Tips for a Successful Arts Market Application with Mitch Cohen

Submitted by mstarkey on Mon, Aug 13th at 9:30 pm
Tips for a Successful Arts Market Application
with Mitch Cohen
by Micah Starkey

Summer is nearly over!--hopefully, that means the heat will be over soon too! Yes, we know that's wishful thinking for Houston, but as we wish away the dog days of summer, we can daydream about the upcoming festival season.

But don't daydream for too long, artists--approaching festivals means artist calls and applications are open now, and we've put together a set of tips for submitting successful applications this season.

For some expert advise on selling local in Houston, we turned to lifelong artist, Fresh Arts friend and founder of The Market at Sawyer Yards, Mitch Cohen. Here are his top 3 tips:

1) Read the directions and follow them to the letter!  My markets are curated, and sometimes the difference between artists getting in or not is as simple as following the requests in the instructions. Don’t assume you’re amazing art will carry you.

2) Quality photos of your artwork is a must! Take the time to take quality images of your work, well lit, uncluttered and take photos of your booth and/or displays. We ask for images of work in progress too, that can be a messy kitchen table, a sketchbook or a high-end studio - sometimes we need convincing that you really are the creator.  Leave yourself out of the images unless requested.

3) Take your time! If you just discovered a market, and the deadline is very soon - check for future dates. It’s better to take your time and have everything ready and get in than to be rejected because you rushed your application and missed important details. If an organization is taking the time request photos to look at, a detailed description of your work and will review possibly hundreds of applications - you can bet they are taking their market or festival seriously and so should you!

BONUS TIP: In Texas artists are required to pay tax on sales. Although many shows and markets don’t require proof that you have a State of Texas Sales Tax ID, you should get one and pay anyway. The Comptroller’s Office does investigate and you don’t want a good sales day interrupted by one of their agents investigating and possible fines for not having one.

And, of course, from our experience with our own Winter Holiday Arts Market, here are a few more do's and don'ts that will lead you to success.

Application Do’s
  1. Supply a photo of your branded packaging or a table/booth display even if it’s just a mock up! Reviewers want to have a sense of your personality, professionalism, and the type of shopping experience that you will provide to the market’s customers. 
  2. Show work that fits together--show a theme.
  3. Mention your experience at previous events.
  4. Heed advice/feedback from curators of previous markets to which you've applied.
Application Don’ts
  1. Don’t skip the text sections! All application questions are there for a reason so take the time to answer each question as thoughtfully as possible. In the event of a tie-breaker, the artist that took the time to explain WHY their work is unique or HOW it was made has the potential to be accepted over an artist who skipped questions.
  2. Don't have an empty website! Your website is another important resource that curators might refer to--it should be as up-to-date as possible.
  3. Don't bad mouth other events on social media.

Ready, set, apply! Here are some upcoming market selling opportunities now accepting applications: 

Fresh Arts WHAM
Fresh Arts is seeking LOCAL ARTISTS and 
CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURS producing fine art, unique crafts, and handmade, original goods for the 2018 Winter Holiday Art Market (WHAM), November 16-18...
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The Market at Sawyer Yards
Folk Art, Funky Art, Recycled, Upcycled, Pet Treats, Designers, Greeting Cards, Balloon Artists ... Signs...yard Art ... If you are the maker and the seller, this is a market for you!...
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First Saturday Art Market
First Saturday Arts Market is a 14-year-old fine arts event that takes place in the Houston Heights. The market showcases paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry and handcrafted items....
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Bayou City Arts Festival - Spring 2019
Juried at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by an invited panel of artists, collectors and industry professionals, Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park is the nation’s premier spring outdoor fine art event and kicks off the spring Texas art festival circuit...
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