Preparing for an Open Art Studio!

Flyer for Needham Open Studios.
My artwork was chosen for the advertising!

It is always a lot more preparation than I expect! Showing my watercolors to their best takes time, so I try not to leave everything to the last minute!
Here’s my bullet list:

  • Order new business cards if outdated (mine were) from, delivery in less than 7 days!
  • Update Artist’s Statement, or write one if you dont have one!
  • Update Bio and make copies for putting on the back of the artwork for sale. I include contact information and website.
  • if  your “Open Studios” have a website, send all photos and bio etc. in a timely manner.
  • Order acetate crystal clear bags for matted artwork from The unframed items are easy to store/transport and browse if protected.
  • Finish framing artwork and buy the cardboard corners to protect from scratches in storage or transportation.
  • Inventory all artwork for display and make sure everything has a price tag! Try to start this as early as possible!
  • Create a yard sign advertising the event 3-4 weeks ahead of time. Hand out brochures and flyers about the event.
  • Purchase fold-able tables for display and ease of transport.
  • Be sure you have enough display bins, racks, easels, business card holders and clean table cloths. If you have the room, set up a dummy table to plan your sales lay-out.
  • Design your own or purchase a hanging system for your booth/sales area. Hooks and fishing line work in a pinch, not a problem if indoors, but outside this maybe be too unstable in the wind. Keep it simple and lightweight! If you can, borrow a display system to see if you like the whole Open Studio scene before investing first!
  • Create little signs for beside your artwork showing medium, size and price.
  • Plan for a small area where you can demo what you do best! Obviously, all equipment needed for demo or a step-by-step example of how you do what you do! “Open studio” usually means the visitors want to know about the artist, they are not just buying from a store!
  • Small change/cash, calculator for sales tax, sales receipt book, cash box or cash belt with pouch. I find the pouch the easiest-as the cash box can “go walkies” if you get distracted. Push-pins, tape, hooks, price stickers, scissors, pens/pencils, wrapping material, gift bags and your name button!
  • Offer a door-prize, drawing or other small incentive, so email addresses can be collected!
  • If you offer classes, have a sign-up sheet ready to jot down their contact information.
  • Enlist a friend to help with set-up and take-down,  sales help for bathroom breaks and bringing you food/drink as needed!

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