Enriching the Arts

Three ways that summer festivals help local artists

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Every summer, many artists pack up their artwork and head towards the local festivals in their city to sell their wares. While many of these local festivals are directly related to art – for example, the Edmonton Art Walk or the IGNITE! Festival for Emerging Artists, some of the festivals these artists attend have no obvious connection to the local arts, such as Globalfest or Animethon. However, these festivals still offer market space for local vendors, artists and craftspeople to sell their merchandise.

With the summer festival season well underway, many artists are probably wondering if it is worth it to register as a vendor, pay for a table and give up their weekend to sell some of their artwork at their city’s local festivals. Here are a few reasons why you might want to give it a try.

1. It gets you out of your comfort zone

Many artists are used to displaying their artwork in private or public galleries, where a gallery manager often facilitates the setup of the exhibition and the sale of artwork. During a festival, the artist is usually responsible for all of these duties – setup, display and sale. These are good abilities for any artist to have in their skill set and these skills only get better with practice. It will also give you valuable experience in learning how to interact with potential customers – and we have more about customers coming up in our second point!

2. Meeting clients with similar interests

Building relationships with customers can be difficult, especially if you have a gallery making most of those sales for you, cutting down your personal interactions with potential long-term clients. During a festival, you meet each one of these customers face to face and have the chance to speak to all of them. Shared interests such as artwork or the theme of the festival offer the potential to build a more personal relationship with the people that visit your booth. Even if they don’t purchase anything at the festival they may remember speaking to you and look you up later!

3. Networking with other artists

It is just as important for artists to network with other artists as it is for artists to network with potential customers. Many artists flock to summer festivals each year, offering the opportunity to view their work, meet them and strike up a conversation. Shared interests such as the music or events of the festival facilitate conversation and they might share some useful information with you, such as how they got their most recent gallery show or how they retain their long-term clients. You might even make a new friend, or strike up an artistic partnership!

ASA and TREX Address

Crossroads Art Centre
#305 - 1235 26th Avenue SE
Calgary, AB T2G 1R7
ASA Phone: (403) 265-0012
TREX Phone: (403) 262-4669

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