Are you a prolific painter whose inventory of artwork is starting to pile up? Do you have a website, business card, artist statement and CV, but haven't sold as much art as you would have liked to? In addition to selling artwork on the internet and through gallery exhibits, maybe it's time to try a different venue, the summer art fair.
Here are 5 tips to consider when planning for your first summer art fair:
1. Attend several art fairs before deciding if you want to host your own booth space. Keep in mind that art fairs come in many different sizes and types. Your local chamber of commerce will be an invaluable resource for gleaning information about your city's services and upcoming events. Look for things such as volume of foot traffic, proportion of visitors who are purchasing as opposed to only looking at products, art fair themes, entry fees and booth designs. Be sure to talk with participating artists and craftspeople who are veterans of the art fair circuit to get recommendations on ideal venues. Start with small art fairs and work your way up to larger ones.
2. Calculate your break-even point. Although you won't have a gallery keeping a percentage of your sales as commission, you will incur a variety of costs in hosting a booth at an art fair. Calculating your break-even point will aid you in determining how much product you will need to sell in order to cover your costs, and ideally, make a profit. Make sure that you factor in expenses such as entry fees, equipment costs, travel expenses and materials costs. Use your calculations to help you decide whether or not you'd like to give art fairs a try.
3. Build your booth. Most art fairs require that exhibitors have a professional looking booth. With that being said, if you don't already own a canopy, now is the time to buy one, preferably one with walls to protect your artwork. Shop Ebay for good deals on gently used canopies. Other items you'll need to furnish your booth include: weights to secure your canopy, lighting, a table for smaller items, a chair for yourself, bags for customers, a calculator and a cash box for all the sales you'll be making. If you become a part of the circuit, you may want to add a credit card machine and a professional looking sign to your list of must-haves. To save on expenses, consider going in on a booth with a friend.
4. Start a mailing list. Even if you don't sell much in the beginning, art fairs are a great way to build up a mailing list of potential clients for yourself. Make sure to collect e-mail addresses as e-mail is the most economical way to keep in contact with your customers.
5. Promote yourself! Bring your businesses cards as well as an artist statement, biography, and brochure, if you have one, with you to the art fair to hand out to visitors.