Art Festival Dos & Don'ts (that you suggested)

I enjoy a good art show.

The people can be as entertaining as the art.

1 week ago I put out a call for Art Fair Etiquette. Many thanks to all who responded, whether here or via email & forums. Buyers, browsers & vendors shared a number of great ideas & several people had the same suggestions. So while many of these ideas may seem obvious, I guess they bear reinforcing.


Give yourself plenty of time to set up your booth.

You & your booth should look professional. Yes, you are an artist & sometimes that means messy. But at the show you are also a retailer.

Good lighting is a must for indoor shows.

Greet everyone who enters the booth. Make eye contact and be friendly. Then give them some room to browse.

Some people leave a booth when the seller is inattentive: either on the phone, reading a book, arguing with booth mate, chatting with friends, too busy eating or actively ignoring everyone who stops in

Have business cards available. If they are in your pocket & you're talking to someone else, many visitors don't want to bother you.

If you will be at other shows please have a list available. Alternatively if you sell online, list that too.

Wear a name tag and/or post a photo of the artist in the booth. Also posting a bio & statement is a good idea. Many people will be curious about you and your art. Plus it gives customers something to read while you are talking to another customer.

Sitting vs Standing seems to be a toss-up. People feel strongly about their favorite. However being friendly & attentive without hovering is more important than either.

Set up bins towards the front of the booth so that even if your booth is full, customers can still browse.

Have a range of prices for all budgets. "A few pieces under $20" was recommended more than once.

Clear pricing. Many people don't want to interrupt you to ask the price. Or they think if they have to ask that it must be too expensive. Also, many people don't want to pick up your art to search for tag on bottom.

Please don't get offended if someone doesn't like your work.

Don't judge a person by how they are dressed. You don't know what's in their wallet. I guarantee you that if you ignore a customer because of how they look, that person will spend their money in another booth.

Don't leave the booth unattended. This should be a gimme, but you might be surprised how many potential buyers mentioned this tip.

Don't break your booth down early. Some buyers were planning on stopping in again after they look around at the rest of the show first. Also if you are packing up, some people don't want to bother you about the pieces you are putting away.

Several sellers suggested to just enjoy the experience. Instead of worrying about sales remember to have fun. Stay upbeat ( & smiling) even if sales are slow.


Please compliment the artist if you like a piece, even if you can't take it home.

Watch your dog, child or stroller. While you are chatting with your friends they might be tearing up the booth. Or running over other attendees.

There were a lot of dog comments, mostly from dog owners who are annoyed by other "irresponsible owners." Keep your dog on a leash or in your arms. Don't feed or/ water them in the middle of the moving crowd. Please "remember this is an art show & not a dog show" (my personal favorite).

Do not block a booth's entrance either with your dogs or chatting with friends.

Understand that the artist may not want to remake the exact piece in another color. It is ok to ask - Some artists enjoy such custom work. But others focus on one of a kind pieces & wont be interested.

Don't ask for a custom piece that would infringe on someone else's copyright.

Please leave the booth before criticizing the art/price or offering to make one for your friend.

Just because the art doesn't match your decor doesn't mean it is ugly.

Don't request a lower price if you don't intend to buy.

Or ask for step by step details on how the piece was made.

Only ask to put a piece "on hold" if you really will be coming back to buy it. Please be understanding if the artist will not hold it for you. They need to sell the piece & have no guarantee that you will return.

Know that not all the artwork has a deeper meaning. Feel free to ask though if the artist isn't busy with another customer.

Do ask about a piece if you don't "get it." The artist may have an explanation that makes sense and changes your perspective.

And to the companies that host the Art Fairs

Please give the artists enough time to set up. This can be a problem if they are working alone, especially if they have to park far away from the show.

For Everyone

Just be nice! There are a lot of people at the show and someone will overhear what you are saying. Keep that in mind please.

Of course there are people like me, who enjoy the people-watching almost as much as the art. To us, your flippant remarks & temper tantrums are potential blog fodder!!

Again, thank you to all who took the time to make these suggestions! And for your patience with this delayed posting.

Want to read a few of these ideas in the words of the contributors? Click Here & Here - then check out the comments.

Have your own comments to add? Please do! I'd love to read them!

And Finally My Disclaimer: While I have never had a booth at an art show, I love to attend them. I do work trade & consumer shows for the day job and see similar faux pas there as well.


Totally off topic: Wind & Honey Creations is sponsoring a giveaway on this blog. On 3/25 one random winner will take home a Mini Traveling Art Kit. This drawing is open world wide with free shipping. To enter just leave a comment (with your contact info if it isn't in your profile). CLICK HERE for photos of prize & details.


  1. Awesome post, Stacey! So many good tips (and reminders).

  2. sweet! thanks for complying these pointers!

  3. ALl great pieces of advice. Thanks for posting them. It's always nice to see what others are thinking.

  4. This is great advice thanks for posting this

  5. Where was this list before my show this weekend????

    I was one of those that forgot the name tag and bio. :(

    All great pieces of advice. Thank you for putting it all together!

  6. That's a great, comprehensive guide!

  7. Love these tips! thanks for the heads up & reminders.

  8. Hey Stacey,
    Aw, this list is awesome and very helpful! I'll send this post link to all my artist friends! :)

  9. Figments by Kathleen7:34 AM, March 16, 2010

    Great list! I haven't done a show in quite a while but good points for both sides of the table.

  10. Oops, last comment was mine but it didn't link back....sorry!

  11. Honestly, I just wish I could FIND a good one around here! These are excellent tips for both sides! I've worked similar shows and attended, as well, and these are right in line! Great post!

  12. This couldn't have come at a better time. I have my first craft fair in a month! Thanks! You asked about printers. I have an Epson R280 and I love it. I actually found it on craigslist for $30. I had to drive an hour to get it but it had never been used so it was absolutely worth it. I think in general Epsons and HPs are the way to go for art prints.

  13. Great post! I do lots of craft/art shows and these are all right on. I'm sorry I missed the original request. One thing I would add for customers: please don't ask (or expect) the people in the booth to babysit your kids and/or dogs. Believe it or not, I've had both happen.
    There's an award waiting for you on my blog http://threadsofmagique.blogspot.com Stop by for a visit.

  14. I have my first art fair coming up in May. I REALLY appreciate the tips!

  15. Great ideas and advice!!! Thanks for compiling them!

  16. Perfect post! I had to giggle at the list for the buyers, telling them to leave the booth before making rude or flippant comments...I was a seller at an art show last month where this guy commented to his girlfriend that "anyone can produce photos like that with Photoshop" while flipping through my unmatted photos...I almost laughed out loud because I do not use Photoshop on my work...Even my "Ethereal Series" photos are untouched - the colors are just inverted...You have to wonder why people have to be rude - especially right in front of you...sigh...Guess it takes all kinds :D

  17. Great article, Stacey. I was very intimidated at my first show last year. I'm going to bookmark this article so I can reread it before my next show. Thanks.

  18. Very good advice! I have only been out in the public with afiori three times but I've done well on those occasions - and I think I did "right" by several points on the list here. Will remind myself of others. Hmm... I used to work in a shop - that probably helped!

  19. p.s. What is the name tag for? Is it just nicer to know a person's name?