“How much did it cost you to be here?” That’s one of the most common questions you get as an artist participating in an art show. Sometimes, patrons are curious, but I’ve found that they’re often artists who want to get involved in shows themselves.
The answer is different at each show. I’ve paid between $10 and $3,500 to exhibit. The cost is in no way reflective of the potential for sales. In my experience, there really doesn’t seem to be any definitive formula or reasoning behind the fees artists are charged.
The lower price points are typically for things like art and wine strolls or small one-night events. At the highest end of what I’ve personally paid are things like a large showcase of photographers exhibiting for three days in Los Angeles.
Most of the regional shows I participate in average $150 to $275 for a two-day weekend show. But again, this is just my own experience; I’ve talked to other artists who’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to take part in a high-profile art show.
Artists just starting out typically apply to lower-cost shows, hopefully working their way up to moderately priced shows as the investments start paying off. The expensive ones are generally reserved for when you’re established and more well known.
Again, it’s important to realize that spending more to be at an event doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money. From a sales perspective, some of the best shows I’ve done cost little to attend.
Keep in mind, too, that artists often pay the entry fee months before the show occurs, so it’s important to write down what you spend. It’s an important aspect of keeping track of which shows benefit you the most, something I talk about more in my post about choosing shows by location.