This Blog Has Moved!!

October 31, 2008 by

The Art Fair Insider blog is no longer being hosted in this location. Please visit my new art fair community site at: for the very latest in art fair news.

While you are there, please join the community for lots of new information and conversations about the business and the people involved in Art Fair World.

This site will continue to host the archives of older blog entries but please visit for the latest now!


All Good Things Come From Art Fairs – Part I

October 28, 2008 by

Enjoy reading these musings courtesy of artist, Mona Majorowicz. Her blog is entitled: “Fur in the Paint, Art, Animals and the Creative Experience.” Be sure to read the entire post, as it is full of good analysis and information.

Okay, so after an entire summer of me talking about being rained out, stormed on and losing big $$$ at Omaha Summer Arts Festival, as well as saying repeatedly that the older I get the less I like all the hauling and toting, some of you may be thinking how can I say “all good things come from art fairs.” Well because in regards to my business, it’s true.

I want to be clear that I am not promoting doing art fairs as the best way to grow your art business, (though it is certainly a viable one.) In fact, in my recent post “In this Economy” I described why making a living doing the circuit is getting harder all the time.

“art fairs for me was a way to make some money without really having to know what I was doing.”

On the other hand, when I started out I knew nothing of promoting my art. I had worked in the art business at a museum and gallery. But running a major frame shop is completely different than becoming a successful artist. In fact my lack of knowledge is exactly why I chose the art fair path. My degree is in Veterinary Technology, and I have no training in the arts. Back then I had no solo gallery exhibits to my credit, no awards, no portfolio of quality work and no idea of how to talk with galleries.

Art fairs for me was a way to make some money without really having to know what I was doing. I mean if someone liked my work, they bought it. It can’t get much easier than that right? Of course the truth is you still need knowledge on how to sell your work, especially in these times of uncertainty. But doing art fairs allowed me to gain the knowledge I needed through experience.

” . . . doing art fairs allowed me to gain the knowledge I needed through experience.”

I started out in small events, made some sales, gained some confidence and moved to bigger events. That is still my path. I continue to keep challenging myself with bigger venues. The truth is, in large part it was participating in art fairs that gave me the confidence to deal with galleries and clients. Art fairs provided me with the opportunity to earn an income while in my spare time I learned the art business and more importantly continued to create better art.

So here is a brief overview of the ways in which my business has progressed because of my participation in art fairs over the years. I will go into more detail on these in tomorrows post.

  • Exhibition Opportunities
  • Awards
  • Columnist for Apples ‘N Oats magazine
  • Patrons, Collectors and Mailing Lists
  • New Markets and Wholesale Accounts
  • Thanks,  Mona, for sharing your point of view.

    Readers, I’d love to hear from you also about your art fair experiences.

    Did They Bother to Market the Fair? Four Festivals Reviewed

    October 27, 2008 by

    Here is a good roundup of four fall festivals. Maybe you won’t be traveling to Georgia and Tennessee, but it is always helpful to read about other areas of the country, find trends and then plan, plan, plan!

    My thanks to bead artist Diane Kovach, who blogs about art fairs from her home in Acworth, GA. Read: Diane’s Fall Festival Review, with her “honest, and maybe not so fair Fall Festival review.”

    #1 in Creativity: Des Moines Arts Festival’s Timely Appeal

    October 27, 2008 by

    Just in case you missed it — kudos to Stephen King and staff at the Des Moines Arts Festival for their catchy message:

    I’m not asking for your vote, but I am asking you to apply to the 2009 Des Moines Arts Festival!
    The DEADLINE for (z)application to the 2009 Des Moines Arts Festival is Friday, Oct 31, at 11:59:59!

    Don’t wait until the polls close, apply today at

    We hope you will include us in your plans for 2009.

    Many thanks!
    Stephen King, CFEE

    Make More Money This Weekend?

    October 18, 2008 by

    Did you miss’s second call-in teleseminar?

    Make More Money

    Here is your opportunity to own a transcript of the conversation, 29 pages on 20 topics submitted by artists. It is full of helpful insights to dilemmas faced by beginning art fair artists.

