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Show help? - Booth design

Hi Gang, I’m perusing an application for an art show in early summer.
The guidelines state that “Booth design must incorporate freestanding
back and side walls (minimum 7’). Sturdy back and side walls a must.”
This seems to rule out fabric hanging from a cross-beam, doesn’t it?
The frame would be sturdy, but the “wall” itself wouldn’t be.

That has got me stumped! I’ve got my canopy ,which I don’t need
because they apparently provide tents. Has anyone out there developed
an elegant and easily transportable… in a van… solution for this
kind of requirement?

Thanks in advance for any insight!

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hi Dave, you know, Id call the show management people and ask for
clarification. Even though you are under a tent it doesn’t mean you
can’t use your frame or even your whole canopy. I see people doing
it at indoor shows all the time. You could then attach your fabric
or other material to the canopy frame. If the show wants a "sturdy"
wall, what they may be refering to is a more wind resistant canvas
rather than drape like material that could get blown around. This
rule may be enforced in order to make the show look better and
provide a more wind resistant area for the artists, especially if
the management doesn’t provide pipe and drape or a side wall to
thier tent facility. The company who made your canopy may also sell
side walls.


Hi Dave, I think by sturdy back and sides they really mean sturdy as
in “will not fall” over as opposed to hard sided. When I do a show
under a big tent, I use my outdoor tent without the top canopy. It
then becomes like pipe and drape. To break up the white and also to
create a closet I prop a curtain rod catycorner (I have no idea how
to spell that) from one side to the back (imagine a triangular space
behind it) and hang a drape.If you have a canopy without an attached
top it will certainly be acceptable. Most shows will rent you pipe
and drape if you don’t want to be bothered.


I just did my first show and of course, we were given nothing but
the tap ed outline of our booth space. I limped along quite well with
a table and a mirror and a floor lamp! So for my next show, my
husband and I dusted off our old architect hats and designed a
system of removable padded wall board set in a painted 2"x2" wood
frame. The frames are 2 ft x 7ft with a center cross piece and are
in 3 sets of 4 hinged panels. Each frame is grooved inside with the
top groove just a little deeper so that the pane ls can be slipped in
and out. That way you can break everything down and it is easier to
carry if you don’t have access to a dolly on-site. The we ight of the
wallboard seems to steady the panels and they can be adjusted to fit
your booth space as necessary. The cost is not too bad, I think the
most expensive part was the fabric and we just shopped for black
pann e velvet on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

If you are not handy with woodworking, you could shop for sturdy
hinged p anel room dividers. I’ve seen some nice ones at Ikea and
Crate and Barre l.

I wonder if the stipulation that the walls be “sturdy” is a concern
about collapsing and/or providing a visual barrier? If I can find my
design s ketch I can try to scan it and send it along if you like.
Good luck and I would be interested to hear how you solve this one.


Dave, I would call for some clarification. I have never done a show
that required solid walls. Perhaps they mean solid, as in, they
won’t fall over onto your neighbors stuff.

Deb Karash