Tag Archives: Art show booth presentation

Booth Presentation and general art show notes

Booth Presentation:

In showing art, a good idea to keep in mind is that you are setting up a little gallery at the art show as if you were at an indoor retail gallery.  Presentation is always important in the art world.

exhibiting at art shows

I recommend going to some small local art shows or the larger ones in your area to check out how other artist are doing things in your same art medium.  It takes time to get a good layout and it will improve with experience.

The placement of your art and related display areas is also very important.  Careful consideration should be given on where you place your tables, shelves, print racks, walls and other items.  Many people will walk down the row of booths and you need to give them a reason to stop and look for a few seconds to determine if they want to stay longer.

The booth display pictured on the right, has a very nice jewelry display. Notice the use of grid wall on the left and the fancy table cloth to add elegance. The great use of space by utilizing stacking of the jewelry displays on many different levels. For selling jewelry, you need a mirror.

You want to have enough artwork along the walking path to attract their attention and then explore more inside your booth area to examine more of your product.  If your booth gets crowded, a design that takes into consideration of customer flow of traffic can help.

Even if most of your sales are not the larger framed art, you should still show it to attract people to your booth.  Catch their eye and give them a reason to stop and enter your booth.  Most people will walk pass most booths and this is normal.  They may only be interested in certain things or specific art mediums.

If you have art on your walls, you may want to bring a few extra pieces to fill any open spaces due to sales. If no replacements are available, you could rearrange the art on the wall. Another option is to write the word “Sold” on the art title card with a thick black marker and leave an obvious space on your wall.

Keep your booth area clean at all times and not so overcrowded with merchandise, sometimes more is not always better. When you design your booth layout, do not have spaces that the customer may feel restricted in. The customer should always feel that they have an easy way out.

Do not block too much of the space in the front area with objects or you will reduce the number of customers that walk inside your booth area. The booth layout entrance should be inviting to the customers. Sometimes it is a design challenge to have objects close to the front entrance to your booth so they can easily see and gain interest to stop for a longer look or come inside your booth area and the relationship to not blocking the main booth area entrance area.

If there is space between the different booths, you can display your art on the outward side walls giving you much more display space for artwork that can be displayed on a wall.

Do not have artwork on the ground that is normally displayed on a wall. I see many artists do this at our local First Fridays event.

Many times at smaller art shows, the artists set up displays 1′-3′ out in front of their assigned 10′ x 10′ booth area. The problem with this is that the customers need to move 2′-4′ further away from the general traffic path when viewing your next door neighbor’s booth. This makes it harder for them to see their art and more likely to just pass on to the next booth. If your booths are right next to each other, I recommend that you keep within your assigned 10′ x10′ area. If the booths are spread out, you may be able to stick out a little and not disturb the next tents traffic flow.

Another item that many artists have in there booth is a larger wall sign or banner with the company name on it.

General Art Show Notes:

The initial costs for getting set up to show at art fairs can be substantial.  If you decide to stop doing art shows, your equipment such as tent, walls, display cases and tables can be sold to other artists.

Doing art shows is hard work.  It does help with setup, sales and takedown if you have another person with you but many artists do it themselves.  It is not for everyone.

Diver and Ghost Ship

It can be frustrating if you go the whole day and sell nothing or very little which happens often.  Selling at art shows can also be fun.  I enjoy talking to the customers and sometimes they need to see you at a few shows before they purchase from you.

It is best to learn about the art show market, how well your art sells and practice you’re selling skills on smaller and less expensive local art shows before going to the much more expensive art shows competing with seasoned full time art show professionals. This can save you money during your learning curve.

Many art shows have volunteer sitters who will sit in your booth for a short time so you can take a short break.  They will not sell your items, but will watch your booth while you are away.

The artists must be at the art show for the entire show at most all art shows.

Keep your cash on you and not store it in a cash box or hiding place unless it is just change.

While you should sit in your chair to rest sometimes, it is best to stand if you can during the busy times.

Having people in your booth brings in more people to your booth.

Special security precautions are needed for artists who sell jewelry not only during show hours but in your setting up, packing up, transportation and hotel room. You would never leave jewelry in your tent overnight even if the other artists leave up there art.

My customers also let me know which of my pieces are more popular by their comments as well as by purchasing.  If I want to bring in new artwork, I have a good idea of which pieces I should discontinue.  If a piece of artwork has not sold yet, but seems popular, I will keep it around longer.

When displaying art on your display booth walls, your back wall is viewed the most and your most impressive or best selling items should be on display in this location.

A good article for new artist on preparing for Art Festivals at A Newbie’s Guide to Art Festival Booths.


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.