Working artists look for any financial help to supplement the costs of art materials and travel, so fellowships and grants are sure to be researched in the United States, especially the ones that are within reach. This isn’t an easy way to make a living and exhibiting at many shows a year means driving a truck, but if you can’t see yourself doing anything else, many artists and craftspeople sell their wares at shows and festivals, as crowds turn out by the thousands to buy paintings, woodwork and glasswork. To be successful at shows, you need to make a profit at every show you attend, but if you think selling your work at fairs might be for you, follow these tips.


Take a look at some of our favorite opportunities because when Terry Speer was a struggling art student, he put himself through college by selling his paintings and in 1979, he left academia to do the show circuit full time as an artist. Last year, the Coconut Grove festival drew more than 150,000 visitors and more than 330 exhibitors, as it’s a great opportunity for the public to connect with artists and you don’t have that in a gallery. If you’ve been painting or crafted for a while, you probably hanging on your walls or stacked all over the house, so now you may be thinking it’s time to indulge in the advantages of the art festival circuit in order to sell some of your pieces.


You don’t have to torture yourself by doing something you don’t like, because we’ll shop you how to make more money by selling your sculptures at art festivals and craft shows, including the Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Miami despite the travel and other miscellaneous costs. For home based artists and craftsmen, it means finding new customers at little cost and no overhead and allowing themselves to enjoy big markups on the work they create, but making money at fairs and shows isn’t easy, requiring research and the ability to keep a smile on your face for long hours. If you grew up with a fully stocked art studio and a patient mother, you probably have some innate creativity and some pieces in a show or gallery somewhere, once you honed your skill.


Make your work professional and do your research. If possible, an artist should show their work at art events to learn what the art buying public thinks about their work, as challenges can be overcome if you know your market. Some shows are juried, while others are open to everyone, and while an indoor art show may be beyond your grasp, a Renaissance fair may fit the bill, so start by talking to artists and craftsmen you meet, ask other vendors where the best shows are and they’ll tell you which fairs not to bother with.


Observe everything from the number of booths to the types of displays, but don’t photograph the displays without the artist’s permission, as most don’t allow photographs of their work.

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