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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

4. Paint outside.

People walking in the street will notice an artist painting or drawing and will come and have a peek. At that point, it is a simple matter of inviting them inside to have a look at the art on show.

5. Sell the upsides of the venue.

The venue where I was exhibiting had a wonderful café, making real cappuccinos at an unbeatable price. I made sure I shared this information with all my visitors. This way, they could take a break and, ultimately, stayed longer in the building. Several visitors came back for a second round of art viewing after this welcome break.

6. Open-up the space.

If you can set-up your exhibition space the way you want, try to avoid “boxing” your art with exhibition panels. Access to your art should be easy and circulation around your exhibit should flow. If you put a table across, people are not likely to go behind it. Can people see some of you your art from the entrance of the exhibition venue? If you paint on the day, can people stand behind you and see what you are doing?

7. Set-up a demonstration.

Visitors love to meet artists and talk to them about their art and their technique. Take advantage of this by painting or creating a piece of work on the day. Once you get visitors’ attention, you can ask about their interests, answer any question they have on your art and your technique and invite them to browse through your exhibit.

8. Sweets, sweets and bribery.

This strategy is so simple yet effective. It works well with families. Children can drive visitors away (“Mum, I am bored, let’s go home”), unless there is something to keep them happy. A few bowls of sweets on a table work miracles. Once the children spot them, parents are not far behind. Invite the children (and their parents) to help themselves to sweets. After that, parents have all the time and quietness they need to look at your art.

9. Engage with visitors.

This one is difficult to get right. On one hand, once you talked to them, people will have a hard time passing your booth without having a look around. On the other hand, you want to leave them some space. Nobody likes a pushy sales person when we go shopping, but we all appreciate polite and available staff… Make sure you tell visitors you are available if they have any questions.

10. Ask people to sign your visitors’ book.

This is a good way to start or to prolong a conversation. It is also essential if you want to grow your mailing list and follow-up after the show.

Benoit Philippe is a French artist leaving in Swindon (United Kingdom) who paints with oil, watercolor and pastels. He is the author of the free eBook “Creative Exercises for Artists”, available from Slideshare. Please visit to see Benoit’s work and My French Easel blog to read his art articles. To stay in touch, you can join him on Twitter @myfrencheasel.

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