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Locating Art Shows

How to Find Them in Your Local Area

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Art Show Tent

Art Show Tent

Tammy Powley
For many jewelry makers, their passion starts out as a hobby that they do for their own personal satisfaction. However, eventually, they often find themselves asked to make pieces for friends and family. And then, one day it happens. A complete stranger compliments you on a piece of jewelry you are wearing, and you reply, "Why, thank you. I made it." Soon, you are pulling the piece off of your body and handing it over, and your first "customer" is handing you a check or cash in exchange. You are now no longer a simple hobbyist. You are a business! This is how it usually happens.

Soon, however, you learn that not all sales will be that easy, and you are on the hunt for venues for your work. One of the first areas many artists consider include local art shows, but how do you start? Where do you find them? It's actually not that difficult to find art shows in your area, but it does take some detective work. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started.

Local Papers: Make sure you regularly check your local newspaper for show advertisements and event listings. Most often this will be listed in your Friday, Saturday, and Sunday issues because readers are looking for places to go during the weekend. During the holiday months (anywhere from October through December), some newspapers will actually provide a list of local arts and craft fairs. If you missed this year's listings, check your local library. Many will keep hard copy newspapers for one year, and then after that they normally keep them on microfiche or have databases available on-line. Newspapers also keep archives, and these are available to the public.

Network: Of course, this may seem obvious, but don't forget that other artists in your area may know of shows, even if they do not necessarily participate in them. And fellow artists aren't the only people who know about shows. What about the locals who attend them? So, ask all your friends and neighbors if they know of any shows in your area.

Phone Calls: Many non-profit groups, such as churches, schools, and charities, have fund raising events, and these might include art shows. So open up your yellow pages and make some calls. If they don't operate any shows themselves, they may be able to point you in the right direction.

Bookstores: You aren't the only artist looking for art shows, so there are businesses out there that put out art show guides. You can find these in bookstores and craft stores. You may also find them in your local library. A few that I know of, which concentrate on the southeastern US, include Sunshine Artists and the Ronay Guides.

Internet: As you can imagine, there are a zillion links on the net for art shows. You can use search engines and narrow your search by provide your local city or county in your search string. A few sites that include show lists include Art Fair Source and Festivals.com.

As you can see, it may take some time to thoroughly investigate your options, but there are a number of good resources available to you. I've lived in both a small town and a large city when I was involved in the art show circuit, and with some leg work and a lot of phone calls, I was able to find good shows in both locations. So, persevere, and you will be surprised at what you can find available in your own backyard.

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