If there’s an art fair in your area, take the time to visit. You’ll get a great overview of what’s happening in fine art galleries.
Remember, an art fair is different from an art festival, where artists sell their work directly to the public. At an art fair galleries showcase and sell the works of artists they represent. Usually an art fair lasts several days, and includes 50-100 galleries from across a wide geographical range.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed! You might just wander around in a daze, especially if it’s your first time. A good way to benefit from your visit is to think about your goals, and make a plan.
Go to the fair’s website, where the participating galleries are listed, and pick 10-20 you want to see. They might be galleries you’ve heard about, or ones where you might seek representation, or galleries from far away that you’d never get to see in person. These are the anchors for your visit.
As you follow your plan, feel free to explore other galleries that catch your eye. The anchors just give you a structure to follow so that you don’t miss your favorites in the chaos around you. Notice trends, and pay attention to prices.
Take your business cards, but don’t assume that anyone wants to hear about your own art. Remember, galleries pay high fees to exhibit and sell the work of their artists. The best ones welcome all visitors and are open to having a conversation with you. Ask questions about the artists they show. Open-ended questions like “tell me about the artist” will get you started. Be sure to ask how they discover artists.
Their answers will help you plan the next steps in your own career.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.