On June 9th I posted a blog about art fairs, and whether they’re ultimately a waste of time.ï¿½ This is a follow-up to that:
All states and major cities have arts commissions; many smaller cities have arts commissions.ï¿½ Most of these have listings of shows/fairs that are held in their region.ï¿½ Call or write the arts commission of the cities you’re interested in, and ask for a listing.ï¿½ Also ask to be put on their mailing list, or email list.ï¿½ Their mailings will keep you informed of upcoming shows, as well as of various commissions that may arise.
The College Art Association, which is represented on most campuses, can also provide you with lists of shows that occur nationwide.ï¿½ Many of these can be worth participating in, if only in the sense of adding to your resume, and your credibility.ï¿½ Investigate them, and decide which are appropriate for you.
In the same vein, most cities have an artists’ coalition or association.ï¿½ These too will have listings of various shows, especially those held in nonprofit or cooperative galleries.ï¿½ These shows can be quite worthwhile in terms of meeting folks who can be of help to your career, such as established artists or gallery owners.ï¿½ Like anything else, these can also be a waste of time, depending on the show, its attendance, and how well you handle any opportunities that may arise.
You can also call any of the major galleries in cities where you want to exhibit, and ask them about reputable shows in their area.ï¿½ A gallery director, or assistant director, will often be better informed than anyone else about the viability of certain shows.ï¿½ In other words, they’ll be straight with you about whether a particular fair is well-run, or a joke.ï¿½ You’ll never get that kind of information from the organizers.
The more shows you attend, the more shows you’ll become aware of; other artists will help inform you of them, as will show organizers and attendees.ï¿½ Who knows?ï¿½ You might even sell some work along the way.ï¿½ We rarely did, back in the early ’90s when I still had to pay those dues, but there were certain artists at each show who somehow sold like mad, while the rest of us did not.ï¿½ Weï¿½didn’t understand it, and often those very artists didn’t understand it, but still it happened again and again.ï¿½ Maybe you can become one of those artists before launching your gallery career.ï¿½ I’d like to think so.