Art fairs can be a great way for you to greet potential customers and to show off your work. Not all of these shows are the same, however. Some fairs allow any artist or crafter to get venue space, as long as they can pay the required fee. These fairs may also be more general and include everyone from painters, jewelers, and leathercrafters. Other fairs, however, are juried and tend to be more specific in who they want. These fairs include a judge coming around and reviewing your art to see if you are allowed to be in the show.
Getting accepted to these fairs or shows is a great way for your work to be given exposure and for you as an artist to be taken seriously. There are a few guidelines to follow that can increase the chances that you will be accepted to the fair:
- Understand the rules. The number one reason artists are not accepted into juried art shows is because they didn’t read or understand the rules, according to John R. Math in his "How to Get Accepted to More Juried Art Shows" article. If you study the rules carefully, you are giving yourself a much greater chance of being selected.
- Don’t Ignore the rules. Understanding the rules is one thing. Actually following them is quite another. You might think that trying to go “above and beyond” is a good idea in order to try and impress the judges, or that neglecting one small aspect won’t matter. Doing these things almost guarantees rejection. What impresses the judges most is that you followed their instructions to the letter.
- Know what you’re getting into. Your art may be beautiful and may even be in high demand, but if it doesn’t fit the theme or the look of the fair, odds are your work will not be accepted. And even if it is, you might not be able to make enough of a profit to make the fair worthwhile. Know before you sign up what the theme of the show is and whether or not your art fits.
- Think about the business aspect. While it may not have any bearing on whether you are accepted to an art show or not, it is important that you ask yourself if it makes financial and business sense for you to be there. Consider the extra costs you may incur, including travel, booth rentals, and possibly even needing to purchase art fair liability insurance. Are the extra costs worth the self-confidence boost you would get by being accepted?
- Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. This may be the most important guideline to follow. If you are not accepted into an art fair, do not get discouraged. Do not put yourself or your work down. There are any numbers of reasons why the judges decided not to accept your work, and odds are good that it is not because they didn’t like it. Keep trying and keep submitting. If you persevere, you give yourself a much greater chance that your art will be accepted.
Once you have been accepted, the preparation begins. Part of that preparation includes taking into account the expenses discussed earlier. Travel and booth rental costs are pretty straightforward, but insurance coverage can be tricky.
If the venue site does require you to have insurance, you should consider an Artists, Crafters, and Tradesmen (ACT) Insurance. An ACT policy gives you the option of choosing liability coverage for only one or two shows or having coverage for an entire year. Both options are affordable and meet most venue requirements. To learn more about which option is right for you, please visit ACT’s Compare Policies page. Having insurance also gives you one less thing to worry about as you get ready to showcase your work.