Life As An Itinerant Artist

Stories and anecdotes from fifteen years on the art show circuit. 

Top 25 Art Shows in the US

Here are my picks for the top twenty-five art festivals in the US. I haven’t participated in all of them, but I’m working on it. Primary criteria for this ranking is based on overall attendance, ambience, artist treatment, sales and ease of doing the show.

  1. Cherry Creek Arts Festival – Denver, CO
  2. Sausalito Art Festival – Sausalito, CA
  3. St. Louis Art Fair – St. Louis, MO
  4. Plaza Art Fair – Kansas City, MO
  5. Main St. – Fort Worth, TX
  6. Art on the Square – Belleville, IL
  7. Coconut Grove Arts Festival – Miami, FL
  8. Artisphere – Greenville, SC
  9. Des Moines Art Festival – Des Moines, IA
  10. Krasl Art Fair – St. Joseph, MI
  11. Old Town Art Fair – Chicago, IL
  12. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival – Winter Park, FL
  13. Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Tampa, FL
  14. Dogwood Arts Festival – Atlanta, GA
  15. Lakefront Festival of the Arts – Milwaukee, WI
  16. Ann Arbor Street Art Fair (The Original) — Ann Arbor, MI
  17. Bayou City Art Festival – Houston, TX
  18. Mainsail Art Festival – St. Petersburg, FL
  19. Port Clinton – Highland Park, IL
  20. St. James Court Art Show – Louisville, KY
  21. Cain Park Arts Festival – Cleveland Heights, OH
  22. Gold Coast Art Fair – Chicago, IL
  23. Boca Museum of Art Fine Art Festival – Boca Raton, FL
  24. Birmingham Fine Art Festival – Birmingham, MI
  25. Walt Disney Festival of the Masters – Lake Buena Vista, FL

If I’ve left off any good ones, leave a comment!

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  1. An addendum to this post: I’ve done most of these shows, but not all. Haven’t gotten into St. Louis or Plaza (yet), and am looking forward to doing Cherry Creek and Des Moines this year.
    I’d pull St. James Court and Port Clinton off the list now. St. James has gotten too large, with the four shows, and the population isn’t buying like they used to. Port Clinton is way too overpriced for a local show, and if you don’t have a prime spot on First or Second St., you’ll likely die there. The Boca Museum show is a wonderful venue, but Florida is way too oversaturated with shows now, and South Florida is the worst.

  2. Ok, more. Coconut Grove is swamped with sponsor booths intermingled with the artists. Still many people do well here. I did it once, made some good money, and considered myself lucky. If you have brightly colored fish or beach scenes, or ultra-modern 3-D work, you can do well here. Others, maybe not so much.
    And for me, Sausalito is too far to drive for the exorbitant booth fee. The nut is simply too much for low- to medium-priced work to do well here.
    I’d add Art in the Pearl, in Portland OR, and perhaps LaQuinta in Palm Springs CA. Again, too far for me.

  3. You haven’t been to Art Basel Miami yet? Wow. Last time I went to that palace my mind was blown!


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