    Recently we held our second teleseminar where I answered questions from my subscribers about art fairs. We recorded the session and it is now available as an e-book on the web site for purchase for $12.95.

    Click here right now to purchase the brand new e-book “Teleseminar II – Getting Into Art Fairs: 20 Questions Answered.” Look for the “Buy Now” button on the right sidebar.

    Some of the topics addressed:

    * what are some of the best items for art fairs?
    * what style of art is most in demand?
    * how do I raise money to get started?
    * what are the best sources for finding art fairs?
    * what sells and where?
    * how do you tell the difference between shows with buyers and shows with lookers?
    * what are art fairs looking for in the application?
    * why do I need a booth slide? what is a booth slide?
    * how do I arrange my booth?
    * how do I determine a price?

    Here is what some of the participants had to say:

    Hi Connie,

    I missed the first teleseminar, but listened to the second one that was yesterday. Thanks to your website I am very busy this summer beginning tomorrow (Warren Co. Festival of the Arts) till August 23rd (Mason Heritage Festival). I had some concerns about booth display and yesterday’s teleseminar gave me confidence.

    Thank you again and feel free to use my comments as a testimonial. Also, since English is the 5th language to me feel free to proofread before you use any of my emails :).

    Konul Zwolinski


    Wanted to thank you for providing me the opportunity to join the call. Great information, and you organized the presentation of the topics very well, each flowed into the other.
    Can’t wait for the next seminar.
    You mentioned the possibility of focused calls – booth design would be most helpful. Would save a lot of trial and error.

    Thank you,
    JR Lamartine

    Connie, I found your seminar helpful and informative. I look forward to future opportunities. i have just gotten started in this business, so I welcome all sources of experience and support. Please keep me on your e-mail list. I can anticipate using more of your services, in the future.

    Enlightened Images,LLC

    Thank you Constance:
    I’m looking forward to reading what the two of you had to say.
    Even with a more than 30 year history of painting and 2 masters degrees in Painting I’m having no luck even being accepted to Festivals. Any tips that help will be greatly appreciated.


    Selling Your Art – Great Tips from a Master

    October 17, 2008 by

    The following information comes from the newsletter of the highly regarded author publicist, Rick Frishman. I read his newsletters faithfully because they are full of thoughtful and pragmatic publicity tips.

    These “on the mark” sales tips are from super salesman Harvey Mackay:

    Buying jewelry from Diana Christiansen

    *It’s not how much it’s worth; it’s how much people think it’s worth. Marketing is neither the art of selling nor the simple business of convincing someone to buy. It is the art of creating conditions by which the buyer convinces himself. And nothing is more convincing than hard evidence that others want the same thing. (This is why there is such competition for the big name art fairs–because this is where the serious money is earned.)

    * Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. Knowing your customers means knowing what they really want. Maybe it’s your product, but maybe it’s something else too–recognition, respect, reliability, service or friendship. (Study the people who have bought from you, learn why, extrapolate that to the next customer.)

    * You are not important. Our challenge, whether we are salespeople or negotiators or managers or entrepreneurs, is to make others see the advantage to themselves in responding to our proposal. Understanding our subjects’ personalities is vital. Let them shine. Our own personalities are subordinate. (Yep, it is not about you, it is about what the patron needs.)

    Buying graphics from Ed Bordett

    Buying graphics from Ed Bordett

    * Your reputation is your greatest asset. While you, yourself, are not important, your reputation is. It’s not product, price or service. Everything flows from your reputation — customer loyalty, referrals and more. (Positioning yourself at the top art fairs, having an impeccable booth, dressing like your customer all reinforce the signal your art sends to the customer.)

    * Apply the law of large numbers. Position yourself as Number Two to every prospect on your list, and keep adding to that list. I can promise you that if your list is long enough, there are going to be Number Ones that fail to perform, retire or die or lose their territories for many reasons. What I can’t tell you is which ones. If you’re standing second in line, in enough lines, sooner or later you’re going to move up to Number One. (And, as you well know in the business Number One changes from show to show.)

