Trade Show Display help


Grumbler in Training
Dec 10, 2004
I’m looking for suggestions on how to best display framed artwork at trade shows. I have the tent about 10X10 ft. But, I need a method to hang the art along three sides (the front being open) and a display section about 6 feet down the middle with art hanging on both sides. A portable art gallery.

I’ve done a quick Internet search but haven’t found anything useful. Any help would be appreciated. The home improvement shows are coming up in my area and I would like to have a display.

The standard in the art show world is Propanels ( They are not inexpensive but they don't weigh much, are incredibly sturdy, quick to set up, and look very professional. I have a complete set of the knockdown version that I use at the indoor craft fairs that we have here. Lighter pieces are hung on curtain hooks into the carpet while I use the metal strap hangers for heavy pieces.

An excellent resource to look at is Larry Berman's website where he has a resource directory of sources and suppliers for equipment and materials for artists who make a living doing art shows. You'll find several other panel systems listed there.

I do 2-3 shows per year, and while I don't take artwork to many of them, I do look at a lot of booths that have artwork. There are a variety of types of displays. I've seen the pro-panels, and I've seen wire grid displays. One man I know built his own, and one show I did they provided pegboard displays that were great.

Go to (The Crafts Report magazine) you'll find lots of info on booth design, lighting, displays, etc. But you'll especially find info on the "business" of doing shows like this.

For us, it's one of the things that keeps us in the "public eye" and is very important to our form of business.

There are lots of professional display companies around (LOTS!). Because you mentioned a tent, one would assume this is for outdoor shows, so you can immediately elimate many of these, as their displays are manufactured for indoor trade shows...

Before you invest in a display, you might want to venture out looking at what other people use at the types of shows at which you're intending to display and sell. Systems look and work differently - each has its advantages and disadvantages. Panels systems (like "Pro Panels") look pretty nice, but tend to be costlier, can catch the wind (look out!), and need to be taken better care of to keep their neat appearance. Metal (aluminum) mesh panels tend to be lighter, a bit cheaper, and easier to care for; they allow light (and wind) to pass through, but are, generally, not as "slick" looking. Anyways ...

Aside from the usual inexpensive metal grids (which do work), there are many alternatives. Pro Panels have already been mentioned. A few of the myriad others are:

- Armstrong Products (
- Graphic Display Systems (1-800-848-3020)
- Flourish (

I suspect your "quick internet search" was a bit too brief. Keep looking - as I said, there are lots (lots!) of these companies out there!

Good luck.
Now - remember where this suggestion is coming from . . . red-neck rural central Penna.

A lot of artists and craft-persons that do outdoor shows around here will use a tent (similar to yours) and wrap the three sides w/ chicken wire. Sure, it's cheap, but it does the job. If your shows are more up-scale, then I would opt for the displays that printmaker mentioned.