12 Essential Tips to know before you participate in your first Art Fair

As artists, at some point we all participate in art fairs, and we don’t know what to expect. I was totally blind-sighted by a lot of things at my first art fair participation. So here are a few tips to help you with your first art fair.

1. Apply in advance
If there are limited stalls, then you want to make sure that the odds work out in your favor. So, keep checking for their announcements and then, when the participation application is announced, make sure you get there as soon as possible and fill out that form and submit it immediately.

2. Prepare financially
Be aware of how much the entire shindig is going to cost you. To mention a few things – transportation costs, packing material.

3. Check out the display space
Go there the day before the art fair. measure out the space and plan out your layout of paintings. Decide what goes where. Find out if you are allowed to bring your own tables/ easels and then have a plan ready, so when you get there the next day, you’ll know what to do without any trial and errors.

4. Select your paintings
Dont take your entire collection there, especially if the art fair is arranged in an outdoor location. You have to remember these few things
– dust, heat/sunlight, possible rains.
– people attempting to touch your paintings
– kids running around
So here is a tip I follow to protect my paintings:
– Cover your paintings with plastic wrap OR transparent plastic covers/sleeves.

5. Prepare a Catalogue/Portfolio
Prepare a catalogue with photos of all your paintings and the prices next to them, so people are not intimidated to ask how much your painting costs. When they enquire about a realistic piece and you quote something like $400, they may not even ask for the price of your abstract piece which you may have priced at $100 and they might’ve been willing to buy.

6. Get your business cards ready
A lot of people don’t come to an art fair with a lot of cash. They may really like one of your paintings and may want to contact you once they reach home. So give them that business card so they can call you back and maybe purchase one of your paintings. Make sure to carry more than necessary. Don’t hesitate from handing out your business cards to anyone and everyone.

7. Promote
Mention about your art show on your website, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites that you are active on. Create an event and share it with friends.

The Ad I created for my first Art fair

8. Carry Essentials
Wear lots of sunscreen, carry mosquito repellent, sunglasses, an umbrella, a jacket, drinking water and a few munchies/sandwiches with you. And don’t forget your buddy(a friend/ family member) because you will need company.

9. Dress Comfortably
You should be approachable and friendly.

10. Carry adequate packing material
Remember, if you sell a painting, you cant just hand over the painting as is. It needs to be securely/optimally packaged. I would suggest corrugated sheets, bubble wrap plus a brown paper cover. Think about how you would want the painting packed if you were the buyer.

11. Socialize
Interact with other artists when you find time. You may find some excellent opportunities to collaborate. Example: Find artists to team with for future group art shows.

12. Do not go there with huge expectations. Don’t think ‘Yes, today is the day I’m going to sell 10 paintings’. You may not sell any, you may sell all ten. You never know. And remember, people do bargain at art fairs. So be prepared for that. Don’t be discouraged. Go there for experience, and if you’re friendly and have a knack for marketing, you may sell a few paintings.

Bonus Tip: Don’t accept cheques.

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Have a good day.