Spring Show Tips and Ideas for Artists

Booth Setup Tips

Indoor Spaces

Ideas for Fabric Backing on Display Panels
Since artists need to supply their own fabric backing, here are some tips and recommendations based on what has worked well in the past.

  • Many artists use felt fabric from a local fabric store.
  • When purchasing, artists may want to have it cut with a little extra on each side for wrapping around the display panels.
  • Purchase a 14′ x 7′ to cover a 6′ x 12′ space.
  • Purchase a 7′ x 7′ cut to cover a 6′ x 6′ space.
  • Felt fabric works well because it is sturdy, holds the shape well without sliding down as easily, and holes from the drapery hooks tend to not show.
  • Felt fabric can also typically be held in place just with a few of the drapery hooks stuck at the top, and once the artwork is on, that may be all that is needed to keep it in place.
  • If you are a first time exhibitor, other artists and the leadership will be around to help you with it.
  • Artists have used white most often, as well as grey or black in the past.
  • Artists have also sometimes used other types of fabric, as it improves the look over the steel panel, yet other fabrics can be more finicky and require the use of more safety pins to secure in place.
  • If not using felt, it is important to use solid cloth that is porous enough to push a drapery hook through.
  • Let us know if you don’t have any fabric available, as some exhibitors may have additional fabric they would be willing to bring to lend to others.
  • Let us know if you have fabric available to lend.
  • If lending fabric, be sure that it is marked with the owner’s name in a discreet location to make it easier to return to the owner.
  • For sawtooth hooks used to hang artwork, it is recommended to use a small wire or paperclip for it to hang properly on the drapery hooks.

Lighting tips
When artists want to add their own lighting to their display panels, these are some inexpensive options to consider:

  • Clamp Shop Lights which can be found at hardware stores or online.
  • Adjustable Clamp Desk Lamps can provide slightly more options and control of placement and brightness.
  • Be careful not to buy a heat lamp accidentally.
  • Be aware of how hot the light may get to ensure adequate distance between the clamp light and the artwork.
  • Only LED bulbs should be used to eliminate any hazards due to hot bulbs or undue load on extension cords. 
  • Artists can also use floor lamps or a small table with a lamp.

Outdoor Spaces

Tent Tips

  • Most artists use E-Z Up pop-up tents. Replacement parts are available on the E-Z Up website.
  • Tents do not need to be expensive to work well.
  • Straight legs are important for attaching screens or display panels.
  • Sides can be nice, yet are not necessary.
  • In case of rain, some tarp or a drop cloth to cover open sides of the tent can be useful.
  • It is strongly recommended to practice assembling tents at home.
  • Practice in advance helps to make sure everything works, and ensure familiarity.
  • Some tents come with the fabric initially unattached, so it is better to attach all the canopies to the frame beforehand so that setup day is smoother and faster.

Ideas for Tent Weights and Dealing with Wind
These are some of the tent weight options artists have used in the past:

  • Sandbag weights designed for tents
  • Cast iron weights designed for tents
  • Cinder Blocks
  • Weights from exercise sets
  • PVC pipe filled with cement with a large eye hook on one end
  • 2.5 gallon water jugs with handles similar to this water pitcher

Here is what we have found works the best when using some of these types of weights:

  • If using cinder blocks or water jugs, tie using a thin rope, not a bungee cord.
  • Secure the rope to the top corner of the corresponding leg, not the bottom.
  • Tying to the bottom of the tent leg does not stabilize it as well. Strange but true!

Here are some additional ideas for dealing with wind issues:

  • Do not use sawtooth hooks to hang artwork. The wind can work them out of the canvas back. It is possible to overcome this by attaching a paperclip or safety pin to the sawtooth hooks, and then hooking that into the display hook. This allows for more give as the wind blows back and forth.
  • Use wire attached to eye hooks or d-rings for the safest results.
  • A twisted wire is recommended rather than a single strand wire.
  • For least chance of pricking fingers, try something like this Super Softstrand, Vinyl-Coated Wire.
  • Place d-rings on the inside of the canvas frame rather than the back, so that the canvas can lay flat on a wall.
  • If canvases are lightweight enough that the wind will lift the bottom away from the display panels, a tiny flat head screw can be attacked on the back bottom of your canvas. Then run a thin wire or a fishing line to a drapery hook below. This screw can be removed after the artwork is purchased.
  • Another similar idea would be to use small command hooks to do the same thing. This would be even easier for artists to remove at time of sale, but less cost effective.

