Submitting to art shows:
Each art show’s application is a little different. For most applications, you will be asked to send in contact information, art medium description, web site and State business licence number as well as samples of your work. Many applications contain rules for the show and have you to initial that you have read the rules and sign the application. It is best to read the application carefully and give them all the applicable information they have requested and digital files in the requested format and size. You do not want to give someone at the show a reason to disqualify you over a technical issue or missing information.
It is best to send in your application early if possible and consider the application deadline the date the art show wants to receive your application by. If it says, the application must be postmarked by a specific date, then send before that date.
Some local non juried art shows may just accept artist as they review them when the application is received. They may get full before the application deadline so there could be an advantage to sending in the application earlier. At your smaller local art shows, if you missed the deadline send them an email or give them a call. They may have unfilled spaces available and accept you.
Some small local art events or shows do not have an application fee and just a fee to participate in the event once selected. Most art shows that are bigger or have a jury select the artist will have a small application fee associated with it. If you do not get into a show, you do not get this application fee back. Once accepted, they ask you to send in your art show fee by a specific deadline. You do want to send in your art show payment before the deadline. Some art shows have an artist waiting list that they may give your booth space away to for non or late payment.
Some smaller local juried have no application fee but ask you to send in a check for the art show amount with the initial application. If you do not get into the art show, then they just destroy your check. If you do get in the show, they cash your check.
You can mark in your calendar which shows you applied for on the show date and then change the calendar message that you have been accepted or not when notified. I also mark down the acceptance notification dates for each show in my calendar. If not notified, I would wait a week or so after the notification date and then contact the show to check if you were accepted.
Keep track of the shows you have done in the past, especially the ones you have done well in. If you do not receive an automatic application the next year, contact them or visit their web site to get the application.
Sometimes when you do not get in, it has more to do with too many artists applying in your same art medium and not always about your art quality. Many times, the jury will change each year for a particular art show and have there preferences on the type of art they like. Another reason you may not get accepted even after participating in the art show in previous years is that the jury may want to give some variety to the art show and let some new people in. Not being accepted can be hard if you have been accepted to this show before. Try to not take this personally, if you do not get in, as this is part of the art show market. Even with the same jury images, you may get in one year and not in another to the same art show.
When selecting new art shows to apply to, it is difficult to tell how a particular art show will be in sales for you. One option is to just visit and walk the art show one year and check out the number of visitors, the number of booths in your same art medium and how your art work compares in quality.
I also look for customers carrying art around that they bought at the art show. You need to determine if this is an event people go to to just look or for the free entertainment or buy at. Many times you need to do a specific art show once or twice to see how well you do and if it is worth doing again.
An important general rule is that if an art show is harder to get into due to the competition of numerous artist applying every year way over the number of spaces available, this can indicate that this art show that has much better sales.
For the smaller local shows, you usually have a good chance of getting in. These shows usually have no application fee or a small application fee and a less expensive art show fees such as $20 – $65 for a day or slightly more for a two day show.
Some art shows, although less common, have a smaller art show fee but charge you 12 – 20% of all your sales. When these type of shows ring up all the artist sales at their own register, they will absorb the credit card fees as well as send in the State and local sales tax that they collected from the customer for you. The artist is still required to claim the income for taxing purposes.
For the larger shows, even ones locally that have many professional artists from other States can be much more difficult to get into, especially for the first time. The application fee will be larger and the art show fees may be up to $550.00 for a three day show but will bring a much larger and qualified crowd. The process of selecting the right images for the jury and the quality of your booth shot is much more complicated for the larger shows than for the small local shows that this article is about.