Juried Art Fairs

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Dan Henderson, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    Does anyone here exhibit work at art fairs? I am not referring to art and craft shows (not that there is anything wrong with them), but rather, juried fine art fairs that are more likely to attract people willing to pay for good photography.

    I am interested in hearing of your experiences: good, bad, a hassle, didn't sell enough to cover expenses, weather worries at outdoor shows, etc.

    Thank you in advance.
    Dan
     
  2. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    This website has a huge amount of info about everything related to artshows from equipment to getting through the jury process:
    http://www.artshowphoto.com/contents.htm

    The companion forum has a huge amount of people discussing everything you mentioned in detail:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/artshow_photo/
     
  3. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    thank you very much for this info, Mark.
    Dan
     
  4. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    One good way to learn about these shows is to visit them and talk to the photographers with booths. I find most are open and willing to give answers to general questions if you are not prying into their personal financial details. The general consensus I have been getting is that in recent years sales have dropped somewhat. Aside from the obvious about the current economy, there has been a proliferation of shows, it seems that every community wants one. They make money on jury fees and space rental whether you sell anything or not. I think the shows in more upscale locations where people have more money to spend might produce better sales. These also tend to be the more prestigious shows that draw more applications and are harder to get into.

    Bob
     
  5. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    Bob is giving some great advice here. They are all different and you will need to learn about the ones in your area. What works in one show may not work in another.

     
  6. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I've been doing them for about 15 years. I was doing about 16-20 shows a year, and made enough to pay the bills. My sales were good enough to justify trips to Florida, Chicago, St Louis, NY, etc (from the DC area). Last year, the bottom dropped out. It's a very tough economy to sell in. It's also very competitive. When I started, there was probably a 30-40% chance of acceptance. With the proliferation of d*****l shooters, the amount of applicants has increased by a lot, especially at the better shows. The initial expenses are high. A good booth, and display panels, can run over 2K. Booth fees of $500 (for a weekend) are not uncommon. Add hotel/food/gas/materials costs, and a 2 day show can reach a break-even point of 2K.
    If you're just starting out, consider break-even a good goal. You are up against people who have been doing it for years. Their sales skills are honed, their booths are expensive (and professional looking), so they'll have a few advantages over you.
    If it's something you'd like to pursue, I recommend finding a local flea market, or farmers market. Usually you can get a table space for about $20.00. You'll learn to talk about your work, valuable sales techniques, dealing with rejection, and which images people are willing to buy. I did a flea market, in DC, for 2 years before I ventured into the juried shows.
    Because of the economy, I decided to cut back this year. I will only be doing about 6-8 shows. I'm only applying to shows where I've had success in the past, and have little, or no, travel expenses.