Frequently Asked Questions

How is stARTup Art Fair different from other fairs?
Unlike the majority of commercial fairs, which are open mainly to art galleries, stARTup is a contemporary art fair for independent artists. Think much more DIY; you as the artist have the power to curate your own space and present a solo exhibition of your work.

stARTup Art Fair is a hotel fair. The advantages of this format over a traditional "booth fair" include a much more intimate, inviting and homelike experience for viewing your work, and a more relaxed and serious one-on-one interaction with visitors and collectors.


What does "independent artist" mean?
One of the core missions of stARTup Art Fair is that participating artists keep 100% of the proceeds from their sales. If you have a commercial gallery or outside agency that would expect a split or a commission from sales of your work, and/or they would be promoting your participation in the fair, we will not accept your application.

However, if you have a casual affiliation with a gallery, such as consignment of a few pieces or occasional participation in group show(s), or if your gallery is in a different region than the the fair, you may still qualify. In this case we ask that you apply with a specific body of work that the gallery does not represent; again, you should be able to keep 100% of the proceeds from sales of that particular body of work.


What is the Exhibitor Fee?
Exhibitor Fees range from $3,000.00 to $4,900.00. As with any ‘open to the public event’ -- an event in which we are hoping to attract thousands of visitors throughout the weekend -- there are a myriad of costs and expenses involved, including PR & marketing, advertising, security, parking, event fees, permits, and insurance, to provide a very partial list.

We have made every effort to keep our Exhibitor Fees as low as possible. We are very confident that our cost -- both per square foot and per linear foot of usable wall space -- is a fraction of costs at commercial booth fairs and other independent art fairs.


What do I get for my Exhibitor Fee?

  • 4 nights at the Hotel, which includes several amenities, such as discounted parking, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, flat-screen TV, in-room safe, and all hotel and occupancy taxes
  • 3 afternoons and evenings of fair hours open to the public, including a Press/First Look Preview, Opening Night Party, and Closing Party; as it is your hotel room, you are welcome to make private viewing appointments outside of public fair hours as well
  • Extensive marketing and advertsing of the fair and artists through strategic media buys, online ads, social media marketing, and other key partnerships
  • Complimentary admission tickets for your preferred collectors and guests
  • Individual page on the stARTup Art Fair website, including images, a brief synopsis of your work, your contact information, and a link to your personal website; it is our hope that this may enable you to make some pre-sales and contacts in advance of the fair
  • Opportunity to have your work on our mobile app and e-commerce site where your work can be seen before, during and after the fair by art buyers 24/7/365
  • Personalized signage for room door and exhibitor badges
  • Pre-fair seminar/Q&A covering art fair etiquette, protocols, and sales tips

How can I pay my Exhibitor Fee?
As mentioned above, you will have an Individual page on the stARTup Art Fair website, so you can hopefully make pre-sales in the weeks leading up to the fair. Crowdfunding campaigns and "studio sales weekends" are other good options, which also help to build recognition of your work and awareness of your participation in the fair. Some artists at stARTup Chicago 2016 had their Exhibitor Fee underwritten by friends, family, and/or collectors in exchange for artwork.

In addition, there are various apps that can help you finance the fee by breaking it into payments over 3-12 months. Our favorite is INSTO.


Can I share costs by splitting a room with another artist/other artists?

  • If you are an artist collective exhibiting as a single entity, absolutely! Please make this clear in your application statement.
  • If you are 2 or 3 separate artists with different bodies of work, we prefer that you submit a single application with a thoughtful group exhibition proposal. 

Why would I be interested in participating in stARTup Art Fair?
At stARTup Art Fair, you have the power to take responsibility for your solo exhibition, and be in charge of your own destiny. You will have the opportunity to begin professional relationships with collectors, curators, gallery owners, art consultants, and writers who will be attending our fair, and who likely will be attending the established EXPO Chicago fair nearby. stARTup Art Fair will attract thousands of art lovers, from the seasoned enthusiast eager to discover new artists, to museum and institution collectors groups, to the curious 'newbie' eager to start a collection.


What is the application fee and how do I apply?
The application fee is $25, which is less than half of application fees for most art fairs, and lower than application fees for many juried shows, competitions, and the like. 


Who is doing the PR for the fair?
stARTup Art Fair is proud to be working with Framework, a San Francisco-based boutique agency specializing in PR, strategic communications, marketing, creative content and events. The company serves clients engaged in the arts, culture and creative brand initiatives including: galleries, art fairs, individual artists, cultural nonprofits and lifestyle brands. More information is available on the Contact page. Fair marketing and advertising takes the forms of strategic media buys in radio and magazines, online banner ads, media sponsorships, social media advertising, ticket exchanges and partnerships  with various collector groups.


Will I be able to remove the bed and/or furniture from my hotel room?
Unfortunately, limited storage space at the hotel does not allow for the removal of beds or furniture. However, these items may be used for display of your work.


How can I hang my artwork on the walls?
The hotel management requires that all exhibitors use 3M/Command brand Damage-Free hanging products to hang work on room walls. QuakeHOLD! museum putty is another good option. The use of nail hooks, screws, and the like is not permitted. As with any hotel art fair, exhibitors can display work in many creative ways. To view a brief slideshow of some great examples of room installations, click here!