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10 Tips for Getting Art Fair and Open Studio Visitors

10 Tips for Getting Art Fair and Open Studio Visitors

Fine Art Tips | Lori McNee

This article was originally published on

Recently, I took part in a local open studio event, in a public space, together with seven other artists. I tested a number of strategies to bring visitors into my art booth and keep them there to look at my art.

The tips below will be helpful for artists taking part in an art fair or open studio.

1. Make your mailing list work.

This one is obvious, but requires some planning. You want to send an email one month in advance inviting people to pencil the dates in their diary, and then send an invitation again one week before and a last reminder two days before the actual event. It is better to make the invitation personal if you can. People receiving a personal note are more likely to come. Leverage your mailing list by asking the receiver to forward your email invitation to their friends who could be interested.

Make it easy for your visitors to come by covering the “Who, What, When and Where,” of your art event. If the location is not easy to find, add a map or a link to Google Maps. For the open studios, I inserted into my invitation a photograph of the building where the exhibition took place. Many people told me that it was helpful to jog their memory and was much more meaningful to them than the address of the venue.

2. Organize some cross-promotions with other artists.

If you are sharing a venue with other artists, each artist will benefit from other artists’ invitations. But it does not stop here. If the event is happening in several venues at the same time (often the case for an open studio or an art trail event), get in touch with artists in nearby venues and agree that you will send visitors to each others’ venue. A very effective way to do that is to prepare a leaflet with a map and the information people need to get to the next venue.

3. Be creative with signage.

Balloons are a great way to get attention. A bunch of colored balloons on each side of the entrance of the exhibition venue will create a festive mood and draw the attention of passers by. What I also did for the open studios was to print the words “OPEN STUDIOS” on bright yellow cards, one letter per page, to put over the entrance. Make sure you talk to the venue manager as some venues have stringent rules on what they can and cannot display.

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