    * Short notes yield long results. I’m amazed by how many salespeople don’t write thank you notes. It’s all a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, just as important as remembering names and taking a personal interest in people. And it’s not just for sales. (Treat people as you like to be treated.)

    Collette Fortin selling her glass

    Collette Fortin selling her glass

    * Keep your eye on your time, not on your watch. A salesperson really has nothing to sell but her time. Her product exists independently of anything she adds to it. Her personality will win her or lose her accounts initially, but if she isn’t around to provide service and be accessible to customers, she’ll lose those accounts. (One of my pet peeves, the artist hiding behind their booth–they have spent hundreds of dollars to be there and then are unavailable–money down the drain.)

    * Position yourself as a consultant. The mark of a good salesperson is that his customer doesn’t regard him as a salesperson at all, but a trusted and indispensable adviser, an auxiliary employee who, fortunately, is on someone else’s payroll. (This is an easy one, you know more about art than 90% of your customers. Speak with authority.)

    * Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Who says you’re not tougher, smarter, better, harder working, more able than your competition? It doesn’t matter if they say you can’t do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.

    * If you don’t have a destination, you’ll never get there. Everybody and every business needs a set of basic goals and beliefs, but most of us are seat-of-the-pants, one-day-at-a-time operators. Our goals are fuzzy and our plans for achieving them non-existent. Goals don’t have to be elaborate either, just realistic.

    * Practice positive visualization. I have found this to be one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. It’s what an athlete does when he comes on to the field to kick a winning field goal with three seconds on the clock and 60,000 screaming fans and millions more watching on TV. Great athletes and businesspeople have the ability to visualize themselves in successful situations. (My favorite visualization is zipping that credit card and watching the artwork being wrapped up.)

    * Ask for the order. It’s amazing what you don’t get when you don’t ask. An insurance agent whom he had known for many years, once asked the famous automobile pioneer Henry Ford why he never got any of Ford’s business. “You never asked me,” Ford replied.
    Mackay’s Moral: Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; but involve me, and I’ll understand. (I always liked it best when the customer said, “I’ll take it,” but sometimes they need some coaxing.)

    For more go to

    Many thanks to that master of PR, Rick Frishman, for allowing me to adapt his article.

    Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
    Subscribe at and receive Rick’s “Million Dollar Rolodex” Newsletter Reaches 10,000 Subscribers

    October 15, 2008 by

    Yesterday was certainly a day for good news. Over 9000 for the Dow and which reached a milestone today–10,000 subscribers to its’ newsletter! Thank you!

    You have been a wonderful audience and I truly appreciate the great letters, good questions, compliments, suggestions and sometimes crabby (but always helpful) emails.

    I’m so grateful that the rise of the Internet has allowed me to take my years of experience at art fairs (since l979) and turn them into a venue that allows me to share my expertise with the art fair community and stay in touch with all all of my friends.

    Bringing patrons to art fairs to meet my old friends and exposing new artists to this business has been a great pleasure. Thanks to each and everyone of you!

    On the Streets in Ann Arbor

    On the Streets in Ann Arbor

    The Honor Roll

    I could not have brought you all the art fair news without the following generous people:

    Scott Fox, author of Internet Riches
    Michael DiGiovanni,
    Corinne Hazzard, Tori Kobriger, Ann Fruland of Beckman’s Living & Giving
    Debbie Netter, D & W Events
    Lorena Hatfield, K & K Insurance


    Elizabeth Kubie,*
    Susan Calkins, Kay Goodall, Art Rapids! Elk Rapids, MI*
    Barbara Willerman, Skokie Art Fair, Skokie, IL*
    Tom Marben, Alpenstrasse, Gaylord, MI
    Roslyn Long, Elmhurst Art Fair, Elmhurst, IL*
    Barbara & Nancy Huff, Easton Art Fair & Art Affaire at the Greene, Columbus, OH*
    Mary Meike, Art in the Park, Oak Park, IL*
    Carolyn Saxton, Lakefront Art Festival, Michigan City, IN*
    Bonnie Blandford, Garage Sale Art Fair, Kalamazoo, MI*
    Lisa Hooper, Wyandotte Street Fair, Wyandotte, MI*
    Becky Hoag, Art in Your Eye, Batavia, IL

