Having been an artist for awhile, I tend to network on and offline with artists that exhibit at art shows across the country. What I tend to forget is that for every artists that does a show, there’s probably hundreds that are considering it.
My intention is to give you some reasons why I think any artist that is serious about spreading their vision and growing their business should be doing art shows.
Keep in mind this will vary based on your niche, show availability, budget and potential audience.
1. Folks like to meet the artist. Having a personal connection can go a long way, even if it’s for only 15 minutes. Once someone purchases a piece they will always stop by the booth in following years to chat. And on occasion purchase another piece.
2. Doing art shows allows me to find new audiences. That’s one reason why I feel it’s important to try new areas of the country. It’s the drive time that’s the big deterrent.
3. It’s good to see what folks are purchasing. If I go into a show where only realistic western pieces are selling it’s probably not the best market for me. Of course I only really know what’s selling around me, or what I see folks carrying as they walk by.
4. It gives me a chance to find out what people are looking for. I can ask people what they like about particular pieces that they seem interested in. A good information gathering opportunity.
5. They serve a purpose of networking between the artists. Being an artist can be very isolating unless one is working in a common studio area. It’s nice to connect with my tribe and commiserate about the highs and lows. Find out about good shows, show directors and shows to avoid.
6. They can be great for personal relationship growth. With the wrong partner it would be unbearable.
7. Basically a good marketing tool even if pieces aren’t sold at the time of the show. I think a fair amount of the people who take my business card do keep it for at least a little while. Many end up following up online and become customers.
To follow up on that last point, you should be building your online presence so that when people follow up on their interest they can find you. There is nothing better than making a great impression in person, then wowing them with your online presence.
Hopefully that gives you a few good reasons why shows have been great for me. Now all you need to do is read up on applying to art shows and you’re off!