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: