Saturday, July 27, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters, Vol. 19: Bigger Isn't Always Better

Understanding the Connection Between Expenses and Net Profit

In an ideal world, participating in "Big" Art Shows should lead to BIG profits -- right? Well -- sometimes yes, and sometimes not so much. Traveling from city to city to participate in festivals can get pretty expensive. There are hotel/lodging expenses, gas, tolls, wear and tear on your vehicle and increased food/dining expenses - not to mention TIME! Your time, that you could spend doing something other than driving or hanging out at a hotel after the show closes for the day.

Be sure to consider ALL of the costs of doing shows before diving in. It's amazing how many artists just don't do that! Bigger does not always mean better!

Let me offer a case in point:

 I decided to opt out of a Central New York show that I usually do on this weekend. It's a three day street show that has seen it's attendance decline over the years. Instead, I participated in a one day show in Ithaca - the Ithaca Artists Market -- and it turned out to be a good decision! While I sold less art work this show, my expenses were lower, so I  actually made more money than I did at last year's much larger three day festival. 

Now, it doesn't always work out this way :-) But taking a close look at the actual costs connected to shows can help you decide which ones are must-dos and which ones you may want to skip next time around. 

Here are more pictures from the show:

Until next time - keep creating!



  1. Its all about cost isn't it? At least at some point you really have to think about maximizing your income and minimizing your costs. Its hard to learn so thanks for sharing your insights...this is a great reminder.

  2. If you make big money at shows it doesn't matter as much. If it costs you $700-$1000 to sell $5000 in work -- so what! But, if it costs $700 to sell $1200, that's a completely different story. From what I've seen this year, many shows are down -- a lot! So, at times like these, you've got to keep an eye on expenses.