Screens or Display Panels Recommendations
Many of our artists use Flourish Mesh Panels. These can be a bit pricier, unless a used set is bought. They are lightweight and very portable. Artists are always coming up with new, creative solutions.

If artists do not have mesh tent display panels, we recommend using screen display panels. Artists can buy their own, or make their own. Here is some info and options to consider:

  • Most screen options will be about 3′ x 7′ or 3′ x 6′ and about 3 of these will fill one side of a tent. Some are a little wider.
  • Artists do not need to fill all 3 sides of the tent with screens. Some will do two screens per side.
  • In certain locations, having one side of the tent open can be a nice way to allow more people to come in and out more easily. Fewer screens would be used in that case.
  • Graphic Display Systems is a popular way to purchase screens.
  • There’s a local company called Alpha Store Fixtures that sells a similar but heavier panel.
  • Here is a good tutorial and description of how to make your own screens, from one of our members.
  • These are easy to make and very lightweight screens.

Weather Tips and Info

The thick grass at this time of year can have so much dew, in the past artists have complained that the watering system went on during the night. Not so. The tent top can drip water down the sides. Be prepared with paper towel or sponges to wipe down. Wear shoes that can take the wet conditions. Have covered plastic containers to hold small items. If artwork can not handle the dampness, it may be worth considering having the tent ready on Friday while hanging artwork on Saturday morning.

This year it is a rain or shine event. Be prepared in case of rain. If there is rain, artists should make sure they can easily remove any paintings from the outside of tents and bring them inside the tent or building and do what is needed.

Try to remember to put on sunscreen at the beginning of the day. It’s easy to get preoccupied and get burned. Feet get burned, too!

The Fountain
A beautiful centerpiece for this show, this fountain also is equipped with some very useful technology. If the wind picks up, the fountain automatically lowers so that it doesn’t spray people as the pass by. This will also help keep the spray from the fountain from potentially getting any where near previous works of art.

Hospitality Booth

This functions as the center for information and assistance for everything including:

  • Awards
  • Assistance for specific needs or questions
  • Tax collecting
  • Credit sales
  • Membership information (for people interested in becoming members)
  • Lost & found
  • Volunteers & their artwork
  • Booth sitter volunteers

Booth Sitting

  • Volunteers will be available for booth sitting.
  • In a pinch, artists may ask an exhibiting neighbor to keep an eye on their booth, although this shouldn’t be an expectation.
  • Artists should keep any sensitive items with them if taking a break of any length.
  • Sensitive items include, wallets, cash, card readers, cell phones, etc.
  • A neighboring artist will more easily be able to make sure no one walks away with a stolen painting, but can’t take responsibility for smaller personal belongings.
  • Our volunteer booth sitters are intended for short periods of time, such as trips to the restroom.
  • You should make sure they have your cell number, so that if they need to reach you or let you know that someone is interested in buying work, they can call you to come back.
  • If you want someone who is able to accept payments on your behalf, you will need to arrange your own help from friends or family members for booth sitting.


Volunteer art submissions for the Norton’s Floral Arrangement Competition will be displayed around the hospitality booth. Here is how the volunteer artwork should be handled:

  • Volunteers should bring paintings for hanging on Thursday or Friday.
  • Drop artwork off in the Pre-council room.
  • Paintings must be labelled clearly and have a price tag with Artist name, name of artwork and description securely attached.
  • Volunteers who sell paintings must pay all sales taxes before end of day on Saturday, turning in 3 tax collection envelopes with checks as all exhibitors must do.

