So You're Thinking About Hosting a Con...

How to Put on a Beauty and the Beast Convention

updated 2019.2.5

Art Show

Before the con, solicit artwork either for sale or display. Mail your artists an art control sheet. (Use this one if you like, or make your own.) Ensure your contributors mail their items to you well in advance of the con or make arrangements to bring their pieces with them for display. You are responsible for having display space (tables, simple easels, or other display media).

You might try to borrow art display media from local clubs that put on small conventions in your city if you anticipate a lot of hanging art. There are a few white wire racks that have traveled from recent con to recent con that have been used for art display. They are heavy and cost a lot to ship, but if you can drive them home from the con previous to yours, they will save you a lot and be very useful for a variety of displays at your convention.

Each item sent in should be identified by artist, media and whether they have a minimum price for sale. Some folks may want to set up a “quick sale” price AND a minimum bid price. It’s up to them. Here's a sample bid sheet.

Ask for donations of art items. You can keep all the funds for the charity if someone donates their item outright. Generally, though, you will take a percentage of their sale/auction price when you sell/auction an item. This is usually 15%, although some fans have given more (20-25%).

Have enough inventory sheets made up (ask a previous con chair for a file with a template) for each item. The template inventory sheet includes space for bids. In the past, if an item received two bids, it went to auction. Very recently, that’s been changed to 5 or 6 bids, to keep from having very long auctions. Only the most contested-for art thus goes to auction and the auctioneer can start at a higher bid than if only two bids were enough to start an item to auction.

If an item receives one bid (or less than the 5 or 6 necessary to move the item into the art auction), the winning bidder should come to the art room after it closes to pay for it and take it with him/her.

Try to close the space where you hold the art display early so those in charge of the art auction have time to remove the items and place them near the stage. Also, try to request that winning bidders pay for and remove the remaining art before closing ceremonies. It cuts down on your last-minute running around if all you have left after closing is to pack and cart away your unsold merchandise, art and decorations.

In recent years, some con chairs have set out items for Silent Auction, utilizing the same type of bidding sheets used for the pieces displayed in the art area. This is where more significant pieces of memorabilia or crafted items – either fan-owned or con-owned – are placed for bidding rather than straight sale (as opposed to con-owned items of such significance they are designated for the Charity Auction straightaway).

The “rules” for Silent Auction bidding generally are the same as for art pieces, with anything getting more than 5 or 6 bids going into the Art Auction (or Charity Auction, if the item is con-owned). Make sure you have enough table space to lay Silent Auction items out if you choose to include this type of auction process, and enough Silent auction bid sheets (and pencils for bidding!).

At the end of the convention, your helpers need to ensure that all bid-upon items are moved somewhere for pick-up and that unsold items are boxed up for transfer to the next con chair, and that all display units are dismantled to be given to the next con chair.