpaid bills in the winter without the Florida art fairs. How did it go this winter? Results are mixed, but we were able to pay the bills, and we are coming home with some money…


Digital Artist Opens a Gallery: A 2-year Report

Posted on December 4, 2018 at 4:46pm 3 Comments

I've been doing art fairs for many years exhibiting my digital paintings (prints). A couple of years ago my wife, Marcia, and I opened an art gallery in the resort town of Douglas, Michigan, right across the river from Saugatuck. This area is billed as "The Art Coast of Michigan" and boasts 30-plus art galleries. We opened the gallery because we're getting old. After many years we finally figured out how to make money at art fairs, but they are so much work! More work every year. We thought,…


Peoria Art Fair

Posted on October 4, 2018 at 3:42pm 2 Comments

The Peoria Art Fair took place in a riverfront park in Peoria September 28-30. I had the pleasure of being the featured artist for this show, including the use of my images on posters, billboards, programs and a delightful mural-sized mosaic depiction of one of my paintings created by patrons of the art fair. In return for the show using my images, I was given a free booth in a great…


Winter Art Fairs for a Michigan Artist

Posted on March 13, 2018 at 11:37am 4 Comments

I'm from Saugatuck, Michigan. Needless to say, there is not a lot of opportunity to exhibit and sell in the cold North country during the winter months. Since we make our living selling art, and we can't make it through the winter without some sales, Marcia and I have been traveling to Florida every winter to exhibit and to reinforce the bank account. OK... it's not only the bank account, it's also a nice perk to get out of the cold and the snow. 

Some artists from the Midwest, who I…


Comment Wall (22 comments)

At 12:03pm on May 30, 2010, Connie Mettler said…
Welcome to, John. I'm pleased to see you here and look forward to getting to know you.

When you have a chance, please add a photo to your profile and stop by the Discussions area to introduce yourself. We all look forward to your participation here. Also visit the "member map" and add your location. We have a lot to offer one another, experienced and newbie alike. Let's make this a dynamic site!

Best wishes,
Connie Mettler

p.s. The best way to make this system easy to use is to click on the "Follow-Email me" link at the bottom of each Forum discussion that interests you. That way the system will email you automatically whenever anyone responds. It's a great time-saver.
At 7:15am on May 10, 2011, Nels Johnson said…
John on your post about 4 Bridges you mention it was your first time doing it, then you say you sold $2K-to$5K that is quite a range.  There is a big difference between a $2K show and a $5K show.  Which figure was more likely?  Just wondering.  Personally, I wouldnt travel all that way for $2K.
At 4:34pm on June 07, 2011, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
Many thanks for this support, John!
At 3:04pm on June 02, 2012, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
Many thanks, John, for your continued support.
At 4:23pm on June 02, 2012, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
Thank you for your generous support!
At 11:40am on September 10, 2012, Daniela Lo Presti gave John Leben a gift
Thanks for sharing your story.
At 3:01pm on October 17, 2012, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
Happy birthday, John. I hope you are thoroughly enjoying this beautiful fall day, walking the Lake Michigan shore and celebrating your life. Best wishes for a great year!
At 5:08pm on February 04, 2013, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
A gold trophy to you for all your contributions to the community at AFI -- your generosity and sharing and good thinking skills are a gift to all of us. Many thanks.
At 11:38am on March 25, 2013, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
Congrats on your Post of the Week Award - 3/25/13.
At 9:43pm on June 06, 2013, Connie Mettler gave John Leben a gift
John, thanks so much for all your support. Your help is appreciated!

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