So you've always wondered what it would be like to be an artist and show and sell your work around the country at weekend art shows? Here are some tips that can increase your chances of succeeding.
1. Visit the Art Shows First
You may not always have the luxury of visiting each and every art show before you apply for acceptance. After all, if you visit before applying, you'll have to wait another year to participate (if you are accepted) and most of us are not that patient. However, when you can visit the show first and talk to participating artists, you will get a feel for whether or not this is a show in which you wish to participate. Be up front with the artists that you talk with and ask a few questions. Most will be happy to answer your questions if they sense your honesty and sincerity and you don't distract them from those who visit their booth. After all, they are there to show and sell their work, not to act as your show researcher. With their permission, ask how long they have been doing these types of shows? Is this considered a good show? Was it hard to get in? Is the fee reasonable? How is the attendance? Are the show hours long enough, too long, or just right? Was the set-up and take down schedule suitable? What do you like about this particular show? What do you not like about it? Do you plan to return next year? There are a number of other questions that could be asked, but please respect the artist's time.
Some events that bill themselves as art shows or even arts and craft shows end up with a lot of questionable "art" booths that are not really art at all. If the "art" show has more than it's share of artists who make foam rubber alligators on a coat hanger or rubber band gun crafters, it's probably not that high quality of art show. That is not to say that there is not a place for these products. There are many large festivals that attract huge crowds that have all kinds of vendors from artists and crafters to cosmetic salespeople to sausage-on-a-stick vendors. Don't knock these venues, just be aware that you will encounter a lot of folks at these events who may have little or no interest in your art. The good thing is that you will encounter a lot of folks and sometimes that's what it takes to find a few gems who will make your efforts worthwhile. I have experienced successes at both types of venues and I have come up short on occasion, as well.