Credit Sales Steps

  • If using the club credit card machine, artists must have a hand-written 3 part sales slip book to fill out in their booth, referred to as the sales slip.
  • We currently have extra, so be sure to collect one from the hospitality booth at the beginning of the day.
  • After determining that a customer wants to pay via credit card, explain the process to them.
  • Fill out the 3 part sales slip.
  • The artist name must be on the slip in order for the association administration to be able to accurately tally artists sales so that the artist gets paid the correct amount.
  • Sales slips should also have artwork description and price on it.
  • It is also a good idea to include your booth number on the sales slip in case there are any questions so that the volunteer running the sales can easily find you.
  • It also can be a good idea to get contact info from the customer for your information.
  • Calculate and fill in the sales tax.
  • Keep the bottom copy of the sales slip for your records.
  • Send the customer to the Hospitality Booth with the top two copies of the completely filled-out sales slip.
  • The top slip is usually the most legible. This is important for us to make sure that artists get their full payment.
  • Volunteers use the info on the sales slip for the amount, and run the credit card.
  • The Hospitality booth volunteer will keep the top copy of the written sales slip and staple the machine printed receipt to it.
  • The volunteer will give the customer their slip copy with their copy of the printed receipt stapled to it.
  • Tip: Artists may want to package the artwork or take it off the wall and change it out while customers are paying.
  • The customer returns to the artist with their receipt and slip copy to show to claim the artwork, and keep that slip copy and receipt for their records.
  • THEN artists give the artwork to the customer.
  • At the end of the event, each artist will have their credit card sales tallied.
  • Artists will get paid a couple weeks later, less the 3% bank fee on the entire amount including tax. This is how charge companies work.
  • Think of this as a fee for the sake of the convenience benefit for customers.

How to Collect Sales Tax
Here is how to go about collecting the 9 % sales tax due for all sales.

  • Multiply the price tag by .09 to get the sales tax amount.
  • Add tax to price tag amount to get the total owed by the customer.
  • It is recommended to have written sales receipts so that is clear to customers.
  • We don’t recommend including the tax in the price of the artwork, as this can cause some confusion and frustration for artists at the end of the day.
  • If Artists do choose to include sales tax in the price, please remember to make that clear to customers so that they know it is included it in the price.
  • It could reflect very badly on our association for a customer to leave thinking that anyone is not collecting sales tax on cash purchases, as they could think that any artists are not paying sales tax for those amounts.

If artists would rather use their own credit card processor, they are free to use their own Square, Paypal, Stripe, or Venmo account. A Venmo account can only be used by others with a Venmo account. The other 3 are credit card processing companies that can be used to process just about any credit card. Artists will need to do their own research to use any of these services, and have it set up well before the event.


Judging and Awarding

  • Judging starts at 8:30 am
  • We expect judging to begin with the Norton’s Floral arrangement.
  • Each artist is judged within the 3 categories as described on their application.
  • The categories are Professional, Semi-Professional, or Emerging/Hobbyist Artist
  • Name signs given in show day info packet have the category printed on it next to artist names.
  • Prints are not eligible for awards.
  • Prints or Reproductions should be clearly marked.
  • Winners will be posted at the Hospitality booth.
  • A volunteer will let artists know if they won an award.
  • A volunteer will also ask to take pictures of the artists who won awards for promotional purposes.

List of Awards

  • Professional Level Award
  • Semi-Professional Level Award
  • Emerging Artist or Hobbiest Level Award
  • Artist Award of Distinction
  • Artist Volunteer Award of Distinction
  • Norton’s Florist Competition Winner Award

Location Information

One of the great benefits on this new location is the indoor bathrooms. We also have the option to use the library restroom if needed. Contact a volunteer booth sitter if a restroom break is needed.
We want artists to be able to get back to their booths as soon as possible to maximize our time at the show. For this reason, we plan to have a sign up asking show visitors to allow artists to have access to the front of the line. This will allow us to give visitors access to the restroom in future years rather than reserving them for artists only.

