From Buffalo to Boston; from Maryland to Maine I used to do a lot of weekend and/or outdoor art fairs, all over the eastern part of the US and beyond. I even drove my car and a trailer into a headwind from Vermont to Arizona one windy spring for a show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Some events were more successful than others. Ultimately I decided that sort of show wasn’t a good venue for me. It was exhausting, costly and challenging to carry the work around. Too much hung on coincidence and uncertainty. Would the right person happen to walk by, fall in love with a painting and take it home? The same uncertainty exists in a gallery, but there’s less wear and tear on you and on your work.
Some simple ways to minimize your own stress are to bring lots of water, a cooler, and simple treats. Nuts and fruit are easy to pack and can get you through the day. A thermos of tea or coffee will get you through the day without spending an arm and a leg at the coffee shop. At one sweltering show in Pittsburgh I calculated that I was spending $12 a day on iced lattés! Pretty silly! And be sure to stay somewhere comfy. You’ve earned it!
Avoiding wear and tear on your work is also a challenge. My husband built special racks in our trailer to keep things from sliding around. For years I spent a lot of money on bubble wrap to protect frames and glass.
Then a friend showed me her system of packing with felt bags.
She bought a roll of felt fabric and sewed bags. Just straight seamed bags in various sizes.
This has minimized damage, particularly on frames.
Do you have a good system for packing for shows? Or hot tips for surviving an art show?