Six ways to plan for artists’ care during an art fair

Mint Artists Guild is going to the art fairs again this year – starting with Palmer Park Art Fair this weekend. We will set up at the Belle Isle Art Fair in early August, the Funky Ferndale Art Fair in September and some pop up art events in between.

We spend a lot of timing getting ready for these fairs, usually about three workshops for our youth artists and offer check-ins and check lists. Yes, they help them understand: They must create a lot of work to sell and promote themselves and the event ahead of time.

Yet we never can share enough information on artists’ self care and preparing for the long hot (or cold) days at an outdoor art fair. So here’s some self care and packing tips we’ve culled from artists over six years.

Food and drink.  You could end up so busy that you do not have time to pick up a veggie burger from the food truck. So pack a lunch and some protein bars and yogurt.  Bring fruit or veggie sticks and nuts to give you extra energy – and don’t skimp on the water. Pack a fruit juice or iced tea too, and extra water. Invest in a good cooler so everything stays cool.

Friends or family.  Don’t do it alone. Artist Judy Bowman is known for bringing along a posse of people to art events – and for setting and achieving huge goals. So invite a very reliable friend, your sister or mom for part of the fair. Give them a briefing ahead of time and a price list when they arrive. That way, you can wander the fair for an hour or choose your car – for a brief nap.

Sun and rain.  Pack sunscreen and an umbrella. Bring a fan and a bandana, which if you dip it in your icy water from your cooler, will help with heat. Throw in an extra shirt in case you get drenched. Or if you are dripping sweat, you can change. If the fair is in May or September or October, bring along a warm jacket and possibly gloves.

Self care items.  Bring along something that feels good to you and for you.

Bring along cherries or something delicious. (Photo by Neha Deshmukh / Unsplash)

This looks different for every artist. Comfortable shoes for most, fancy ones for a few. Lipstick or dried mangos. A good luck charm or a bowl of cherries. A comfortable chair or foot pads to stand on. A mini massage after the fair closes (and make sure it’s already booked). A book of poetry  or a premium chocolate from Mindo, Pete’s or another artisanal maker.

A tool kit.  You may need to repair a frame or touch up the paint on a piece. So bring along tools for that, including duct tape, scissors, a black marker, some small bungee cords and extra hooks. Pack a spare card reader and an extra battery for your phone or devices.

A mantra and a goal. Mint alumni Trinity Brown always sets a monetary goal on how much she wants to sell at an art fair. She selects an exact dollar amount. You could follow her lead or set a different goal: Meet two artists who you could learn from or collaborate with. Connect with a collector who wants to commission a piece. Discover two other art events you may participate in this year.

And you need a mantra, a short hopeful saying that will see you through the crazy and the discouraging moments of the art fair.  Here’s three we like:

“I will grow and prosper in this moment.”

“All my creativity is valuable and meaningful.”

“Today, I am smart and successful.”

Artists and creatives, please share your favorite mantras and advice for self care during busy times in the comments!