I was asked recently by a friend for some advice about doing a summer art show. I am certainly not the most experienced at this, but I am happy to share what I have learned so far.
I have a 10 x 10 white tent (no sidewalls) and three gridded snap together walls that I use for the booth. My husband always helps me set it up. I usually have a fabric backdrop behind the grid so it has a softer look.
I try to take about 20 pieces of original art of various sizes. I have several pretty big pieces ( i.e. 40 x 40 or 24 x 36), then I fill in the rest of the space with smaller pieces. A seasoned artist told me once that I needed to have some of all price ranges and sizes of art - small, medium and large so that the customer can see the value range and have choices. I have found this to be true.
I have not taken canvas wrapped prints or matted prints, I have just concentrated on selling originals. That may change in the future, but for now I just try to keep it simple. The only other things I have taken to sell are some handmade perfume lockets and some notecards with prints of my originals.
Other things I have learned......I have a small white table that raises to a taller height. I use that at the front of the booth as a "cashier" stand and display table. I cover it with fabric so it looks softer. This is where I have displayed the perfume lockets, notecards, a signup sheet for my email list, etc.
I take a chair to sit in when I am tired of standing, but I don't put the chair in the booth, I always place it across from the booth or outside somewhere. I have found that if I am sitting at the front of the booth, people are hesitant to walk in, but when I am not visible, more people will stop in and browse. I only approach people if they are showing interest or have been looking at the paintings with interest for longer than usual. This may not be a very good sales tactic, but it has worked for me. I just try to give people space. If they love something, they will definitely be back. God knows! I trust Him.
As far as taking payments, I use Square and my iPhone and it works beautifully. I love the system very much and have never had any issues with it.
I really love art shows because it gives me a chance to see how people connect and respond to my pieces. I have had some shows that are really good and others not as much. It is all a learning process. I always have business cards and as a result of shows I have gotten later sales, i.e. commissions and invitations to other events.
What have you learned about doing art festivals and shows?