Friday, March 7, 2008

More on the Outdoor Art Exhibit

Okay, during the writing process yesterday I think I realized that I don't want to do outdoor art shows this year. I bet you garnered that from my negative comments about the experience. There are some positive aspects to showing your work outdoors.
  • You can gain a lot of experience by watching the well-seasoned exhibiters.
  • You meet a lot of great people. Artists in general (like gardeners) are very willing to share their knowledge. (Some extra special people may even help you set up your tent!)
  • Many shows offer awards in many categories for exhibitors. Winning awards looks great on a resume, can help you gain some confidence, and might even give you a little pocket cash.
  • Some photographers are very successful in shows. With keen marketing skill and the right subject, you can be one of these people.
Here are some pointers if you do decide to do an outdoor show. There is a lot of heavy work involved with doing art shows. They take all day, or all weekend, or a few days. You must be prepared to buy and set up your own tent and your own racks. You must hang your own work. This process takes an hour or two. Expect to spend the same amount of time on cleanup too. If possible, bring along a helper.

Be prepared with marketing material -- postcards, brochures, business cards, an artist statement. I use VistaPrint for great prices on printing. They do a nice job on reproducing color too. For information about writing an artists statement see Online Art Magazine or see my artist statement as a sample. I don't include my awards online since I dedicate a whole page to them, but I do have them in my printed version. Be prepared to talk to interested visitors to your booth. Don't be shy if someone asks you a question. Viewers want to know more about you. If they make a connection with you they are more likely to buy. If possible, have a web site to which you can refer people, but try to make the sale while they are visiting. Don't tell people if they are not prepared to buy now that they can go to your site and think about it. They usually don't come back. Do make your exhibit space look great and professional. Set it up at home first as a trial if possible.

Be prepared with incidentals too. Bring your own food and water. Be prepared for the port-a-potty with sanitizer and bath tissue. Be prepared for anything with tape, rope, scissors and first aid. Feel free to bring along music, your art, or a book to keep you busy during slow times.

If nothing else, your art show will give you experience and help you feel out your market. Everyone should try at least a couple. Who knows? You may really like it and make some money from creating the work you love to do.


Anonymous said...

Hi MELISSA. How can you:
"Securing our cultural heritage by protecting our history. Making our world more beautiful through gardening and the arts".
I mean: How can the history of a nation be protected by gardening and art? It is a sincere question. Can you spend a couple of minutes and answer me?


Hi Yechiam,

Good question and I see the confusion! I am a gardener, artist, and an ARCHIVIST. Please see my archives web site at

Best wishes,

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