If you have questions about art fairs, we have answers! This month's article goes into some practical and common questions regarding art shows.
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Practical and Frequently Asked Questions About Art Shows
by Maria Arango
"I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake
When I first started the art festival guide I had a somewhat clear organization and, once I decided on the main points to cover, I kept to my outline more or less faithfully. During the course of art festivals, I would think of bits and pieces and almost all of them fit neatly into my chapters...almost. Another phenomenon that occurs in art festivals is that some of us get a lot of visits from artists that want to entertain the idea of embarking upon the art festival adventure. Most of them ask the obvious questions but some pose a few practical and sometimes not so obvious questions. There is so much more to know!
On an average year, whatever that may be, I figure I spend about 30% of my time making art, 30% selling art, 30% on the various business tasks and 30% taking care of the home front. If you notice, that adds up to 120%, not counting sleeping and eating, which is the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to making a living as an artist. Seriously, I have never worked so hard or so long on anything, although the rewards of making a living as a living artist are without question worth every minute of every day and the minutes in between. Nobody said it was going to be easy!
While you are starting out and still not knowing who to ask, I will just answer the most frequent questions that came pouring to my booth and my website and that logically made me fashion this last chapter as a summary of Frequently Asked Questions. They are arranged in no particular order; I simply jotted them down as people asked both in person and online although I guess I tried to address them in order of importance or at least relevance to the business. You might call them tricks of the trade, nuts and bolts, tips from the experienced or frequently asked questions. I will also try to answer them succinctly since I have already explained most points in the previous chapters. Well, I might throw in a story or two, but that's to be expected by now. So here are my loose ends, whatever didn't neatly fit into the previous chapters, I kept for this last one. Now you can't say nobody told you!
Do I need a business license?
Everywhere you go! As a business you will undoubtedly need a business license to operate a business in your own state. Every state is different so the best course of action is to head on over to the website of the Department of Taxation or Department of Revenue for your own state and find out what the licensing requirements are for your particular situation. I know that sounds scary and complicated but most states will simply not let you conduct business without a license and really, aside from paying a fee and the initial application, it's not so bad.
Doing business outside of your own state will often if not always also require a temporary permit or a temporary vendor's license, often for the state, county and/or city. Many of us carry out of state business licenses for every state we work in and renew them yearly. Some are free, some require a nominal yearly fee. The bottom line is that you cannot do business anywhere without a license or permit and playing around with tax authorities is not my idea of fun.
The promoter of the show is usually the best source of information for the required licensing and tax requirements of each show. Many promoters will require a state license number with applications, some will include the county/city license fee with the application, others do not. Ultimately it may be up to you to investigate and obtain the proper permits and pay the proper taxes, which neatly leads me to the next question.
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You will now notice a new travel link associated with the event listings on our website. FestivalNet is pleased to have partnered with Priceline, offering members more lodging options.
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