People often wonder how artists make money, and sometimes artists also wonder, “How can we make money in this world?”
If we go down the very basic route, art exhibitions are the places where your artwork meets an audience. Earlier, these spaces were art galleries, art clubs, museums, local art shows and private art galleries but in today’s world, social media, online galleries and virtual fairs have also become places where artists can sell their artwork to potential buyers.
Thus, the obvious answer for artists to make money is by selling their artwork to an audience that loves art. But this obvious answer is not so easy to manifest in reality. As an artist, you might have already gone through your fair share of challenges selling your artwork.
In this blog post, we will show how artists can effectively sell their work at art and craft shows, and what juried and non-juried art exhibitions are.
Juried vs. Non-Juried Art Shows
Art shows are primarily of two types: juried art shows and non-juried art shows. However, there are also invitational art shows where the show organizers ask certain artists to send their artwork to exhibit them.
Juried art shows are events where exhibitors have to present their artwork in front of a jury or committee to participate in an art show. A juror or jury evaluates an exhibitor’s artwork and chooses their preferred items for the event. Depending on the popularity of the art show, it might be difficult to get your artwork selected.
This type of art show is ideal for artists who have already attended a few art shows and have a good portfolio. The participation fee for juried art shows can be as much as $1,000 per event.
Key Features of Juried Art Shows:
- They are promoted well.
- They have an art-loving audience.
- Provides better selling opportunities.
Non-juried art shows are events where there is no need to present your artwork to a jury. Anyone can participate in the event and showcase their artwork. This type of show is ideal for artists who are beginners or attending art shows for the first time. You can expect to pay around $100 to participate in a non-juried art show.
Key Features of Non-Juried Art Shows:
- Low participation fee.
- Can make high profits.
- You can sell a wide range of artwork.
Once you’ve carefully choosen the art show you want to attend, next is to master the art of selling at art and craft shows.
How to Effectively Sell Your Artwork at Art Shows
Selling your artwork at an art show is an art in itself. For many artists, selling does not come naturally. But once you master it, making money at art fairs and shows will be fun.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to effectively selling your artwork at art shows.
1. Walk the Art Show
Those who are just starting out in art shows or those who cannot grab sales, follow this simple step — walk the art show. What it means is, attend a few art shows that are going on nearby. Walk the art show as an art lover with open eyes, have a good look at the quality, price and nature of the artwork, talk to buyers and ask about the artwork they find worthy, talk to artists and ask about their experiences. Visit the booths as a customer and note down the things you loved or you would want to add to your booth. This simple act is a basic ground for preparation of your art show.
2. Find the Right Art Show
Talk to any experienced artist and they will suggest spending time finding the right show, because half of the job is done when you choose the right show. You will hopefully end up selling if you have the art products art lovers want. To choose the right show, consider factors such as the show’s audience, age group, last year’s sales, foot traffic, number of booths, the artwork you have to offer and product range allowed in the show. You might be surprised to know that serious attendees subscribe to paid event listing websites to find the right shows. These websites help artists search for art shows based on various filters.
3. Creative Advertising
Once you have successfully shortlisted the shows you want to attend, it comes to rock the show. Your first goal should be to drive traffic to your booth. Understand the concept of creative advertising, utilize every inch of the booth, every accessory and dress smartly. Pens, paper, markers, banners, signs and poster boards, brochures, business cards, promotional material and display props; take everything along with you to design a creative booth.
4. Right Pricing
To be honest, choosing the right pricing is one of the hardest decisions. Understand how much people are willing to spend. There is no point in pricing artwork at $10,000 when people attending the show are not willing to spend more than $1,000. Choose your product range and prices wisely to draw sales, not just visitors.
5. Build a Long-Term Relationship
Art shows offer great opportunities to build long-term relationships with customers who love their art. Politely ask customers and visitors to fill in a sign-up form. This way, you can build a mailing list of clients who are interested in your artwork. There is a higher chance of turning them into repeat customers.
So, these are the five basic things you need to accomplish when attending art events. Also, practice the art of upselling, giveaways, offering consumables and other smart tricks to drive more foot traffic to your booth.