How to Engage Visitors at Your Art Booth Using a Simple, Visual Display

By Patricia Prendergast in Art Business Advice > Selling at Art Fairs

This past weekend I participated in my town’s open studio tours. Since I couldn’t have my home studio on the tour (too messy), I shared a large space with 3 other artists.

We had all worked on advertising the event and, luckily, drew in quite a few people over the weekend.

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Having participated in art shows/sales in the past, I knew I needed a way to engage people and keep them looking at my pastel landscapes. So I created this small and very simple display of the stages of a pastel painting:

Display showing the artistic process creating a pastel painting

Since most people don’t know how a pastel painting is created, this provided a straightforward and easy-to-understand visual. I didn’t include any text in the display, which gave me the opportunity to explain the process. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who were interested and even thanked me for having the display.

(I also learned that many people didn’t know what a pastel stick looks like, so next time I’m going to add to the display by having a small box of various brands of pastels. I may even have some scraps of pastel paper set out so people can try their hand at it.)

Below the display I had a sheet that explained what pastels are and how they are made. I found it interesting that no one read this, but they seemed open to hearing a brief explanation from me. Next time I probably won’t take up the table space with any written text.

I can’t claim that having these visual displays resulted in any sales during the event, but it was certainly a way for people to get to know me a little better and feel comfortable leaving their email address.  Now when I contact them about future shows, there’s a better chance that they will have a favorable memory about me and my art.

Quiet River by Patricia Prendergast

Quiet River – Pastel, 9″ x 12″

If you’re looking for a way to engage with visitors at your next fair or open studio event, I recommend trying this idea out yourself. At the very least, you’ll have an easy conversation starter, and who knows—it might even lead to a sale or two!

Special thanks to Patricia Prendergast for sharing this post! To see more of her artwork, please visit her website.

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