Thursday, April 17, 2008

DOING ART SHOWS....Tips, Tricks and other info!

Art shows in my area (central Wisconsin) will be starting soon, so I thought it might be fun to share some ideas and experiences that I've encountered over the past 10 years of doing shows.

Here I am at a show I did about 5 years ago! I need to get a better picture!!

Many of you may just be starting out, or trying to decide if shows are something you would like to get into. I for one, LOVE doing shows as they let you meet so many fun, wonderful people! I enjoy the one-on-one contact with customers.

It does mean putting in long, long getting up at 4 a.m. and not getting home sometimes until 9 p.m. I'm very lucky as my sister, Dianne goes with me to all the shows and we have such a great time together! She is very talented at setting up and displaying my creations, into a very delightful way. Something which I don't have any patience for. I would love for all the little creatures to just jump up on the shelves by themselves! My sister, and best buddy below!


    When I started out 10 years ago, I applied to shows that were called "art and craft" shows, and after several years found that I needed to only apply to "art" shows, where people appreciated the time and energy that went into the design and creation of my work.

    Know your work...pick shows that will fit in with what you are creating. You can save yourself a lot of frustration and money in the long run.

    If possible, check out the show before applying for it. Get a feel for the type of work exhibited there, do the exhibitors look happy....are people at the show carrying packages, or are there a lot of unhappy looking artists sitting in their booths! Talk with the artists in the shows. Ask how long they have been doing the show, and what they think about it.

If you are just starting out, try several shows close to home so that you won't have the added expense of motel costs, eating out, and high fuel expenses. I know artists who have spent several hundreds of dollars doing a show out of state, or further away from where they live, and had all these expenses, only to have ended up just covering the shows expenses. This can be especially true in todays slow economic market.


  • Non-juried shows - these shows don't require an artist to submitt slides or photos to be judged to see whether they will let you in that particular show. Many craft shows fall into this category. Depending on what you make, some of these shows may work for you, and are easier to get into.

  • JURIED SHOWS - these shows require an artist to submitt slides, a few allow photos, and many of the better art shows are now using the ZAPP application method. ZAPP allows artist to upload their work onto the site, and once you have registered with ZAPP, you can use this information to apply to whatever shows accept this method, instead of having to send slides to each individual show. I have yet to use this method, but can certainly see the benefits of it. Juried shows charge a non-refundable jury fee, which can be anywhere from $5.00 - $40.00 in my area. This is a fee that a show charges to look at your work. Booth fees are separate and the amount can depend on your area, how long the show has been running, etc. As an example, a juried show in my area can run between $250.00 - $500.00 or more. Two of my best shows which I do, have a jury fee of $15.00, membership fee of $25.00, and a booth fee of $200.00. This is for a 2 day show.

In my next post, I try to cover some of the "must" equipment to have for a show, sources and other ideas.

If anyone has any comments or questions on the above, I'd be happy to hear from you.

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