    Artist Jody McLeane discusses her work

    Artist Jody McLeane discusses her work

    Donna Beaubien,FineArt at the Village, Rochester Hills, MI & Greektown Art Fair, Detroit, MI*
    Carrie Zarotney, Art in the Park, Birmingham, MI
    Joann Wilkie, St. Clair Art Fair, St. Clair, MI*
    Cecelia Green, Arts in Bartlett, Bartlett, IL
    Kitty Zurko, Wooster Arts Jazz Fest, Wooster, OH
    Richard Rothbard, American Art Marketing, Slate Hill, NY
    Kristen Beaulieu, Wilmette Fine Arts Festival, Wilmette, IL*
    Raychel Rork, Art in the Park, Plymouth, MI
    M. Sponseller, Downtown Sidewalk Sale, Mt. Pleasant, MI

    Julie & Tracy Tepp, Atlanta Arts Festival, Atlanta, GA *
    Larry Stone, Warren County Fest. of the Arts, Lebanon, OH*
    Gloria Moschel, Wilmette Arts Fair, Wilmette, IL
    Ron Vliem, National Baby Food Festival, Fremont, MI
    K. Bennewitz, Westport Creative Arts Fest., Westport, CT*
    Nancy Twigg, Frederick Festival of the Arts, Frederick, MD*
    M. Williams & Dana Pry, Bethesda Row Arts Fest., Bethesda, MD*
    Carol Cassidy-Fayer, Midwest Fiber Fair, Crystal Lake, IL
    Laura Thiel, Downtown Fine Art Fair, Mokena, IL
    N. Coumoundouros, Art on the Grand, Farmington, MI*

    Rick Bryant, Central PA Fest. of the Arts, State College, PA*
    Christine Neal, Marco Island Fine Art Fest., Marco Island, FL
    Emily Cable, Upper Arlington Art Fair, Upper Arlington OH*
    Greg Weichert, Cape Coral Art Festival, Cape Coral, FL
    Sue Pfeiffer, St. Nick’s Warehouse, Utica, MI*
    Tom & Jacki Crimboli, Warren’s Birthday Bash, Warren, MI
    Aida Sarvan, The Artist Project, Chicago, IL & One of a Kind Wholesale Show, New York City
    Maralee Rosamund, Art in the Park, Lathrup Village, MI *
    Daniel Strickland, Strickland
    Karla Prickett, Smoky Hill River Festival, Salina, KS
    Dennis Gorg, CWE Art & Taste Fair, St. Louis, MO

    Shary Brown, Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, Ann Arbor, MI
    Susan DiMarco, Art in the Park, Montclair, NJ
    Howard & Janet Rose, Rose Squared Productions, NJ*
    Amy Amdur, Amdur Productions, Chicago, IL
    D. Downing, Canal Fulton Historical Fair, Canal Fulton, OH
    Pam Reinhardt, Shelby Township Art Fair, Shelby Twp., MI
    Corinn Van Wyck, East Lansing Art Festival, East Lansing, MI
    Melanie Atkinson, ArtExpo byDesign, Gatlinburg, TN
    Judy Mills, Ohio Mart, Akron, OH*
    Jennifer Callans, Stars & Stripes Festival, Mt. Clemens, MI*
    Robert Cohn, Branson Festival of Arts, Branson, MO
    Michelle Weber, 57th Street Art Fair, Chicago, IL
    Lori Phillips, PCMB Fall Arts Ensemble, Canton, MI*
    Maggie Strong, Midsummer Arts Faire, Quincy, IL

    J. Wysong, Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Fest., Nappanee, IN
    Christa, Wheaton Fine Art Fair, Wheaton, IL
    Marty Anderson, Kenosha Museums Art Fest., Kenosha, WI
    Patty Vlazny, Village of Orland Park Art Fair, Orland Park, IL
    Diana Mark, S. Miami Rotary Art Festival, S. Miami, FL
    Joanne Bartley, Frankfort Art Festival, Frankfort, MI
    Liz Rundorff, Artisphere, Greenville, SC
    Nancy Meiling, Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Art Fair, IL
    Amy Eaton, Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA
    Susan Hammer, Cornucopia, Evanston, IL
    J. & M. DuBois, Alternative Bldg. Supply, Winston-Salem, NC
    Sara Collins, Stone Arch Festival, Minneapolis, MN
    John Szostek, Custer’s Last Stand, Evanston, IL
    Carly Barth, Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Omaha, NE

    AND, many many thanks to all of my subscribers, especially those like Ed Seidman of Chicago who keep me up to date on changes in art fair schedules and let me know about their latest art fair finds.

