Getting Ready for the Summer Art Shows by M Theresa Brown

If you are like us, by the end of February, beginning of March, you are interested in the arrival of Spring. Mother Nature may yet  throw a curve ball at us and dump a few last winter storms but we remain, in North Carolina, hopeful that all the signs around us point to spring at last! However, we know for a fact, having driven clear across the US two years ago to art shows in California, that winter is not over in many parts of our country. In fact on our beginning journey  at the end of March to that series of shows, we left a rainy but moderate NC.  But enroute, we encountered such extreme weather as tornadoes, torrential rain storms, blizzards (that shut down part of I-40 in Texas) high winds and more snow before finally reaching our destination of Palm Springs. On our subsequent return mid April, we encountered more snow in Albuqueque, New Mexico. It was almost depressing :-). Although surprised at the weather extremes, we were prepared!

It takes preparation to participate in an  outdoor art show (juried and non-juried) anywhere-near or far!  We had applied to this show the previous fall. Some art shows send out their applications and information  only a few months beforehand. But most have been around long enough to need your entries at least 8 months prior to the event.

Preparations for your show season should take place long before your first show! One promoter with Sunshine Artists Magazine, came up with their list for getting ready for the summer show season and we have taken and added to it to come up with 10 basic things to do ahead of time:

1. Finish up and finalize any show registrations and payments you may have. Many promoters are now accepting credit cards and payment plans. Something they never used to do!

2. Put your show schedule on your website, Facebook and blog.

3. Do you have enough business cards? Read our article on what you need on your business card!

4. Get your email blasts ready to go prior to each show. Let people know where you will be! Don’t rely just on email. CALL them (yes the telephone) and send postcards via USPS mail!

5. Make sure that your vehicle is road ready.

6. Keep making your art! Bring new art to shows if you are a seasoned show artist. Leave your older work for an “end of the year” show. Make sure you have enough.

7. Your tents, panels, signs, displays all need to look fresh and ready to go. Make any repairs or upgrades ahead of time.

8. Plan your route and hotels wisely

9. Make a “to bring” list (and get it ready long before the first show!) for all the small, easy to forget things such as portfolios, guest book, pens, scissors, price tags, tape, shopping bags, aspirin, etc.

10. Review your pricing. Now more than ever is the time to have work in 2 or 3 price levels so that everyone can find something at a price they are comfortable with.

An outdoor show is hard work and can be very rewarding financially if you have taken the time to prepare like a professional should. Our long list  has saved us more than once. More importantly, it has helped us focus on what we should be doing at a show and why we are there-helping our clients invest in the art that we are creating!

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