For Artists: How Can I Get Started At Fairs & Shows?

This is the first in a series of posts featuring advice and best practices for artists. 

A common question of many beginning artists is “How do I get involved in trade and craft shows?” We thought we’d share a few resources to help you get started, since the goal of The Makery is to help artists and designers share their work with the world!

These resources help artists in the creation and management of trade/craft show applications, application fees, and provide a venue for communication between artists.

ZAPP compiles a list of trade and craft shows for artists, allows them to build an electronic application, apply to shows, and provides a venue for communication between artists.  The artist can begin by creating an account (free of charge) and then begin to create his/her application.  Artists can manage and alter their trade and craft show applications online, save their work, and then apply for shows online.  Application fees can be paid online and will be processed electronically.

This tool is similar to Juried Art Services, which allows artists to upload images, arrange order, then save and manage the application.  The application fees are also paid electronically.  Juried Art Services emphasizes the ability to view the application as the judges view the application.

The Crafts Report is a paper magazine and website that answers the questions of many beginning artists; it explains the how to’s of trade and craft shows and provides help and advice.  The magazine presents current listings for the shows, listing when and where.  It gives tips for booth preparation; craft show etiquette, and how to attract customers during the show.  The Crafts Report has information for artists in a many categories, for example, tips for taking better photos.
Once you’ve filled out your apps and been accepted (congrats!), the next step come up with your definition of success. Are you focused on turning a profit, or are you trying to answer some questions? Maybe you’re trying to figure out what price point sells best, what designs people spend the most time with, what kind of people are most drawn to your work.

And the last question to ask is, what’s your story going to be? How are you going to present your story as the artist and designer and the story of your work? How are you going to style your table or space so it speaks to what’s unique about your work and process?

Brita at her table at The Big Crafty in Asheville, NC

Ready to get started!? Here are some sites that list faires, festivals and markets in North Carolina and the South East:

Already a festival professional? Leave your advice for our first timers in the comments.



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