In Midland, Texas, we have two main celebrations of art and music. In the autumn, there’s Septemberfest, held on the grounds of The Museum of the Southwest. In the spring, there’s Celebration of the Arts, held at Midland Center and Centennial Plaza on Main Street. This past weekend was COA, and we went down to check it out.
Some years are more fully attended than others, and this wasn’t one of the great-big-crowd days, sadly. That’s never the best situation for artists trying to sell their work, but it does mean that they get to visit with people and talk about their travels and their work. We spent a couple hours meeting new artists and catching up with artists we’ve met in the past. It’s one of my favorite things about art events.
Most communities have something similar, and these local art shows can be an excellent way to get started showing and selling your work. Some shows, like the ones here, are juried; you have to submit your work and be accepted, and then you’re going to have to pay a booth fee and make other necessary arrangements about lighting, maybe a tent (sometimes they’re provided, sometimes not), sales tax info, etc.. Other shows have different requirements, though, so you’ll want to check and see what you need to do. And do it well ahead of time–most of the arrangements are made for the next year not long after the end of the event for this year. And if your town doesn’t have anything, check around. Neighboring towns may have shows, and then there are fairs, community exhibits, and various events held by local churches and other organizations. If you’re just starting to think about selling your art at a local event, check to find out what’s available. You may want to start big, with a juried show, but you might want to start with something with way less pressure.
And if you’re not selling work? Then be a supporter: attend the events, talk to the artists, buy whatever you like and can afford–in the current economy, most artists make a real effort to offer something at a variety of price points. We bought several sets of notecard-sized prints from a fabulous photographer whose work we’d never seen before. Her work was fascinating, and so are her stories; so we’re going to do a podcast this summer (stay tuned!)–and that’s what I love about art shows. There may not be huge crowds, and I may not like all the art, but I always find someone amazing, with fabulous stories that spark all kinds of ideas. Go and find out what you can discover~~
Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
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