I received an email asking me to submit my work for a Guild and show in Mississippi. I found that a pleasant surprise and very flattering. It is nice that a complete stranger would see my work somewhere and like it enough to ask me to join their guild and exhibit in their show.

We have begun the practice of trying to attend a show before we apply to be an exhibiting artist. We learned that lesson many years ago in my Mom’s art career, and it is a lesson that has served us well. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is a good business practice to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the show before spending time and money to participate.

What do we look for in shows?

First, the calibre of the work being exhibited. Was the show juried to get in? Is it work that will compliment mine? Is there a standard that exists across the show, or is it what we call ‘loving hands’? Are the price ranges in line with mine? Am I the least expensive, the most expensive, or right in the middle?

Second, are the people buying the work in the show the same people who would be my demographic? Are people buying? Do we see bags in people’s hands and vendors ringing up sales…or are people there to walk their dogs and eat a funnel cake? Funnel cakes and dogs are GREAT, but neither buys art!

Third, what is the set up and traffic flow of the show? Did the planning committee take this into consideration, or was it every tent for itself? Are the food vendors too close to the booths? Is the ‘band’ too loud, too close, or too rowdy for this type of venue? What is the general atmosphere of the show?

Fourth, what is the location like? Is it close to home, an overnight trip, or a long haul? Is it indoor or outdoor? Is electricity provided, what about a resting area away from the crowds for artists?

And finally, do we like the show? Would I want to put it on my artist’s resume and be proud to tell people I was involved? Will there be repeat business year after year?

That is a short version, but you get the idea…