Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Show Managers *but were afraid to ask

Wendy Rosen Guest blogger Wendy Rosen, founder of the American Made Show, dispels artists’ myths and misperceptions.



MYTH – The jury system is the best way to select artists.

The truth is that images alone can be misrepresented, or may not tell the whole story. Five images are not enough. My best exhibitors are those with experience in the marketplace and are good marketing partners. They are artists who have great displays as well as good work, and their work is cohesive and well merchandised.

This is why additional supporting information is necessary. Yes, we look at images, but we also look at the artist’s whole business. Sometimes we have a conversation, giving feedback about why application isn’t strong enough. Our goal is to help each applicant find success, even if it’s down the road or for acceptance to another show.


MYTH – All booth locations are equal.

Some artists think that everyone entering a show automatically turns right. It’s not necessarily true. Some artists believe that those upfront spots are the best thing. The truth is that you never let any show manager tell you that all show spaces are equal. They aren’t.

All too often, a booth in the middle of the show is the best spot. A booth way in the back, near the ladies room is often the best spot, because of the amount of traffic. Show promoters now have the tools to provide you with a current up-to-the-moment floor plan if they want to. Just ask. You may be able to select your own booth when you are juried in.


Show floor aisle


MYTH – Show management will do all the marketing work; I don’t have to do anything.

The truth is that if you are not a good partner, a great show can become a bad show. A bad show can become a great show if the participating artists become true partners and invite their own customers. No show promoter has the perfect list, and few attendees come on just one invitation. Most good customers or show visitors need to be invited 5-7 times before they decide to come. Call, mail, eblast… repeat.


MYTH – Complaints and suggestions won’t do any good.

Whether you’re upset about a neighbor selling inappropriate products, the hours of a show or location, etc., go ahead and let the management know. All show managers care about success, and success can’t happen if they don’t know how to create a better show next year, or next month.

It takes great relationships to create great shows. Provide constructive suggestions and improvements that will help the show draw more and better attendees. As a show manager, I want to hear what’s wrong, so that I can do it better next year. And if you don’t get what you need at the show, you won’t come back.


MYTH – Show managers want other shows to fail.

As a show manager, I want you to succeed in every show you do, so that you can expand your business. Repeat exhibitors, and repeat buyers are the backbone of my shows, and supporting the artist’s entire business is important. I can’t be successful unless my artists are – at all of their shows.

Twenty years ago there were just a handful of wholesale shows. Today, artists are testing all kinds of new trade shows and wholesale opportunities… wholesaling art is growing and it’s not concentrated into just one region or just in the field of art. Artists are finding success at all kinds of unusual shows and events. The demand for art in all sectors of the marketplace is growing at an amazing rate.

As the founder of The Arts Business Institute, I teach the business of art to hundreds of artists around the country each year. My biggest thrill is to help an artist solve a problem or find a path to a solution. It’s why I make myself available on Facebook and by email. Helping new artists one at a time as they enter the marketplace and grow a successful business is my passion. And life doesn’t get much better than that!


Photo credit: American Made Show

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