Art Fair Essentials Part B
B1. Art Fair Resources
1. Art Fair Sourcebook
B2. Research Tips
Visit as many fairs as you can; start with small local ones and attend larger ones that might be in other cities as cost and travel allows -- especially if this is a fair that you are considering for your own work.
It's important to find out firsthand who the fair caters to, what the other artists work is like, what the price points are, how many attendees the fair attracts, and what the space is like.
Learn about each fair's audience to determine if it's your best fit. Just because you see the words "art fair" doesn't mean that it is going to attract the audience that's right for you. Be discerning.
Ask fair producers for a list of previous participants. Email some of the artists for insight and feedback. Have specific questions when you approach them. Don't just email them asking how it was. The best feedback comes from the best questions.
If you have the opportunity, attend an open jury to see how it works. It will provide invaluable insight on the submission and judging process.
B3. Who are your people?
Who are your people?
What kind of fairs might you find them at?
B4. Research Cheat Sheet
Cheat Sheat for Researching Fairs:
Quality of the art
Notice how work is priced and how it compares to yours
Number of shoppers
How many shoppers appear to be buyers; watch the traffic
How happy and/or busy the artists are
Note if there's distracting entertainment that pulls away from the art
Take pictures of the booths, art displays, signage and the grounds. The photos will be good references + idea generators for you later.
Pay attention to tents, lighting, outlets, extension cords, carpet, chairs, etc.
Take note of the fair events; can you get involved with the show's organizer?
Note best fair booth locations during your research visits:
Avoid too much sun
Look for booths that aren't too close to a stage (music / noise)
Not too close to bathrooms or parking
Ask artists + exhibitors where they got their materials.
See how the artists represent themselves at the fair and compare this to how the galleries present themselves if applicable.
Focus on artists with work similar to yours.
Be sure to return again on the last day of a multi-day fair to see how well artists did, especially those with work similar to yours.
*Note about talking with artists during a fair: The artists are there to sell art. Ultimately, they're not there to talk with other artists. If potential customers see them engaged with others, there's a risk to lose a potential sale. Ask artists briefly and politely if you can contact them after the show, and write down their email.
B5. What scares you?
What scares you the most about exhibiting in an Art Fair?
List the steps you can take to prepare for it.
B6. Preparing for the application process.
In terms of your website, your social media presence, and images of your work, what steps do you need to take to start preparing now for the application process?