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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Art Licensing: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - the amazing AmericasMart campus

This is the first in several articles about the 2014 Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market that sells product to retail stores. The January and July Atlanta Gift Show each year is the largest in the United States and held at the AmericasMart campus in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. It has more than 1400 permanent showrooms and during the shows 2500 temporary booths housed in three buildings (sometimes called four buildings because of the addition to building two). The above picture of the 774 page tome of the buyer's guide attests to how many companies showed their products to buyers. Note: This year the Mart installed free WiFi in all buildings and floors. As you would expect, not all areas had a strong signal and so the speed and connections were sometimes iffy. The Mart also installed an app that could be used with smart phones and tablets for locating exhibitors. I found the app not reliable, slow and difficult to use on my iPad so I finally gave up and instead used the buyers guide.

Artists attending this show get contact information, meet with art/licensing directors to show their art for licensing consideration, and get inspiration by looking at all the products. Because the show is a wholesale trade show for buyers, artists are only allowed to attend if they qualify for the Marts admission policy. Artists can be a guest of a company exhibiting at the show*, a guest of a buyer attending the show, a buyer if the artist owns a business and qualifies as a buyer, as press (some bloggers have been able to quality), or as a rep for several artists. To find out more about qualifying, read "Admission Policies" and "Press Registration / Credentials".

* If an artist has a licensing deal with a manufacturer exhibiting at the show, the manufacturer normally is willing to get the artist a badge to attend the show.

Connecting bridges among the three buildings on certain floors allow show attendees to walk among the buildings without going outdoors. Shown in the photo are the bridges between building 1 and 2.

The AmerciasMart campus is huge. Building One has 23 floors, Building Two has 18 floors, and Building Three has 15 floors. The above schematic of the buildings show what floors the bridges connect to what buildings and a general description of what products are in the showrooms on each floor. Building One has showrooms of home and rug, furniture and linens, home design and d├ęcor, and holiday and floral. Building Two showrooms have gift and home, and outdoor / indoor products. This building has most of the companies that license art. Building Three has showrooms of apparel and jewelry. Temporary exhibiting booths are on certain floors in all three buildings.
The elevators especially in Building Two are used a lot and not the fastest way to go from one floor to another. So many people use the escalators or even the stairs. The above schematic shows the location of the elevators, escalators and showrooms on floor six Building Two. Floor six tends to have the heaviest traffic in Building Two probably because one set of escalators stop at this floor. To go up to the other floors a person needs to walk across to the other side of the building to get to the escalators that go higher. Traversing Building Two and looking for certain showroom numbers are frustrating because of the addition to the building and enlarging floors six, seven, eight, nine and ten. The showroom numbering system is no longer sequential. A person walking down an aisle toward a destination of for example showroom 631 discover that all a sudden the showroom numbers changed from 627 to 685. The only way to find showroom 631 is to look at the floor schematic.

Not all exhibitors license art or products. Some companies have no art on their products, some have the art on them but do not license the art, and some are distributors that represent various manufacturers that may or may not license the art on the products. So if you feel your art is a good fit for the company product line, it means asking if they license art. I was very surprised that many more exhibitors than I expected do license art. And, some were even willing to look at art when I asked for contact information. In situations like that, it is imperative to have your art on an iPad because not all exhibitors have room for a table to spread out a portfolio. With an iPad, art can be flipped through quickly while standing.

Related articles:
Art Licensing Editorial: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - insights on walking the show

Art Licensing Editorial: 2014 Atlanta Gift Show - trends

Your comments are welcome. Click on the comments section (below) to write your comment. Note: Some people have a problem in leaving a comment. The most successful method is to comment as Name/URL (your name and website or blog with a "complete" URL address).


  1. Thanks for the info on navigating the show, Joan. Will look forward to the next installment. Hoping you're fully recovered from all the walking and excitement.

  2. You are welcome Barbara. I'm not fully recovered but getting there. The inspiration from all the "eye candy" was overwhelming!

  3. Thank you for all the insight into this show!

  4. Joan were you there as an agent, or as an artist on some of the manufactured products, or both? I enjoyed this post because it describes well what kind of environment to visualize.

  5. I'm glad that you enjoyed the article Stephie. It is an amazing place! Sometimes confusing and frustrating to navigate but OH seeing all the "eye candy" is so inspiring!!!! I am not an agent. I walked the show as an artist to see, learn, make contacts, etc etc etc.

  6. This is a very informative and complete post. Thank you, it helps since I have been invited to attend the January 2015 show and I am coming from UK so wanted to be prepared.
    I am glad to read that exhibitors seem to be more helpful than at certain show where you don't dare ask because they want to sell!