The following blog is the second in a series of articles from our guest, Ruth Payne
. For many of you in the Vancouver area, Ruth Payne will need no introduction. Ruth is the curator at the Ferry Building Gallery and the Visual Arts Coordinator of West Vancouver Cultural Services.
Art Fairs, Outdoor Shows, Tradeshows, One-Of-A-Kind Shows, Festivals, Markets
In the second part of the article, Ruth discusses further exhibition venues.
Be willing to do the installation yourself and always sign the art, place a label next to it on the wall
with your name, title of piece, medium, price and your contact info. Sign the art on the back with a
Sharpee felt pen and put the date and a © for copyright.
Offering a commission of the sale to the hosting venue is an incentive for them to talk up your art.
Write it all down, make sure you keep a copy, and keep in touch with the store, etc, every two weeks.
* Never display your art in a place where there are toxic substances, extreme light or temperature,
moisture, fumes or chemicals that will damage it (i.e. drycleaners).
Tradeshows and outdoor art fairs can be great venues in which to sell to a large amount of buyers and
reach an international market. This is generally very hard work and requires a finely rehearsed system to
make it happen smoothly. However, it is an effective way to pay the mortgage!
Art Fairs are usually juried and you can do this by mail or email. There will be a fee and you will have
to set up your own booth with displays, lighting, and furniture. You can rent equipment from companies
specializing in display equipment. (i.e. Eddie's Hang-Ups, Vancouver). The Yellow Pages is a good source
for renting racks and lighting.
I do know of a number of artists who sell extremely well at fairs in the larger cities and they have
developed an efficient system to the way they pack, ship, setup and sell their art. One artist paints oil
on canvas pinned to the wall. She then rolls the painting, places it into a mailing tube and ships it to
the city where the fair is. Sometimes she takes them on the plane with her. When she gets to the fair,
she has them put on stretchers. This cuts down on the hassles and costs of shipping.
Go online to find information for large city outdoor shows and fairs. Locally, your Arts Councils and
Craft Associations can give/sell a resource guide.
Don't overlook the idea of local farmer's markets, fairs, and art festivals. Art can be sold at the most
unlikely time, in the most unlikely way, at the most unlikely venue. This is guerilla marketing and the
opportunities are endless. You could sell a $2000 painting in the Whistler weekend Farmer's Market, to a
woman who is browsing and shopping for organic potatoes while her husband is playing a round of golf.
Art in the Park: Stanley Park in Vancouver is a bustling art market. Check out these options in your
hometown, or create your own group to sell art in park areas. Plein air painting is very inviting to
viewers, Europe is famous for it and it is a wonderful opportunity to sell your work.
Cruise ships and tourist locations.
Special events and occasions: political events, 2010 Olympics, sports and cultural events.
Guerilla marketing = unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources (it
is worthwhile to search Guerilla Marketing on the internet. There are a host of worthwhile manuals, books
Best of success with your summer art sales!
Ruth Payne, Visual Arts Coordinator,
West Vancouver Cultural Services, Ferry Building Gallery
About Ruth Payne
Ruth brings 25 years of experience as a gallery curator, visual artist, stress management consultant and
teacher and runs the popular Arts Connection Networking Salon for visual artists.
This article first appeared in the My Art News Letter #22