Art Shows Aren't Garage Sales March 31 2010, 0 Comments

Springtime brings not only a renewed beauty to our surroundings, but the opportunity to enjoy and perhaps buy some wonderful art found in outdoor art exhibits and shows. It is an excellent venue for meeting your local artists and for expanding your understanding of how different art forms are crafted.

I enjoy talking with those who want to learn about the true art of photography and not what camera I used. Some are truly interested in learning about principles of light and not how to use Photoshop to fix their bad snapshots.

But a new breed of art show walker is emerging, one that I dismiss quickly without giving it a second thought. They are what I call, the Wal-Mart walkers. Art shows are not for getting deals. They are not garage sales. This new breed argues about price, berates the work as though at any minute, they are going to set up an exhibit, and frequently asks the artists to disregard such things as paying sales tax.

While some artists come to these as shows on a part time basis, many of us don’t. It is how we make a living. We have business licenses. Our costs frequently do not include our time because some work takes hours, days or even weeks to complete. We charge based on materials, overhead and try to build in a far profit margin.

A bit of art show etiquette would be appreciated by most of the artists who make a living in the arts and participate in these shows. First, know that NOT everyone can do what we do or they would be. Asking an artist to cut the price is rude. How would you like it if you went into work and your boss asked you to work for $10.00 less per hour or perhaps for free a couple of days a week? Secondly, don’t handle a person’s work without permission. Dirty hands from handling food and beverages can be just enough to soil a piece so that it cannot be sold. Glass and pottery can be easily broken. Artists will appreciate your caring enough to ask them for assistance. Finally, don’t ask an artist to break the law and yes, asking to skip the sales takes falls into that category.

The next time you are at an art show, remember your art show etiquette. We need the arts. We need the value and beauty the arts bring to our lives. We need who artists who create it.