Preparing for an Outdoor Art Show

Preparing for an Outdoor Art Show

*Edit: The Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival has been cancelled due to concerns about the Corona Virus. I’m disappointed that the show won’t be happening, but I know the city is doing their best to keep everybody safe.

I’ve been participating in outdoor art shows for the past couple years. It’s a great way to personally connect with your audience about your artwork. I will have a booth in the upcoming Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival, so I wanted to share what I do to prepare for a show. Here’s one of my most recent pieces, which will also be displayed in the Emerging Artist Exhibit opening May 14th!

Echoes of a Moment
Echoes of a Moment
22″ x 30″
Charcoal, chalk, ink wash, and pencil on paper


Finish Art in Progress

I like to put my newest and best work in a show. So if I have anything in progress, I like to try and finish it up beforehand. Works that I need to get professionally framed and scanned will have to be done at least 2 weeks ahead of time, but I can also frame last minute work myself if I need to.


Get High-resolution Scans

I am lucky to work in a print shop that does fine art scanning and printing as normally this would be expensive. Regardless, I think having professional high-resolution scans of your artwork is important. It is good to have on hand for not only making prints, but also submitting to art show, exhibitions, and magazines. Additionally, if you sell your original, it is good to have a record of it. The process of scanning, proofing, and color correcting an artwork typically takes about a week. Then, it’s just a matter of ordering the prints themselves.


Prepare Giclee Prints

I usually start with 5 prints per artwork and I will make more once these are sold. I limit my editions to 30, which means that I will not make more than 30 total giclee prints of an artwork. Most art shows require giclee prints to be matted. After taping my prints to a mat, I put the title, edition number, and my signature in pencil on the mat board. I also write this information on the back of the print itself. Then, I add a backboard to the print and put it in a clear bag for protection. I also slide my business card in the bag so people can remember who I am.


Make a List of What to Bring

It’s very important to make a list of artwork to bring as well as odds and ends. If I skip this step, I can forget things I need. Things on my list include my tent and panel set-up, my toolbox, my giclee reproductions, my reproduction bin, title tags, business cards, water, and sunscreen. It’s good to have a plan in mind about where the artwork will go before set-up. Doing a scale drawing in photoshop has been helpful for me. Here’s one I did for my upcoming show:

Art show scale drawing
Art show scale drawing


Those are the main things I have to do before an outdoor art show. Of course, there are always things that come up or new ideas I have to make my display even better. I’m looking forward to the Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival this weekend! It’ll run from 9AM – 5PM on Saturday, March 14th and 10AM – 5PM on Sunday, March 15th. I hope to see you there!

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