The beauty of having a show at City Hall is that it is attached to the Police Station. This means we have built in security. In the past, the club has hired a police to help patrol the area. It isn’t necessary at City Hall. However, if there is any concern about the safety of leaving artwork in the outdoor locations overnight, artists are welcome to setup their tent on Friday and bring the artwork and set it up on Saturday as early as they would like. We do recommend having a tarp or cover on the sides on the tents overnight to hide the art from the street.

Food Arrangements

Bring Your Own Bag
The Association has been granted access to the Kitchenette behind the Pre-council room. Some coolers can be stored there, and minor food prep can be done there. Other than that, here are some important details to consider.

Local Restaurants

  • There could a significant wait for any restaurants.
  • Artists can have their own personal helper (such as a friend or family member) go and get food.
  • A personal helper could also booth sit while artists choose to go to get food (not recommended).
  • The association is unable to provide booth sitters for all artists to go for lunch themselves considering potential long waits.

Group Pre-Order

  • The association has agreed to collect orders in advance and coordinate a group order.
  • This will be arrange via email
  • There will be a limited selection of about 4 options, currently from Zoës Kitchen.
  • We will put in the order in advance, and the Association will pay the upfront cost.
  • Artists will be individually billed to reimburse the Association.
  • A volunteer will be assigned to go and collect the order and bring it to the event.
  • This option is also available for volunteers.
  • When ordering, order for yourself as well as any helpers who would want or need a lunch provided for them.

Checklist of Items to Bring

Setup supplies

  • Hooks for hanging art
  • Price tags for each piece
  • Zip ties and rope, pliers or anything specific to display setup
  • A large name sign, and a way to attach the uniform name sign and booth number provided by the association
  • Towels (cloth or paper: especially for wiping dew off art work or surfaces in the morning)
  • Waterproof footwear
  • Small tarp in case of rain
  • Plastic containers for keeping accessories dry and organized (Some artists use a standard toolbox to organize all their small accessories)
  • Some artists have brought flowers or ferns to add a nice touch to their booth
  • Some artists bring curtains or lightweight fabric to drape along their tent to create atmosphere
  • Step Stool (may also be handy for hanging replacement artwork after sales)

Sales Items

  • Checkbook with at least 3 checks to pay City, State, and County Sales Tax before leaving the event
  • Cash for sales change
  • Card Reader, if using a personal reader
  • Calculator
  • Sales Receipts
  • A way to keep track of sales (a ledger book or computer with a spreadsheet)
  • Fully charged phone for outdoor exhibitors, bring a charger along for indoor
  • Bags for people to carry their purchased artwork
  • Tape, pens, paper etc.
  • Yellow stickers or red stickers or pens (to mark sold items)

Marketing and Sales Items

  • Business cards and email signup list or guest book
  • Portfolio display (especially for indoor displays)
  • A framed “About the Artist” paper with a head shot photo and bio
  • A favor for tent visitors, such as mints, small water bottles, or pens with Artist name and website printed on them

Personal or Comfort Items

  • Chairs (lawn type if outdoor, indoor chairs are provided)
  • A small table
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Trash bag
  • Hat (for outdoor exhibitors) Tip: Hats are recommended over sunglasses.
  • Waters
  • Small Cooler, possibly with lunch or snacks
  • Wallet for purchasing meals or other necessities
  • A smile and a sense of humor!

Helpful Ideas and Tips from our Members

Here are some helpful videos about selling and marketing art work from some of a meeting demo from some of our most successful artist.
“Marketing Tips for Artists”

Here is a video playlist with some helpful tips made by our 2022 Co-Show Chair, Nicki Cochran. These videos include tips on packing art for transportation, price tags, and how to enjoy talking to people at shows.
“Practical Art Tips” by Nicola Jeanette Cochran

Let us know if you have ideas to add to the checklists above, or if you have helpful videos, playlists, podcasts or articles that you have either found or contributed to. We would be happy to list them here! Contact the Show Committee and let us know!