Big Art Fair

Are you ready? You need to be a Member to take part.

Friday 16th to Sunday 18th July 2021: Our Big Art Fair (BAF) at Hitchin Town Hall has become an event which members and visitors look forward to every year. This year will be no different.

Artists who are full Members for 2021/22 may apply to be part of our Big Art Fair 2021. Non-members can simply join as Members in order to take part. Some timescales and other arrangements are dictated because of COVID restrictions and we await government timetable confirmation. There may yet be changes that are outside our control.

Further details, including registration, BAF Terms and Conditions and other guidelines/support are here on the website. 

There will be plenty of help in the sidebars (desktop) or at the end of this page (mobile phone). Check out the extra Big Art Fair pages and explainer videos as soon as they become available here and in the Members-only pages. 


What is it?

Our very popular Big Art Fair is back for 2021, right in the middle of the Hitchin Festival.

From 16th-18th July our Big Art Fair will be live at Hitchin Town Hall: it's your opportunity to get your work in front of a wide Hertfordshire (and beyond) audience and develop your skills. Imagine a beautiful large hall, full of tables/displays of gorgeous, individual, high-quality hand-crafted objects ...

We are able to offer 2mx2m white screens or 2m tables and there will be 2 registration stages:

Stage 1: Initial registration/experssion of interest is a commitment to take part. The Call for Artists is going out at the end of May - we recommend early registration because BAF is very popular and there is likely to be a waiting list.

Stage 2: Successful registrants will need to promptly pay/confirm their places via our website from a date to be confirmed in June 2021.

Friday 16th July 7.00-9.00pm: In-person Preview Night with Sponsors Choice awards and an opportunity to mingle and enjoy great company as well as the extraordinary art that we know will be on show. It's a relaxed sociable evening. Browse Big Art Fair tables and displays, talk to artists and other visitors, hear from our Sponsors, see who is awarded Sponsors Choice certificates. Participating Artists receive 2 tickets FOC, all others, tickets £2 at the door. 

Saturday/Sunday 17th-18th July: Big Art Fair is open to the public, free entry during opening hours Saturday 10-5.30, Sunday 10-4pm.

The in-person #BigArtFair has space for 44 Artists displaying work on 2mx2m professional white screens, plus around 12 artists (subject to COVID requirements) on 2m tables around the hall. Visitors can expect a wide-ranging, exciting and enticing array of work: textiles, ceramics, jewellery, sculpture, glass, mixed media, paintings, printing, photography and more.

In addition, participating artists will be able to take part in Big Art Fair Online, displaying 3 pieces (that must also be on show in the Town Hall). 

Of course, a bonus of being both in-person and online is that it is accessible to a far wider audience who can ‘travel’ and ‘visit’ from the comfort of their own home, at whatever time suits them.

We're taking full advantage of our website and strong social media presence for this event. It's a fantastic celebration of our artists and artisan-makers across Hertfordshire as they share their work - a great experience for our visitors and artists alike.

Members: everything you need will be here and in your Account when registration opens. Once registered, you will also receive exclusive support emails. 

Non-members: it's simple to become a member of Herts Visual Arts, then you can be part this event and take advantage of all our other benefits too. What are you waiting for?

How much does it cost?

  • 2mx2m professional white screen provided for you to hang your own work: £75 (44 available)
  • 2m table plus chair provided for you (you provide table cover): £75 (around 12 to be confirmed, COVID regulations dependent)
  • All artists - artist-supplied card basket (we may need to specify maximum dimensions/number of cards): +£5
  • All artists - artist-supplied browser (we may need to specify maximum dimensions/ number of prints): +£5
  • Table artists: we can supply an optional 6ftx2ft gridwall: +£5

There is no commission on sales, however, if you sell, you may like to consider donating a % to support HVAF and our events (Donate button available on most pages).

What is included in my entry fee?

  • Screen or table space at the Big Art Fair
  • Use of screens/table and options as specified at Registration
  • Sales handling at the sales desk (credit card payments subject to credit card handling fee)
  • Bubble wrap/tape and/or bags/carrier bags
  • 2 tickets to the PV (additional tickets at small additional fee)
  • Entry into the ‘Visitors Vote’ over the weekend (certificate as a prize)
  • Inclusion in the Sponsors Choice awards decided by our sponsors at the PV (certificate as prize)
  • Payment for sold work during August, direct to your nominated bank account
  • Big Art Fair Online featuring 3 pieces available at Hitchin Town Hall
  • Entry in Big Art Fair flipbook/video
  • Downloadable promotional materials for your personal use
  • Support sessions before the Big Art Fair
  • Targeted press and social media promotion and coverage.

Why take part?

You will be part of our fabulous Big Art Fair, and in addition, HVAF is again delivering on our community values, so you will also benefit from:

Wider visibility/engagement: great exposure comes from the many visitors to the Big Art Fair itself. Alongside increased website and social media visits/activity, this is putting you/your work in front of more potential art lovers and customers.

Increased fellowship and connections: collaborate, support and celebrate. Event feedback clearly shows the benefit of reviewing/presenting art/practice and getting to know fellow artists.

Support on your journey, including Digital Skills: Being part of an Art Fair, selecting and displaying your work, keeping your Gallery content fresh, social media and events are all stepping stones on our respective journeys.

