Greetings. I'm doing a paper for an art class on the topic of how an artist evaluates which art shows are worth applying to and attending. To provide some background, I had a show booth for several years and had limited success; now I'm preparing to re-enter the market and want to do a better job. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts to share on the subject. Specifically, I have the following questions, but feel free to chime in with other thoughts if you have them.
-- As a beginning artist, how do you know if a show is out of your reach, talent-wise? I could apply to the Top 20 shows on Sunshine's 'Best Of' list, but with the stiff competition it's a waste of my time and application fees. How do you judge what "tier" you're at as an artist? And how do you find shows at that level?
-- How do you judge the level of craft vs. fine art content of a show? In my last foray into the art fair world, I ended up in several "craft shows", and it was a waste of a weekend. But based on the promotional material I'd received, the shows seemed more "art" and less "craft". How does one tell, without travelling to see a show in person?
-- How do you judge the sales potential of a show, or the amount of walk-through traffic it will receive specific to your particular work?
-- Do you have a preference between paid admittance or free-gate shows? Is it a better show if there's music or some other entertainment attached?
-- The two times I applied for and worked first-time shows were a disaster. Is there ever an occasion where you would consider attending the first year of a show? What factors would have to be in play for you to agree to attend a first-year show?
-- The farther away you have to travel for a show, the more it costs and greater commitment it requires. How do you judge how far to range from your home base, and what factors would prompt you to extend beyond the usual range?
-- Are there any other factors you use to evaluate whether you want to do a show?
-- Are there any other forums or avenues I should use to pursue the answers to these questions?
Thank you very much for your time!