Sunday, April 11, 2010

It Is That Time Of Year Again - Art Shows 101

Sign Of The Times:

Here in Michigan we have had are first scamming of Artists. A promoter I have never heard of listed a show for April in Bay City. He gave the names of two known promoters as references. When the artists showed up they found that they had been scammed, there wasn't a show, and the promoter was long gone. Artists need to turn their canceled check into the State Police Fraud Div.

Art Shows 101:

Spring is here and it is time to start thinking about Fine Art and Art and Craft shows. I do both, even though Photography is really a Fine Art. One of the biggest expenses after your art supplies is show fees. I always suggest to beginners is do smaller shows to start, shows that will run from $50 to $85 dollars.

Selling your artwork face to face isn't for everyone. Try it out first. The public can be down right rude when going through your artwork. Every summer I think I have heard it all, only to be surprised at what people can say to you.

For outdoor shows, you need a good waterproof tent, and a way to weigh it down. There are huge weights you can buy, I prefer to use large plastic kitty litter containers with 20 pounds of sand at each corner with tie-downs for street shows. On grass I use dog stakes and tie-downs. Many quality tents come with only a top. I recommend zippered sides. I do not recommend inexpensive tents you can get from Sam's Club or Costco. It took a lot of love and time to create your art work, keep it safe. Here in Michigan it has gotten windier, if a tent fills with air it can elevate and roll.

Carry enough change and bills for the show. If you run out of change the best place to break a $20 is with a food vendor. Have someone come sit with you for at least part of the show. So you can take a break. Two people watching your booth is better than one. Make friends with your neighbors.

The show promoters aim is to get you in their show. Do your own research on a show before you commit. I go around to different shows before I sign a contract for the next year. Keep a record of your sales, sales tax, supplies, show fees, and gas, it makes it easier when you do your taxes in April. Here in Michigan we need to know how many miles we traveled.

Any promoter who is still looking for artists a month from the show date hasn't filled it and there may be a good reason why they can't. From past experience, I never sign up for shows where someone hands me a contract at a show.

Good Luck everyone at your shows and online!

Cathy 4/ 12 / 10