Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Art Festivals: More Info

So this year I decided to try my hand at an art festival.  I did Art Expo Vegas a few years ago and it was total shit.  We were stuck in the ass end of Mandalay bay and there was no advertising for the event whatsoever.  There were more Galleries and Artists than there were patrons. I had never done an expo before, and had heard of Art Expo so thought I would give it a try.  Where I went wrong was not doing my homework.   Vegas Expo was new and in fact it has since closed.  You want a show with history.  Hardly anyone sold a thing in Vegas and the only artist within a 300 foot radius that garnered any attention was a girl making porno sculptures.  Men would come by and brush past her and feel up her sculptures--- Pervs.  We ended up nicknaming her Kiranoya.  I wont tell you her real name, but if you are clever enough I bet you could guess. The only good thing about that show was that I met some good friends.  That alone was worth the money I spent.  Cheers to Onkel Raini and AJ.

Fast forward to now.  Sales started to slack of in the middle part of last year, and it prompted me to think about festivals again.  I figured I would start close to home, and Main Street and Art City Austin where basically the only two on my list.  I entered both and got into Main Street.  Fort Worth has always been good to me, so I was happy.

The reality.  There are LOTS of things to think about when doing a festival. You need to have enough work. My goal is to have at least 30 new original pieces to take.  Since I am not a fan of Giclee, that means I will have to bust it to get work done.  That part I don't mind.  So far I am 1/3 of the way there.

I was lucky enough to have a great adviser named Pamela that has helped me with some of the questions I had regarding the show. It is helpful to find out who is the liaison for artists, so that if you do have a question you can get help.

I have my Pro Panels ordered.  Pro Panels are portable walls that are often used at festivals that give a professional looking background to hang work on.  This is important.  You want your work to look good, you need good looking walls.  You can rent the panels if you are not sure you will be doing more shows.

Above is an example of the setup that I am getting to fit my tent.  It rents for $225 for the duration of the show.  Not a bad price without the commitment of buying.

Lighting-- I have heard lighting is very important for shows.  You want to make sure your art looks good and lighting is one of those things that helps.  Think how important lighting is in a gallery.  It is no less important for an artist in a festival.  You need to make sure your work looks its best. I am not one hundred percent sure what lighting I am going to use.  I may just get clip on lights since I haven't decided if I will be participating in more festivals.  You can get clip on lights at the hardware store.  There are also track lights that come on bars. 

Credit cards-- I am working on that one right now.  I know from doing shows in a variety of venues besides galleries, that it is important to take credit cards.  I do not want to commit to a contract on a card machine, so I am still figuring that one out.  When I do, I will let you know what I found out.  Paypal is one way to do it, but not everyone has a paypal account, and not everyone knows how to use paypal with their credit card.  So we will call that a "to do".

Hotel-- you want to make sure you book your lodging in advance.  Most shows will have hotels they contract out for a lower rate for artists that are in the shows.  Make sure you book in advance and have a place to stay.

This is as far as I have gotten on my work for the show.  I will post more info such as signage, pricing, and other things when time gets closer.

My point is to give you information that you may be able to use if you ever want to do a festival.  It is a lot of work and sometimes information is hard to find.  I hope by sharing you will find some useful tips.



  1. For credit card payments with no monthly fees. check out Squareup. They will send out a card reader that attaches to an iPhone or iPad! An arts organizer told me about it and I signed up!

  2. I have never had luck with festivals. I don't do prints and my work is not "cute" so I never sell. I really don't like talking to people that show up at them. I have done 2 or 3 and that was enough for me to never what to do them again. :)