Art show lighting

Art Show Lighting:

Some shows will be at night and lighting is required.  Many times, new artist do not think to bring lighting and show their artwork in the dark or with a flashlight.  If a show is going on after sunset, you should ask if they will be providing electricity.  If they do provide electricity, ask them if there will an additional charge.

You will need to bring lights, a Power Strip with a surge protector and extra Extension Cords.  I also bring extra bulbs in case one breaks.  Many smaller shows do not supply electricity.  Most shows will not allow generators since they make a lot of noise.

I have a simple system for power that consists of the following items. A deep cycle battery or marine battery that you can purchase locally, A Battery Charger, Power Inverter with 2 plugs (12 volt battery to 120 volt plugs) and lights of your choosing that use CFL or LCD bulbs.  Optionally you can purchase a Battery Box which makes it easier to transport the heavy battery with a strap handle.

The compact flash bulbs put out 60w of light but use about 15w of power.  One charged marine battery will run 6-10 lights the whole night but you do need to remember to charge the battery before the show.  I also find lights with an arm that has a large clip on the end useful (Clip Lamp with Adjustable Arm Link). You can attach these to many areas of the tent on the bars or on a table edge and point them to light up specific areas.

When choosing CFL or LED bulbs, you now have the choice of selecting bulbs with the color temperature that your art looks best at. Some CFL or LED bulbs put out light similar to regular incandescent bulbs with others looking more warm or daylight balanced. The LCD bulbs used to be expensive but are now cost effective when you need to draw minimum power from your battery. A sample CFL bulb that is daylight balanced is the EcoSmart 60W Equivalent 5000K Spiral CFL Light Bulb, Daylight. A sample LED bulb that is daylight balanced is the 60W Equivalent Daylight 5000k LED Light Bulb.

The picture below  shows the color difference between daylight 5000k lighting on the left side and soft white 3000k lighting on the right. The Kelvin (k) color of your lighting can effect the color of your product on display.


I have seen so many different lighting methods from ineffective Christmas lights, flashlights and candles to well designed lighting arrangements.  I suggest you check out some night time local art shows and see what other artists are doing. If your booth is lit well and other booths near you are not lit as well, the customers may be more attracted to your booth like moths to a flame.

Note:  If you have an art show related question for an artist at an art show, the artists are usually very helpful and will share their experience with you.  If they have a customer, you should let them help the customer before continuing your questions with them.


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