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How many of you guys have experience working art festival scenes?
I'll be getting a decent income tax return for the first time. And instead of putting it into something I don't need, why not make some money!
There are tons of art festivals around my area and most of it's not that great to be perfectly honest.
So, if you have experience maybe you could answer a few questions and contribute.
How much does it cost, normally and on average to purchase a space?
What sells the most?
For my area of Florida, I'm guessing beach scenes with palm trees lol.
Would anyone purchase prints or should I just go with originals?
And if I do go with originals, should I maybe buy nice paper and do some watercolor scenes to frame?
If you have any advice I would like to hear it.
I know conceptart art is the goal, but I have skills(and so do you must likely) that can be used to get something going on the side while I pursue that dream.
A booth space at a small art festival will cost anywhere from 150 to 600 for the space. You have to provide everything else -tent, table, chairs, hanging system, and credit card machine. So even in a small venue, be prepared to lay out a couple of grand. At a premiere venue like the Sausalito art festival a booth space is 1200 to 3000.
Then you need to fill it with your stuff so either prints or framed originals. Prints need to be matted and sleeved in plastic. Originals need to be framed and hanging wires added. Cheap frames will cost you 30 to 100 a piece depending on image size. You will need business cards or brochures which will cost you 100 to 300.
You will need a resale license and tax ID at most venues too, they will want to collect the tax from you daily at a reputable venue.
I do them... most of my art income is from these shows.
Cost: Depends on location and size of show.
Large and popular festivals (ones that have been around for a while and are popular) have booths that are about $1000 - $4000. The people who come to these festivals will spend a good deal of money and won't hesitate purchasing a $2500 painting (if they like it). These are great shows to start getting collectors.
Small to Mid-size shows are about $300 - $1000. These shows are hit-and-miss. Depends on the time of year, the economy in that location, the weather, and what type of advertisement was done for that show. I've done some of those shows where I've seen people make $0 and some made around $3000.
What sells the most? Any good work. However, this also depends on the location. Seascape paintings sell great near the coastline, local tourist attraction paintings sell in attraction areas, bright and colorful paintings sell well in Florida. The best way to find out what sells is to 1) walk the show, 2) talk to the artists and, most importantly, watch what types of bags the customers are carrying.
The small shows are usually around $45 to $200. These shows are mainly useful for getting your work out there, trying out the art festival to see if you like it, making contacts and learning.
Prints: This also depends on the show. Some shows only allow originals and no prints. Some shows allow prints, but a majority of the booth is original and you can't hang prints on the walls, only originals. You'll find that the larger and more prestigious shows typically only want originals and very small amount of prints. But, you will find that, at those shows, the prints don't move as quick as originals.
For the smaller shows, prints are great. You'll mainly make booth fee and minor profit from the prints. You'll also find that prints are great around the Christmas season. People want them as gifts for others.
For the art festival circuit, you'll find that, if you have the right product, you'll do well. Now, as dpaint says, it's expensive. Since I have a full-time job (writing software) and very little vacation time and am in northern New England, I don't tend to go to a ton of shows. However, you have to remember that presentation is everything at a show. You're competing with a lot of other artists. A typical indoor booth is around $1200 - $2000 (Assuming 10 x 10). Then add the chair, lights, print bins, etc... you are looking at another additional $400. Now, remember that each indoor show, you also have to pay for electricity. This ranges from $50 to $200 per show. Then you have sales tax for each state you are going to show in, quarterly taxes to pay, cost of prints/backing/mounting, any advertising that you do, and, if you are traveling, you have the food/hotel/gas/etc costs.
For some of the larger shows, I also have to rent a van to carry all of my stuff plus lots of extra inventory.
If you are doing an outdoor show, also, a good and reliable tent will be about $1200 - $2000 (Although, you can get a used one for cheaper price. Trimlines, etc are good tents. Most people claim that the EZ-UP tents, which are fairly inexpensive are also EZ-downs with heavy wind).
One other incidental I would recommend is getting show insurance. You don't want your tent or display to take out some other vendor's tent/display. It'll be pretty expensive. My insurance for shows cost around $200 per year. Since it's a business, it does not fall under your homeowner's insurance.
So, the initial costs to get into this side is not cheap. But, if you have a product that a lot of people can connect with and is reasonably priced, you can find that it's a pretty nice living.
The only way to really know what you are getting into is to "walk" a show. Watch the vendors and see what people are buying.
Hope this helps.