Saturday, June 1, 2013

ART SHOWS 101,Vol.11: An Odd Ball List of items to Take to Your Next Outdoor Show

Outdoor show season has arrived! As you’re rushing to finish up and pack your items for sale, keep in mind that outdoor shows are a bit like camping. You will be outside for a long day or two -- or three. A quick stop at a hardware store and a discount variety store (think Big Lots) can help make those long days more comfortable. Here’s a list of odd ball items you might want to take with you:

Towels: bath towels, kitchen towels, or absorbent shop rags:

Like it or not, rain happens. Dry, absorbent towels can quickly dry off your product after a rain shower, clean up that beverage a would-be customer spilled on your table, and help to prevent mold and mildew growth on canopy walls if you dry them off before packing them at breakdown. 

Bungie cords, Electrical Zip Ties and/or clamps:

Good weights and stakes help hold your canopy in place, but even light breezes can topple signs and shelves if they are not anchored well.  Carrying a mixed bag of the above items can help you focus on sales rather than that wobbly rack or would-be airborne sign.

Clear Plastic sheeting and/or tarps: 

Not all shows will allow exhibitors to drive up to their allotted spaces. Having a tarp to throw over your work before your canopy is up will reduce your stress level on a misty morning. Tarps also come in handy as cover-ups if you plan on leaving your product in your tent overnight. 

Depending upon how watertight your tent is, clear plastic sheeting draped over your work will help you stay open through a rain shower.

Sun Umbrella and/or a sunhat:

Depending upon the location of your space, you may have morning, afternoon or early evening sun beating down on you - for hours and hours at a time

Rain coat, rain poncho, and/or umbrella:

For obvious reasons :-) Also, a change of clothes, or at least an extra pair of shoes and socks can make you more comfortable after a soggy set-up. Also keep in mind that the early morning cool temps you set up in may skyrocket during the day. Changing into lighter clothes as the  day heats up is so much better than stripping down to your underwear :-)

Tape Measure:

Some customers want to know the exact size of a framed larger work or sculpture. They may even walk into your display with written notes about their wall space. Don't lose a sale to a customers who LOVES a piece but thinks it might be an inch too big even if it's not.


To even out wobbly tables, panels and shelves.

Camera and/or smart phone camera:

Don’t forget to take a few booth shoots to use for next year’s applications -- and snapping a photo with your smart phone is great for Facebook posts and tweets about the show.

Cart: - or a similar product. I use the smallest one offered by this company and don’t know how I did shows without it. It’s small and compact and makes a huge difference if you are unable to pull up to your display for set-up and break-down.

Best of luck to everyone doing shows this summer! Wishing you clear skies, comfortable temperatures, and many, many sales!

Until next time -- keep creating!


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