The Joys of Doing Art Shows with Contemporary Impressionist Niki Gulley

 Perhaps I Should’ve Listened to My Parents about Becoming an Artist…

It’s interesting in talking people to find out that most of you guys have no idea what goes into exhibiting at an art show, but you’d like to know. So… for something a little different this month, how about if I regale you with the process?

It often starts with the show attempting to fit 250 artists’ SUV’s and trailers (or in our case an 18′ box truck with a 5′ lift gate) into the set up area which allows about 20 vehicles at a time to unload. Next, you dolly your canopies, display walls, art and support materials (or in our case, we push eleven 6′ x 3′ x 8′ six hundred pound carts) to your booth space.

Yes – that’s right! We all own or rent our tents and walls. The show does not supply these. Our fair fees just cover our 10′ x 10′ piece of concrete. Next, we then proceed to erect our outdoor galleries, which on our fastest day takes about 7 hours – that’s as long as there is no heat, humidity, rain, or extra dollying (like uphill over grass at the Cottonwood Art Festival.)

Then, when the weekend is over, we pack each artwork in protective wrapping and take it all down. Luckily this process goes quicker and we can finish in 3 to 4 hours, although it’s usually dark by this point. And, occasionally such as in Ann Arbor and Chicago, the show has allowed locals to drive on the streets while you are still loading up.

We then proceed to drive home, often about 1200 miles spread over two days. Usually this goes smoothly other than having to pull in at every state’s commercial truck weight station, with the occasional inspections (where you pray you receive no fines or delays.) This particular summer, besides getting some warnings in Wisconsin during out impromptu truck inspection, we ran into a few other surprises. Despite our vehicle having rather low mileage, our sway bar fell off in the middle of Tennessee, we were towed and impounded for the low price of $525 in Chicago’s suburbs despite having a parking pass, and lastly our tire blew out on the freeway 10 miles from a town in Ohio on a Sunday. Did I mention almost all businesses are closed on Sundays in Toledo? Fun stuff!

Needless to say, I am so grateful to all of you that come out to support us and allow me to continue my passion for painting!!! Scott’s getting closer to retirement, so you may be seeing us less in future years. Sadly, this was our last summer in Ann Arbor, and I will really miss you guys! But, keep in mind I am only a phone call or e-mail away if  you need some artwork to lift your spirits.


To see more of my contemporary impressionistic landscape paintings, visit
E-mail –  Niki Gulley