Shopping at an Art Fair

Suggestions for shopping at an art fair

Obtain a small spiral notebook and a reliable writing device dedicated to art fairs.

Prior to the event go the event website and familiarize yourself with the different exhibitors and their work and take notes. Jot down the booth numbers and websites of your favorites.

Some event websites will have links to exhibitor’s websites, if not Google them. Many exhibitors will have a show schedule on their website or Face Book page. Feel free to contact any artist with your questions or concerns. If there is a festival map, print it out so you know where to park and to get yourself oriented to the show layout. Make notes on the map for quick reference.

If you are looking for wall art, free standing sculpture or furniture, take a few pictures of the area you wish to enhance to email to the artisan ahead of time and/or to show them to the artisan at the event. Measure the intended space or spaces and jot these dimensions in your notebook. Paint samples and/or fabric swatches can be helpful to bring to the art event.

Prepare for your weekend ahead of time. Bring your notebook and festival map! Some events will have a festival program with a map in it, so pick one up at the information center. Comfortable shoes are a must as is a sun hat, sun block, an umbrella, other rain gear and a light jacket (just in case!). Packing water bottles and a few power bars or trail mix is a good idea. When you are hungry you can get fatigued and indifferent. When you get food at an art air, please do not bring it into the exhibitor’s booths and please wash your hands before continuing your shopping. If you have a beverage with you, please do not set it down anywhere in an exhibitor’s booth, instead hand it to your companion so it will not spill or leave a ring on a $4200 table.

Stop and rest occasionally. Experiencing a lot of artwork in a short period of time can be overwhelming, so take a break and pace yourself. If you are attending the show with children, talk to them ahead of time about respecting the artwork, and to have them ask the artisan if they can touch the artwork first. The same goes for adults, ask first please.

If you are attending the event with friends, remember everyone has different interests and will want to linger at some booths and skip other booths, so a meeting place and time can be arranged ahead of time. Most everyone has a cell phone these days, so make sure you have each other’s phone numbers.

I encourage people to take pictures of the pieces in my booth, other exhibitors do not allow it, and so you will want to ask permission first. Pick up business cards. If they are not obvious, ask the artisan for one. Make notes on the card such as the booth number, location and date. Use your notebook for more detailed information to help you remember. Many of my clients have to experience my work two or more times before making a purchase. I have been told many times that they have saved up for a year or more for one of my pieces, a very high compliment.

If your living partner (or if there are other decision makers involved) are not able to attend the show, email those images to them for feedback. Being at an art fair all day can cause sensory overload, so rest up from your adventure and review the images when you get home. It is a good idea to attend the event more than one day so that you will have time to think about your choices. Most of my sales occur on Sunday.