For years I have been attending trade shows like Artexpo New York, Spectrum Miami, and Art Expo Las Vegas. It’s a key part of my business’s success—especially building and expanding my audience and clientele on a national level. There is simply no better or easier way to meet new people, artists, gallery owners, art publishers, art dealers, interior designers, architects, corporate art buyers, and art retailers than face-to-face at a trade show.
Every year I not only sell thousands of dollars of our artists’ work at each show, but best of all I make new connections, meet future clients, and form lasting relationships with emerging and established artists, as well as industry leaders. Trade shows are, in my opinion, one of the most impactful ways to get your work in front of interested buyers. Unlike other venues like fairs, first/final Friday events, or even social media—at trade shows you have a targeted audience who are showing up specifically to buy art. They have traveled, spent money to attend, and are actively seeking to purchase art.
And I can’t emphasize this point enough your work needs to be seen in order for people to buy it. And one of the best ways to do that is by partnering with an art gallery at a trade show.
Trade Shows Can Be Affordable for Artists
Now I realize not all artists can afford solo booths at trade shows. It can be costly—not just the booth itself, but getting yourself there. It all adds up. And, I know every dollar counts when you’re building your career as an artist. The average cost of a solo both can be upwards of $15,000 at a high-end show. But there are ways to do it—such as partnering with a gallery who has a prime location, national reputation, and a team of experienced professionals to help. The major bonus? All of these amazing value add-ons cost LESS than purchasing a booth space on your own.
We have perfected attending and exhibiting trade shows and figured out a way to make it more affordable and advantageous for artists. We have a competitive commission structure that makes paying for art wall space and shipping the work worth it for artists. Instead of paying thousands for a booth, hiring installers, in addition to paying for the shipping and cost of travel and lodging, all artists have to pay for is a space on the wall and shipping of the art. Our gallery takes care of the rest. You don’t even have to attend. (But, if you do, you can enjoy yourself and spend your time networking.)
Maximum Exposure for Your Dollar—Beyond the Trade Show
Another key advantage to partnering with galleries for trade shows is that you get maximum exposure. I personally have been showing at Artexpo New York for over a decade, and have built many relationships with designers and buyers who attend each year. I know them by name and they actively seek out the artwork I represent. It also helps that I always purchase one of the largest booths at the show in the most visible space—right in the center aisle close to the entrance. In addition to the exposure your artwork gets at the show, you also enjoy pre-market exposure as well when you partner with galleries. Every year, we feature our artists work in the show guides and promote the work on our blogs, email blasts, and social media platforms that reach thousands more.
Let Experts Do the Selling and Curating for You
While it’s true partnering with galleries can help you grow your audience and save you money, I think the best thing it does is it removes a lot of the unnecessary stress. As artists, you have enough on your plate—like creating new artwork, managing your business, and trying to earn enough money to survive and thrive. Let galleries worry about setting up a booth, handling the shipments and installation, not to mention the speaking directly with buyers. Galleries have teams of specialists who are savvy in designer trends, and know the best way to present your work to buyers—and are experts at closing sales.
Give it a Try
If you’re still on the fence about attending a trade show but are serious about growing your art career, I can’t emphasize this enough: Just try it. The art world is subjective and it takes time to build and grow an audience. The more opportunities you can have to put your work out there the more opportunities you are giving buyers to find you. Yes, these things take time. I even started with a small booth, but I showed up each year and grew my business steadily and consistently. Buyers knew they could depend on me and my gallery, and now know where to find me. Give yourself the same advantage to grow a committed audience—at a less expensive rate.
Plan and Budget Ahead
While the trade show seasons seems far out, it’s closer than you think. As an artist, you need to plan ahead and set aside marketing dollars for the year ahead—and I definitely recommend using some of those marketing dollars on trade shows. We are already in the process of getting ready for the upcoming show season ourselves. We’re headed to Spectrum Miami in December, Artexpo Las Vegas in January, and Artexpo New York in April. Our walls are filling up fast, so if you’re considering attending a trade show, you’ll want to act fast.
Exhibit Your Art with Us
“Exhibiting my sculpture with Blink Art at Artexpo New York was an education. You get a real vision of current art trends and what interior designers are looking for in their projects. It was an amazing experience for me and will broaden the scope of any artist’s career perspective. I made international contacts, and my work was pitched in a proposal for a boutique hotel in Singapore.” – Dawn Renee
You can learn more about Blink Art contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.