The main strands:

  • In-person Big Art Fair open to the public at Hitchin Town Hall during the Hitchin Festival
  • Big Art Fair Online on our Website (up to 3 pieces that are on show in Hitchin): for an example format, view our explainer videos
  • Big Art Fair flipbook and video, live Social Wall
  • Dates TBD: Targeted promotion and social media presence 
  • 16th July: Preview Night (remember to invite family, friends, customers)
  • 17th-18th July: Big Art Fair live.

Plus behind the scenes:

  • Website extensions to deliver the event
  • Weekly Insider Newsletters for registered participants
  • Downloadable promotional materials
  • Video explainers: how to register/upload content
  • Two support sessions: dates TBD (online content, preparing for Hitchin and more)
  • Professional advertising: pre-event Call for Artists plus event promotion.

What do you need to do?

Focus on what you create, start thinking about what you will bring to the #BigArtFair and how you can describe it. What would you display and how will you set it out? Who are your customers and what do they want to see?

  • Register to take part (see dates below)
  • Prepare your exhibition entries (image, title, description, price)
  • Make your Gallery even more beautiful, add video if you haven't already, make sure there's contact information
  • Submit up to 3 pieces (from your Hitchin selection) for BAF Online during the upload window, before the flipbook deadline
  • Join in with our support sessions
  • Throughout June/July: share content online if you can, use the hashtag #BigArtFair
  • Promote the event, your participation, your work, use our branded graphics
  • Invite friends, family, customers to the Preview Night
  • Join in
  • Keep up to date by opening and reading weekly Big Art Fair Fair Insider newsletters.

How do you get on the Social Wall? 

  • Post on your own Twitter or Instagram account using #HertsVisualArts throughout the year, #BigArtFair during July.
  • Software magic then adds your post to the Wall.

Don't do social media?

As long as you sign up/upload content by the various deadlines, you can come to our support sessions and be part of our Big Art Fair, the associated BAF Online exhibition, Preview Night and in-person art fair.

What else?

  • Please pay attention to these very important dates, and prepare what you need in advance: watch explainer videos, read the guidelines.
  • Please use our branded graphics and remember to tell your family, friends, customers and other audiences all about it 

(Please Note: these may change/be adjusted as we finalise the program).

Key Dates

  • May 2021: Press Release 
  • May 28th: Members Call for Artists plus county-wide call begins
  • May 28th: Pre-registration opens (no fee at this stage)
  • June 16th: Big Art Fair Insider News 1
  • June 16th: Second Call for Artists sent to members (not yet registered for BAF)
  • June 18th: Fee payment and content/image upload (for BAF Online) opens (BAF registered then invited members only)
  • June 22nd (Tuesday 3pm): Support session 1 (BAF registered members only) on BAF discussions, set-up and more (Zoom link in Insider News)
  • 30th June 2021: Switch social wall hashtag to #BigArtFair during the day
  • July 1st: Registration for the Hitchin Town Hall Preview Night opens via Eventbrite
  • July 2nd: #BigArtFair will become live on our Social Wall 
  • July 8th (Thursday 7pm): Support session 2 (BAF registered members only) on set-up/take-down, Preview Night and more
  • July 9th (Friday 8am): BAF Online entries close to allow time for flipbook/video/exhibition preparation. Please do not leave it to the last minute. Members who register after this deadline won't be the flipbook, video, BAF Online but can take part in everything else.
  • July 9th: BAF Online opens, social media hashtag #BigArtFair, HVAF Instagram event support
  • July 10th: Herts Visual Arts have created flipbooks, video, upload to website, YouTube
  • July 10th: Finalise BAF Online on website
  • July 10th: Final registration is lcosed, exhibition is fully booked
  • Friday 16th July: Artists pay for any options using a payment card at the hall, and set up their own space, with times TBC, to be ready for the Preview Night
  • Friday 16th July 7.00-9.00pm: Preview Night - everyone welcome £2 on the door (BAF artist+guest FOC)
  • Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th July: Big Art Fair open to the public
  • Sunday 18th July: 4pm Exhibition closes, brief closing address then Artists clear the hall completely by 5.30pm.
  • Date TBC: switch social media wall hashtag back to #hertsvisualarts.


In 2017 we held our very first Big Art Fair in Hitchin, during the Hitchin Festival, each year growing stronger and stronger. With the gradual lifting of COVID restrictions, we plan to hold this vibrant weekend-long in-person affair on Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th July with a Preview Night on 16th July. It will bring a positive focus to artists, their art/skills and the visiting public alike after more than a year of formal health-related restrictions.

Throughout a July Big Art Fair window, Big Art Fair Online (on this website) will also showcase creativity through an exhibition, gallery tour, videos, flipbook/video and social media live. Participating artists will be using the hashtag #BigArtFair, collated onto our social media wall. A Preview Night in Hitchin on Friday 16th July will kick off our extraordinary weekend. Saturday/Sunday 17th/18th July the Big Art Fair will be open to the public and we expect it will continue to be very popular.

Artists who want to take part, but are not yet members, can easily join Herts Visual Arts. They can then take full advantage of all member benefits, including networking, exhibiting at events and sharing on-line galleries. Membership for 2021/2022 is now open.

To hear more about our year in art, why not sign up to our newsletter (further down the page)?

‘More creativity, more fun, more buzz, more laughter in our lives’


The following images show the Big Art Fair in previous years ... the layout this year is expected to be different ...