    I sit here everyday with my loyal companion, my Mac, and talk to you. It is great to get feedback. Thank you.

    And, of course, can you do me a favor? If you find this website and newsletter and blog helpful or interesting would you please forward it to a friend?

    See you at the art fair!

    *repeat advertiser

    Two Different Ends of the Spectrum: Blogging About Art

    October 13, 2008 by

    I guess I am not a real blogger, I don’t usually write about my own thoughts, but instead do a lot of reporting about others thoughts. Works for me, hope for you too.

    That being said, here are two art blogs I found today that are pretty interesting. The first one by an artist doing her first art fair, the second by a blog so full of professional information I think I am on overload.

    1. Shaping My Way, by Kyra Wilson, a professional artist, certified personal trainer, writer. An experienced artist who has spent her time in fancy gallery group shows, today’s blog entry discusses her experiences at her first outdoor art fair this past weekend in Vermont. It is an amusing account as well as has some good tips for new exhibitors.

    2. Making a Mark, by Katherine Tyrell, is so thorough and full of links and details I can’t imagine that she does anything except research and write, yet she is also an artist. Links to everything art related, not so much about art fairs though, it is more gallery and competition oriented, but helpful to just about anyone reading my blog.

    If you wander into it, I dare you to get anything else done today. (I just got lost in it for another half hour).

    (Maybe you should bookmark this post and come back to it this winter when you snowed in.)

    Looking for an Alternative Marketplace? NC Based Company Seeks Artist/Craftsman Goods

    October 8, 2008 by

    Here is a recent email I recently received:

    Hello Connie,

    I am a subscriber, ceramic artist and designer. My partner and I are collaborating on an Alternative Building Supply & Design Centre in Winston-Salem, NC.

    With our economy in the condition that it’s in, and the struggles that many artists have, we want to provide representation for artists who are producing functional products for the home to make their locally and US produced work and talents accessible to the public on a different level and with the alternative perspective allowing consumers to see that the big box stores are not the only answer to creating a home renovation project.

    We would like to provide ceramic and glass tile, wrought iron functional accessories such as bathroom accessories-towel bars, sinks, etc., handcrafted wood products using re-claimed woods, and anything recycled for wallcovering treatments and window treatments. Can you assist me in this endeavor?
    Marie DuBois

    What a great idea, Marie! All of us are looking for alternative venues for our work. Artists, if you are interested in this opportunity contact her at:

    The St. James Court Art Show in Louisville Report

    October 6, 2008 by
    St. James Court by mister_poppular

    St. James Court by mister_poppular

    Didn’t make it to Louisville this past weekend, October 3-5? Maybe you’ll want to be there next year for the St. James Court Art Show and its satellite shows on 3rd Street, 4th Street and Belgravia Court. They tout 700 artists and around 300,000 visitors in this beautiful, leafy old neighborhood full of historic homes. It is a lovely place to spend a fall day, see and be seen, eat Kentucky burgoo and discover treasures.

    Here are reviews to pique your interest:

    A site with many images, including the one above:

    Another site that has wonderful images of the unique architecture of the neighborhood (enough to bring you to the district again to see it without the crowds), This man needs to be on the Chamber of Commerce for the city.

    St. James Court Art Show Ends Sunday
    WLKY – Louisville,KY,USA
    Perfect weather has made for a comfortable stroll for visitors of the St. James Court Art Show. Some of the finest artists and craftsmen in the country came … read the story and see the video.

    From the Louisville Courier-Journal: St. James art show: It’s a scene.

    See you there next year?