Choosing The Right Canopy For Art Shows
When I am at shows, I am often asked about my canopy so I thought writing an article could be useful to many other artists.
The Cheap Canopy: Everyone’s Sad Experience
Many people that do their first outdoor show make this mistake: they go and buy the cheapest canopy from Costco or Wall-Mart with a blue, green or brown top. After the first show you will notice that the art does not display properly because it is dark under the tent and light is essential to make our paintings look beautiful.
After all the work, time and expenses it takes to get to a show we want to be at our best and maximize our chances to sell.
When buying a cheaper canopy, it may feel like we are saving money upfront, but long term I don’t believe it is a great deal. We cannot forget to add the time, money and energy we will also need in building display walls. These homemade things never look that professional; they are cumbersome, large and heavy to transport to shows. They also often add time especially if you need to bring your screwdriver and other tools to set up your complex homemade display…
The next thing that will happen with the cheap canopy is that it won’t protect our work adequately from rain. Many of them are water resistant (not waterproof) so water will run down our artwork or just collapse if it rains heavily overnight: Puddles accumulate on the canopy top and eventually from the weight of the water the seams give away and the weak structure break. When we arrive in the morning after a sleepless night worrying about our booth, we discover that our canopy looks like a pretzel. At this point, hopefully we didn’t leave our work in the tent overnight…
Either way we blew $200.
The Best Canopies: The Pragmatic and Economic Way To Go
There are in between solutions but I will only discuss the best solution: Buy the professional canopy from Flourish or Light Dome. They cost about $1000, more if you purchase awnings and hanging walls but ultimately this is how I see it: If you spend $1,500 on a good tent, it is only $150 a show after 10 shows, which is much cheaper than renting a tent. These professional canopies are spacious, luminous and very strong. The zippers of the walls will never jam or break, no water will ever come in and your art will look fantastic. The structure can also provide a great presentation at indoor shows, or it can be used in your studio if you need extra walls on the day of an open studio.
If you sell your art for 10 years at 5 shows a year, you invested $30 a show. After a decade, your canopy will still be in great shape and you would be able with no doubt to resell it if you decided that you didn’t need it anymore.
Flourish or Light Dome:
After asking many questions to artists at shows, I chose with no regret to go with Flourish. Their structure is made of stainless steel, Light Dome structure is made of aluminium. The Flourish steel is heavier* but the extra weight works to our advantage in terms of anchoring and staying earthbound, especially on windy, stormy weekends, which eventually happen. Before I made my decision on which canopy to buy, I found from artists that a few had to eventually replace Light Dome aluminium parts that had broke after 10 years. Time goes fast, I’ve had mine for already 8 years and it still looks new. I also like the dome better, it is higher which really make an impression, it also makes a small 10’x10′ booth look more spacious than the regular cheap canopies. I love the fact that it has windows in the dome which can provide air flow on hot days. Heat can quickly gather in these canopies in the summer and people tend to enter and go “Wheuf! It’s so hot in there” and no matter how great our art is they basically don’t’ want to hang out too long under our tent… which is not what we want. Under our Flourish canopy, they find shade and great art to look at!
When I just started a colleague artist that had been doing shows for many years said to me : “You have to find a system that makes your set up easy or else doing outdoor shows will kill you.” When I get to a show, it takes me 45 minutes by myself to build my canopy, I always feel confident and ready in the beautiful set up I have.
I find buying the right canopy right away was the best decision I made! For more information you may check their clear and in-depth website http://www.flourish.com/
To also check out Light Dome you may go to: http://www.lightdomecanopies.com/
*Note about the weight of the Flourish Canopy: The basic canopy is 130Lb, with additional features (with stabilizing bars and awnings it can be up to 200Lb which is what I have.)
For more information about the art that I display in my Flourish Canopy continue on my site!