What to Do Before, During & After an Art Trade Show

Planning on exhibiting at Artexpo New York 2014 (or any other art trade show, for that matter)? Below, you’ll find some useful tips to help you maximize your exhibition, both before, during and after the show.

What to Do Before a Trade Show

Plan Ahead!

  • Ideally, you should begin planning for a trade show event 6 months in advance—but it’s never too late to jump on board.
  • Gather the names and contact info of everyone who has ever expressed interest in your work, including current collectors and target galleries.
  • Decide on a budget and stick to it.
  • Plan for advertising, listings and invitations.
  • Prepare for shipping, delivery dates, framing deadlines and set-up/take-down dates and times.
  • Define and select your target audience so you can tailor your message and marketing campaign directly to the needs, concerns and interests of your prospects.
  • READ THE EXHIBITOR MANUAL! Everything you need to know about exhibiting in this particular trade show is available in the exhibitor manual.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Show organizers have all sorts of information that new exhibitors benefit from knowing. Contact us at info@artexponewyork.com
  • Ask show management for a comprehensive media list, their media plan for the show and press release opportunities.
  • Research the convention center. Know where the closest business office, shipping center and other important locations are. It may save you time down the road.
  • Have all of your information, data and materials on a back-up disk in case your flyers/brochures run out or presentations falter.

Spread the Word—Advertise!

  • Advertise your trade show participation. Generate brand awareness so your target audience will recognize you at the show.
  • Use show logos from our Exhibitor Resources page to promote your booth.
  • Find out which publications are planning a show edition and obtain their deadline for submissions.
  • Mail, broadcast and/or email announcements about your product/service, focusing on what’s new.
  • Talk to editors, submit photos and arrange interviews or editorials. Inform your audience about your product, and establish a relationship with the media and your prospective customers prior to the show.
  • Advertise in the official Artexpo New York Show Guide. Our beautifully designed Show Guide will be distributed to thousands of trade attendees and consumers to help them navigate through the aisles of Artexpo New York. Capture the buyer’s attention with an ad that expresses your signature style and delivers them to your booth. The Show Guide will also be posted on Artexpo’s website. Reserve your ad space early for best selection.

Create a Press Kit

  • To market your work, it’s important to have a professional Press Kit that includes: i. Interesting and timely information ii. A one-page company biography iii. Corporate structure/executive staff chart iv. Sales figures v. Complete product information—specs, distribution methods, pricing vi. Photos vii. Key contacts
  • Once it’s completed, post your press kit on your Web site along with the latest company news (blogs are a great way to keep clients up to date and informed).
  • Make sure your press kit is available in the media/pressroom on-site at the show.
    Send Out Invitations to the Show
  • Creating a show invitation is an extremely important part of your exhibition! Be as creative as possible; make the piece stand out from everyday mail.
  • Make sure the invitation is of good color and quality card stock. Boldness and higher contrast often work best.
  • Select a piece of work to present on the invitation—one that best represents your series or body of work.
  • Place your name prominently on the front of the invitation.
  • Get invitations in the mail about three weeks before the show.

Write an Artist Statement

  • An artist statement offers prospective clients a view into your world and your work—but don’t get overly personal. Explain your work in an intelligent manner.
  • Educate, but don’t preach. (How would someone else explain your work?)
  • What is your series based on? What are its elements?
  • Mention important influences, artists and writers that will establish a context for your work.
  • Discuss your process or technique, especially if it is particularly unusual or important to understanding your work.
  • Be confident but not cocky.
  • The statement should be one page, maximum!

What to Do During a Trade Show

Booth Presentation/ Exhibit Display Set-up

  • Be creative and unique in your booth presentation. Make your exhibit display memorable. There are hundreds of other exhibitors selling similar products—what makes you stand out? See my recent post on Hanging Art for more information.
  • Post your name and/or company on the wall somewhere noticeable. Many sign shops make custom vinyl letters that rub on a wall temporarily and can be easily removed without damaging paint or walls at the end of the show.
  • Stack brochures around your booth for visitors to take home.
  • Designate a desk or table to properly conduct business and present contracts, price lists and other necessary documents.

Customer Relations

  • Be enthusiastic! People are attracted to confidence and a positive attitude.
  • Listen to your customers. Focus on their wants and needs.
  • Ask qualifying questions. Find out who your customer is, who they work for and what kind of buying power they have.
  • Remember the old adage: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
  • Be prepared with a few concise statements that will quickly and clearly explain your product/services.
  • Have giveaways in your booth. For instance, you could raffle off a prize. People come running when they hear the word “FREE!”

What to Do After a Trade Show


  • Follow up! The most important part of the trade show is gathering all of your leads and contacting them immediately.
  • Results may not be immediate, but keep your faith and continue to follow up.
  • Make sure your brand name stays familiar through post-show press. Place ads in post-show issues with Art Business News.
  • Create surveys and measure the success of your show efforts.
  • Review your budget plan and make appropriate adjustments.
  • Reflect on the latest marketing plans, products, services and trends you discovered at the show. Use this information to make any appropriate changes to your business and increase your sales.
  • Make plans to exhibit at the next Artexpo!
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