Hosting an art show takes time and effort, but with this easy guide, you'll be more prepared to exhibit your craft and benefit from market and vendor opportunities!
Start with a theme or concept. What kind of art are you showcasing? What is the medium, budget, focus, audience and aesthetic?
Set realistic goals. It's OK to aim big, but be realistic about what you can accomplish and don't put too much pressure on yourself.
Find your venue. Look on social media for local ads of community events that accept artists and vendors. If you're a bigger creator with a larger audience, you might be interested in an entire venue rental. Consider the lighting, accessibility and location.
Draft your designs. From the products, to the show layout and even your receptions or the background music you'll play — have maps and outlines ready for every framework to execute a smooth show.
Set Deadlines. Know when your final product needs to be designed and polished by. Have all vendor fees paid by the appropriate date. Ensure you've allotted enough time in your schedule to setup, take down and make room for unexpected debacles.
Check out these blogs for complete lists of items every art vendor needs for showcasing a successful event:
- The Ultimate Art Fair Packing List | Free Download by Artwork Archive
- 160 Things to Bring Along to Your Events: Craft Show Tips by FestivalNet
- Pinterest has 1000s of boards and ideas for craft show booths, layouts, homemade displays and more.
Prepare early. Depending on your product, you may need to start preparing your products at least half a year (6 months) to a year or more early. If you aren't ready to showcase your creativity just yet, no worries, you're in production zone!
Be open to feedback. Take other people's thoughts into account when making decisions about your art and the show. Feedback is about your work, not about you as a person. Look for patterns in the feedback you receive to identify areas for improvement. Avoid getting defensive when receiving feedback, and instead, try to understand and learn from it.
Take it task-by-task. Break your projects down into simpler, smaller tasks, and focus on accomplishing those smaller tasks until the entire project(s)' finished.
Stick to a schedule. Part of sticking to a schedule means completing the tasks. You can grant yourself some flexibility, but only physical labor will ultimately accomplish the tasks you've set for your production goal.
Eliminate distractions. Designate a work space to focus, and keep in mind that your focus is a physical, laborious skill that takes daily effort and training. Sometimes it's painful stepping away from a social media scroll or saucy text message to get back to a project. Schedule specific times to respond to your socials, and be about your projects.
Take breaks. Part of productivity is rest! Getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated and nourished will save you time in the long run by optimizing your focus and enthusiasm.
Build a website. Having an online presence will make it easier for people to find your art show and learn more about your work.
Create a press release. A press release can be a great way to inform local news outlets, bloggers, and other media outlets about your upcoming art show.
Reach out to local art communities. Connect with other artists, art galleries, and art organizations in your area to promote your art show.
Use flyers and posters. Create flyers and posters to promote your art show and post them in high-traffic areas like coffee shops, libraries, and community centers. Tack your business cards to local billboards in grocery stores or businesses that have them.
Make a video. Create a video to give people a sneak peak of your art show and post it on social media.
Utilize influencers. Reach out to influencers in your area who are interested in art and see if they would be willing to help promote your art show.
Offer a special promotion. Offer discounts or other incentives for people who attend your art show to encourage them to come and check it out.
Hosting your first art show can be a challenging but rewarding experience. The planning, production, and promotion stages required do take a lot of time, energy and effort, but it is worth it when it comes down to the final outcome. You'll learn a lot throughout the process, from setting realistic goals and creating a plan, to managing stress and seeking feedback. You'll be able to showcase your work to a wider audience, connect with other artists and art communities, and gain valuable experience in and about the art world. Be grateful for the opportunity to host your first art show, and look forward to future opportunities to share your work and grow as an artist!