Applying to Art Fairs During Covid-19

Applying to art fairs was always a bit of art and science. Choosing the best one for you and what you sell. Finding one which fits into your desire to travel, life, art, and type of event has always been fun. You don’t want to sell at an event which doesn’t have the right customers for you either!

Now, there is an additional layer of shows canceling because of safety concerns. What happens if you apply to a fair, and it has to cancel due to state regulations? What happens to your entry fee, your both fee?

Also, should you even think about traveling to a fair this fall or winter?

There are many concerns now. You do not want to invest your time and energy, creating an inventory to sell at the event, only to have it canceled.  

Take your precautions, with your comfort level with selling at events, here are some tips for applying to art fairs during Covid-19:

  1.  Decide on how far from your own home you want to travel. Is it worth signing up for a show this fall or winter out of your state? If you are okay going to the south or west for fall/winter shows, look into the fees associated with canceling your travel plans. What are the hotel’s reservation policies? How far in advance will you need to cancel?
  2. What are the organizers’ cancelation policies? Many events now have written policies about what happens to your fees if the event cancels.  
  3. Are you okay with these policies are? If they roll your fees to next year, does this work out okay for you? Are you willing to do the show sometime in 2021 instead of 2020? Or maybe it is a winter 2021 postponement to fall 2021. Will you still be able to sell if the timing of the event changes?
  4. What happens if the event is held, but you are unable to attend? What happens if your state won’t allow travel or the state of the fair has restrictions for out of state travel? Will the organizers permit you to “no show”? Or will this cause problems for you selling at this event in the future?
  5. How far in advance will the show notify you if they cancel? Do you need to be creating inventory for months to sell? Or are you able to develop your work in a short period? If it takes months to create, do you have another way to sell your art? Do you have an online shop where you could sell it? Would you be creating season-specific art, which would be hard to sell in a different season? (Example, holiday cards, home items for fall you would still have on hand in the spring?
  6. Do you have a place to store this for a year until you can sell it? Or do you also have a thriving online shop you could sell your work through if the fair cancels?
  7. If the fair cancels, do you automatically get set up for a virtual market? If so, does this work out well for you? Are you able to ship your work? Or are you better off with in-person events to sell?

If you still have questions, reach out to the event coordinator.

Most applications have either a phone number or an email address available. Make sure you understand everything before you make a final decision to apply or not apply.

We can all hope the on-going public health issues stop soon, but if they don’t, you need to be prepared to sell in our new normal.

Do you have additional tips? Add them in the comments!

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