The number of fairs for artists is growing year on year, they take many forms from the hyper local to the international, taking place in church halls to white walled gallery spaces. For many emerging artists an art fair is a great way to gain exposure, build their collector base, build their CV, grow their network and of course make sales.
Here are my top five tips for success at an artists fair
Do the work when it comes to marketing before the event, start telling people about it and soon after you are accepted and talk about it more the closer you get to the opening date. This can be talking about it on social media, your email newsletters and of course the in person conversations you have.
Don’t over fill your allocated wall space or booth, you have to let the work breathe. It is tempting to fill the walls with everything you have but oftentimes that doesn’t show off the work in it’s best light. Instead select the strong pieces and let them do the work to draw in the visitors. You can always show them other work when they arrive at your booth, perhaps in the print rack or other stock you have.
Use the event to grow your mailing list, so that you can stay in touch with the visitors after the event is over, and of course invite them to your next show.
Get to know the other artists showing around you. Some fairs have networking and mentoring sessions in the run up to the event, and you can get to know your peers. This network can often evolve into friendships and collaborations down the line.
Keep your energy high and stay positive. It can be exhausting work being at the booth and talking to different people all the time. Remind yourself this is what you signed up for, and it is only for a few days.. Stay hydrated and don’t forget to eat; the adrenalin of the installation and opening nights can often take their toll on the subsequent days, so plan your food schedule and have snacks with you to eat, when your stand is visitor-free.