First Place at Windermere Art Affair and Are Your Ready to Do an Art Fair?

www.kimminichiello.comI haven’t done an art fair in over seventeen years.  In a former art life, the one where I made hand dyed, painted and block printed children’s wear, I used to do 8 shows a year in the Los Angeles area.  From past experience I know how much work they can be!  When the organizer of the “Windermere Art Affair” asked if I would participate in the first annual event this last weekend,  I couldn’t say no.  I love my community so much, so I got the tent out, dusted it off, and borrowed wall panels from a dear artist friend who was so kind to let me use them.  I was thrilled to win first place for overall body of work at the show!  There were some great artists there in a variety of media.

I’ve been preparing for this event for a few months.   I thought I would share my process a bit in case you are considering venturing into art fair territory.  First you must ask yourself do I have the inventory to create a nice display on the three walls of the booth?  Knowing a typical booth is 10 feet by 10 feet, and how much and how big your best work is you can make an assessment.  Notice I said best work,  I wanted to put my best foot forward and display what I felt represented who I am as a painter now. I know one of the goals is to get some sales, if you have older work that you would like to move and perhaps offer at a lower rate than that’s great!  But, personally I wouldn’t show it if it doesn’t hold up to your other work.  Your gut will tell you if it does!  Also consider your audience where the fair is bing held and anticipate what they may be drawn to subject wise and if you are inspired to do new work, add that to your repertoire.

Once I realized I had enough original work for the booth, I started inventorying my giclée prints and note cards. I made more cards, and had more prints run, to offer some lesser price items for sale along with the higher priced originals. I also had to consider how I was going to display the prints and cards.  I then laid out and designed the booth display, and made a list of all the equipment I would need to set up the booth and display everything. I purchased things along the way I new I would need I didn’t have on hand. As I thought of something in the 3 month span I had to prep for the show, I would write it down on an ongoing list of stuff to pack.  This way your not trying to think of everything you need a few days or the day before the show.

www.kimminichiello.comImagine your self making a sale, how are you going to record it,  charge tax, accept credit cards, make change and package the purchases.  Figure all this out in advance so you have time to get a Square or PayPal swipe for credit cards  and do a trial run with the software.  You don’t want to make your customers wait while you try and figure it all out! Make sure your devices are charged and you have an extra back up battery and you have no problem with internet connectivity.  Plan an area in the  booth where you are going to conduct the sales out of the way of others who may be browsing.

If you aren’t a seasoned art fair exhibitor, mock up your set up before the show.  Make sure you have everything you need tent, walls,  signage, and weights to weigh down the tent in case of wind.  I’m not kidding about the weights don’t take any chances.  I heard a recent story from a friend who attended and art fair recently that a strong wind carried an artists entire tent and work into a nearby stream and they watched it float away! Plan for in-climate weather if necessary and your art is protected from wind and rain.

Make sure all your gear and your art fit in your vehicle if you have a loving spouse, (luckily I have one of those!) or a friend take a second vehicle if it doesn’t fit in one.  Survey the area if you can ahead of time and get all the information from the fair organizers on set up and tear down. It can be very chaotic at set up and tear down, the more prepared you are the less stressed you will be and the smoother it all will go.

Don’t forget promotional materials, business cards, brochures, information on workshops if you teach them, a guest book to collect email addressed for your newsletter if you do one  and last but not least, if you have the space some fresh flowers are really nice! Thanks to my husband for suggestion that one!  Organize all your packing materials during set up and stow them away so that everything is ready and it’s where you need it for tear down.  Also bring a tool box  and duct tape, you would be surprised how that will come in handy!

Click here to see a video link of my booth set up.

If this was at all helpful please leave a comment and let me know and if you are a seasoned art fair exhibiter I  would love for you to share some helpful tips!

Into the Woods cprtLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.


Where Did January Go and Some New Toys


www.kimminichiello.comHelen and I at dinner, in Savannah with flat head WAM members, Debra Kierce, Carrie Waller and Maria Bennet Hock.

Where on earth did January go?  I’m taking some time to slow down a bit!  Aside from the cold I’m fighting right now it has been all good!

I took part in Leslie Satea’s, 30 in 30 Painting challenge. Although due to some travel I kind of petered out a bit towards the end.  My goal was to not do 30 paintings but to paint every day on some work I need to finish. Which I was happy to say I did, and made progress on a larger painting.

One weekend was spent in Ocala where I was officially appointed Third Vice President of the Florida Watercolor Society.  Let me just say I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of this fabulous group.  I consider many FWS members as some of my dearest friends and I love the chance to spend time with them in person!  This is going to be about a six year commitment being on the board!  There will be lots to do planning each of the annual conventions from now until 2021! My task this year to to line up all of the demo artists that will be doing demonstrations and presentations at this years convention, as well as work on the social media, mainly the Face Book Page for FWS.

www.kimminichiello.comThe Evacutaion at the Jepson Center

The following weekend I headed to Savannah to meet my fellow WAM Member Helen Beacham in person!  After meeting in cyberspace for almost a year and a half now, we got to spend some time together enjoying each other’s company.  We spent the day at the Jepson Center to see the Monet and the American Impressionists Exhibition on it’s last weekend. Just as we finished the show the fire alarm sounded and we had to evacuate the building!  Many people were swept out before getting a chance to get their coats! It was that same weekend the blizzard had struck Virginia and Savannah was getting the rain and some really cold temperatures from the storm.   I snuck in the coat room and got ours before we bolted out. We found out later it was a sprinkler system malfunction. Lets hope it wasn’t in one of the galleries!


Of course while in Savannah I got to  spend time with my daughter, who goes to SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design)!  She took me to a used art store, where all the SCAD students take supplies and get money for them or shop for supplies at a discount.  Here I am pawing through the watercolor paint bins.  I scored quite a bit for a $1 to $2 a tube!

www.kimminichiello.comSome New Toys

I go to life drawing one evening a week and can’t tell you how much I feel I have improved.  Figures are not my forté so I feel like if  I can get a few decent drawings from the evening, I’m doing pretty good.  Since art stores abound in Savannah, two Blick stores and the SCAD book store Ex Libres,  I got a few goodies for life drawing as well.


  • Going to try out the Derwent Grahitint Pencels, tinted graphite pencils, which are water soluble.
  • The tin is water soluble graphite that I use like water color and draw the figure with the brush.  This is my second tin of this stuff, I love it!
  • Also trying from top to bottom some Derwent Ink Intense pencils in various colors also water soluble.
  • At the bottom my favorite life drawing tool, the Stabilo Aquarellable Pencil # 8046.

Are you seeing a trend here?  I like to sketch then come in after and get value variations  and washes by melting the pancil lines with a brush and water.

Can’t wait to try the new stuff out!  What do you like to sketch with? Feel free to leave a comment!