Art shows: it takes a village

This past weekend, I spent my Saturday at an outdoor art show as part of Canmore’s annual artsPeak Festival. Staging any art show (large or small) is a ton of work, but I have to admit that the work is not all mine.

Linda Cote Studio-artFair 2012

My tent set up at the artFair this past weekend. The rain held off, and lots of people came by. It was windy, but there were also lots of offers to hold the tents down!

It truly takes a village to get me to (and through) an art show. This was my second show in the month of June, and I have my third show June 24th at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

So, at the risk of sounding like a long-winded presenter on Oscar night, here is a shout out to the many people who help get me out the door, and back into my studio … before, during and after an art show.

Firstly, thanks to my husband who is my biggest advocate, cheerleader and support. He always encourages me to sign up for these shows, even though it means he will have a day or two of marshalling our pre-teen boys for the duration. Each night after a show, he greets me with a hot dinner and a glass of my favorite red wine.

To my mom and dad, who never miss an opportunity to come see me at a show – even some of the out-of-town venues. They also offer the critical job of babysitting our boys when my husband helps me pack up a show. We have one car, and I barely can fit all my art, my display, plus me and my husband in the vehicle, let alone our two kids.

My mom also lends me her finest white table linens for my display (“Someone should be using them!”), and then offers to clean and press them and get them back to me all ready for the next show. (We always argue about who will clean them, and she says, “This is one way I can help you. Let me do it.” She wins.)

Linda Cote-mom art show

My mom buying my art at the Rimrock Hotel springstART show in April 2012. I think we are agruing over her paying full price vs. me insisting on the “mom discount”. (This photo was taken by my brother, who was also at the show.)

To Barb Fyvie, my art studio partner, who is always there at the beginning and at the end of every show. She magically shows up to help me lug the boxes, easels, carts, racks, signs and artwork down the three flights of stairs to my car. She shows up “on the street” two hours before — and for an hour after — my show to help with set up and tear down. And then, when the show is all over, it’s the same in reverse: back up to our shared studio space. Did I mention it’s on the third floor, with no elevator? And not least of all, she invites her friends and family, who never miss a chance to drop by the booth and buy a piece of art.

To my children and the rest of my family, who – when they can – drop by my booth, sharing liberal hugs, asking how it’s going, bringing friends, and even soul-restoring pastries or coffees. They are always anxious to see how it goes after the day is done, and I love that they care.

Linda Cote-show help

Here, my son helps me price my Christmas cards for a show a few years back. He’s little, but really good with stickers.

Linda Cote-Tent help

My ten-year-old helps direct my tent set up. I set it up Friday night before Saturday’s artsPeak show to make sure all the parts were working. (He has a future as my business manager, I think.)

To my many friends who spread the word about my shows and show up at my booth, and visit and buy art. These people make my day because sometimes I haven’t seen them for months, or even years.

To my fellow artists, my galleries, and my many followers on Facebook, Twitter and my blog … the ones who share, tweet, retweet, comment and give me their “virtual” encouragement. And, for those who also get out from behind the computer and come to the booth so I can meet them in person, where we both laugh that our Facebook/Twitter profile photos don’t do us justice.

To the many organizers who volunteer their time to stage an art show for one or many artists. I have also been on the volunteering side, and I know how much work it is to corral several artists, stage a venue and publicize an event.

And, to my clients who consistently buy my art – at my booth, in my studio or in the galleries that carry my artwork — and who follow my journey and come to my shows (many of you more than once). You keep me doing what I love. You educate me with recommendations of other artists and workshops I should check out, you entertain me with your questions like where I buy my gorgeous show shoes, and warm my heart when you tell me that you love my creations.

Thanks to all of you (and to anyone I missed). You definitely make these events worth doing and help me through every part of this wonderful part of being an artist.

Linda Cote-artFair 2012

Part of the artFair where I showed my art this past weekend in Canmore. Always a beautiful backdrop to the shows here!

Linda Cote-Caprices Show

Me at my first June 2012 show “Caprices” in Calgary. Indoor shows can have a smaller booth space, but you don’t deal with the challenges of rain and wind.

Linda Cote-Packed Car1

Our small SUV is always stuffed to the rafters for an art show.

Linda Cote-Packed Car 2

There isn’t even room to bring a helper along!

Linda Cote-Awesome-show-shoes

My favorite (and first) show shoes. I was talked into these by a girlfriend who insisted that a good (and cute) pair of shoes was essential for an art show.

Linda Cote-Lucky show shoes

Another pair of my “lucky show shoes”. Interesting (and comfortable) footwear is a great conversation starter!

Linda Cote-chocolate

A must for every show: a healthy lunch and CHOCOLATE! (This is my favorite from our Canmore Le Chocolatier: dark cappuccino crisp. Yum!)


This photo was taken by one of my followers at the Rimrock Hotel springstART show in April 2012. She later posted it to her Japanese blog. It was so fun to see a post on me in a different language!

13 responses to “Art shows: it takes a village

  1. Nice work, and nice shoes, lol…good luck with the next one, though I’m sure all will go well 🙂

    • Thanks Julia! Yes, it was fun. A person came by and said, “I love your shoes!!” and dashed off. She came back later, and said, “Now. Seriously. Where did you buy your shoes??” LOL. Always a chuckle to come out of a show!

      • I love when people stop to chat…I wish they would more often but I think that sometimes they think that you are going to beg them to buy something. I just want to yell,”I just want to talk!” lol 🙂

      • Haha…that is so true. This last show, I brought a lino block to work on in the back of the booth. I think people feel better walking in if my head is down. Then, once they are in the booth, I look up and I’ve got them! To, talk…as you say! 🙂

  2. What a gorgeous setting for an art show (jealous)…! So fantastic that you get such wonderful feedback on your beautiful art. I know many artists who attend fairs, and I know how difficult and grueling it can be — long days, set-ups and tear-downs, RAIN (especially here)… So we always end up staying sooooo long at these events, talking with the artists. And it’s always FASCINATING.

    • I agree. There is so much that comes out of these shows, but they can be a lot of work. And, as you say, what I learn from other artists — even tricks for displaying art at a booth — is so helpful!

  3. What beautiful mountains in the background. Think I once saw them in person as a child. Thanks for showing what your shows are like. It’s really 4 years later from when you wrote this post — do you still enjoy doing the shows? About how many do you do a year in 2016? Do you ever go outside of Alberta?

    • I used to do many shows a year for some time, but now I only do a couple a year. I am selling a fair bit online through my website, and while the shows are great fun, I mostly stick close to home for these types of events, as it’s a lot of work to set up out of town. Thanks for reading the blog, Judy!

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