Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art Shows Do's and Dont's: An Etiquette Guide for All

Art shows across the country enable artists to earn a living selling their art, and for patrons, to buy art that may not be readily available online or through retail stores and galleries.  After doing over 300 juried art shows the past 10 years, I thought it was time to provide a simple etiquette guide for attendees and artists to make art shows enjoyable for all!

Attendees: 

  • DO ask about the artist's story and process.  We all have a unique story, process, and inspiration behind our art.
  • DO ask if its ok to touch art and/or take pictures.  Many artists do not allow photography of art.
  • DO follow your favorite artists on social media (if you engage with social media).  It is a great way to keep track of what we are up to on a daily basis!
  • DON'T let your children touch art.  This can increase risk of damage and/or breakage of art and displays, which you may be held liable.
  • DON'T bring your dogs to an art show if the weather is above 80 degrees and the location is on concrete and/or sidewalks.  Dog's paws can burn and its very upsetting to witness this, and painful for your furry friend!
  • DON'T bargain our prices.  Art shows is a way many artists earn a full-time living.  Please honor the artists' pricing, as I believe many of us are offering our best price.  That said, some artists will do a quantity or a set discount, so if you are buying multiple pieces, it doesn't hurt to politely ask.

Artists:

  • DO smile and greet every person that comes into your booth.  You don't have to do a hard sell,  just let them know you are there to be of assistance.
  • DO have a sign up sheet so your fans can provide their email so you can let them know where you will be next, and any future promotions you may be offering (i.e. free shipping for holiday).
  • DO get to know your customer.  If you have a patron who is interested in a piece of art, ask them questions. In general, most people love friendly conversation. I can't tell you how many times people have bought from me over another artist because I was friendly and helpful.
  • DON'T have your head buried in your cell phone to the point where you aren't aware who is in your booth.  That gives the message you are disinterested and disconnected from the show. 
  • DON'T complain when you are in your booth; even if a show is slow, you never know who may be listening.  Negative talk spreads like a cancer, best not to engage.
  • DON'T have flimsy weights for your tent.  Cinder blocks, 1-gallon water jugs, and similar items are not only unprofessional, but pose a hazard to patrons and surrounding artists should inclement weather occur.  Standard is 40 pounds per leg, some art shows require minimum 50 pounds per leg, and a few require 100 pounds per leg. 

What is your favorite art show to attend or participate in?  Be sure to follow them on social media and thank the show director, staff, and volunteers!  Its unusual and fun (and sometimes really hard) way to make a living but I wouldn't have it any other way!  I hope to see you at one of my future events!