Thursday, June 17, 2010

So You Want to Sell at Art Festivals

Picture with permission of Mary Arango

Have you ever wanted to sell your art at an art festival, but fear of the unknown stopped you dead in your tracks, while the desire for the gypsy lifestyle was still in your soul? Have you visited festivals to see the array of art from the high priced unique to the flea market bargains? Does asking other artists to share their secrets get you no where? You want to sell your artwork, you know that people would enjoy seeing it, and perhaps, buy it, but you don't know where to start. If you give it a go, will it be fun, profitable, energizing or a nightmare?

Well, have I found most of the answers in a new book by a working artist, printmaker, from Las Vegas, Nevada. I emailed her several years back, as I don't live far from Vegas. She has been doing art festivals for many years. Maria Arango of 1000 Woodcuts has published the most wonderful book with just about everything one might want to know. It is insightful as well as humorous. Maria tells it like it is from her own experiences. She unveils those tidbits that we would love to ask the working artists at art festivals, but were either afraid to ask, or simply this: They are there in the business of selling their art at a festival, and they don't want to lose a sale because they are joining other "could be's" in lengthy conversations about the how to's of business.I can see their point, and we cannot expect this of them. Maria remembers the questions, though, and decided to write this book to answer them for "would be's", "could be's" and "maybe's".

Maria Arango's book is called Art Festivals - The Artist's Guide to Selling at Art Festivals. Through her lighthearted humor, and downright honesty, she gives you the in's and outs of all sides of the business: The Do's and the Don't's, from start to end, preparation to finding the right shows for your work, setting up, marketing, your attitude, what one needs and doesn't, business tips to taxes. It is so informative that anyone even considering trying their hand at the art festivals should really read it and ponder. It will save you time, grief, and one excruciating backache...maybe... The book also has a wonderful bibliography at the end to help you find answers to your specific questions. There is a glossary to define things for you and resource websites to visit for products too. It has a wealth of information for those who want to embark on this journey that will save you time, expense and research work. It will also make you ask yourself the big questions: Are Art Festivals for me? Do I have what it takes in health, stamina and energy?

I encourage anyone thinking about selling artwork whether it be at festivals or small shows, to read the last chapter on business, taxes and other things. The entire book was a quick read and one of those that you can refer back to often.

Thank you, Maria! You can see Maria Arango's beautiful woodblock prints and learn more about her at her website:
Her Blog:


  1. Wonderful article Kate...I am familiar with this artist and her work is outstanding...but was not aware she wrote a book!! Don't know if I want to do art festivals, but will check out the book anyway as I am sure it has a wealth of good information....thanks for the heads up!!

  2. Great post KAte. It is right up my alley because I a taking an e-course from Kelly Rae Roberts on the same topic (well sort of). Will check it out.

  3. Well, girls, I'm glad you found the post to your liking. Art festivals are hard work. Well, many types of exhibits are with the lugging, set ups and break downs. But I read the last chapter first on the business of art which can be a good reference for profits, taxes, etc. Thanks for writing and have a wonderful day!!

  4. Hey Kate,

    THanks for your comment on the button. Yea that is what these buttons look like. I have seen them on other blogs. Basically it is a jpeg and then below is the code that will take you to my blog from where ever you put the button. I am sure there is a better way to do this, as you said with the code hiddend bewneath the button, but Ihave yet to figure it out. If you do, give me a holler and I will do the same :)

  5. I have this book Kate, it's great! I'm learning a lot from it.

  6. Wonderful, Cathy! I met Maria a couple of years ago at a small festival, didn't want to bother her with all the customers around, but have emailed occasionally. I love her woodblock prints. She's very talented. The book is so thorough and informative. Have a great day! {+:

  7. Super Post Kate.... you and I have had many a conversation about selling art over the years... and it is great to know there is a helpful book out there helping those today wanting to selling in this ever changing market. 25 years ago I could have given you all kinds of great advice but in today's market...well...*GULP* rather scary and uncertain! Thanks for this great heads up...


  8. Thanks, Jod! yes you're right with the economy. Not enough disposable income out there. But it seems she does well considering. I think she knows which shows to do and which to stay away from, and has a heck of a lot of energy. Guess you have to love the life. It's hard work. (+:


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