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2024 Novel Ideas Art Book Fair Open Call

Deadline: May 1, 2024, 11:59pm

Fair dates and times:
Friday August 2, 2024,  5pm-9pm
Saturday August 3, 2024,  12pm-4pm

Applications accepted March 25, 2024-May 1, 2024
Notification by May 20, 2024

Number of exhibitors selected 30-40

The Contemporary at Blue Star is pleased to announce the return of the Novel Ideas Art Book Fair. Established in 2020 Novel Ideas is aimed at highlighting and connecting the amazing artists in our region and beyond who utilize books and print based materials as their medium and share their work. Also included are publishers and presses producing artists’ books, monographs and related publications.  Novel Ideas features artists’ books, monographs, zines, printed ephemera, and more.

The fair will happen in the Contemporary’s newly renovated education studio, right next-door to our exhibition galleries.

Not sure if you should apply? Check out our 2020 and 2023 exhibitor lists. (2021 and 2022 COVID programming pause).

Application details
-There are no application or participation fees.
-You will complete a typeform application which includes a short description of what your booth would feature and what do you hope to get out of participating in the fair, a link to your website, and the name for the primary person of contact, phone number, email address, and mailing address.
-You will select the type of exhibitor you are: artist, non-profit, small press, publishing house, distributor, book dealer, institution, magazine, zine, other.


Are there any fees for exhibitors?

Will the Contemporary at Blue Star take a percentage of my sales?

How many people will attend this event?
This event coincides with Southtown’s First -Friday art walk. Our First Friday attendance over a three hour period ranges from 600-900. On peak nights over 1,000 participants visit our space

Is there an admission fee for the public?

How many exhibitors will be selected?
Between 30 and 40 exhibitors will participate.

Do exhibitors get wall space to hang prints, merchandise, signage, etc.?
Yes. With the exhibitor space happening in our education studio rather than the gallery, wall space is available to exhibitors.

Are out of state and international exhibitors applications accepted?

Is there additional support for exhibitors in the form of grants?
No. We hope to offset exhibitor costs by having no fees. Out of town exhibitors are responsible for their own travel and accommodations and the shipment of their product.

How much money do you estimate I will make?
In the previous two fairs exhibitors income ranged from $50-$500. We recommend making transactions as seamless as possible, with clear, visible pricing, and creating narratives for sharing your work in a bustling environment. Having work and items at a range of price points also helps to connect with a broad range of collectors and enthusiasts.

Does the Contemporary process sales?
No. Exhibitors are responsible for processing their sales.

What is the audience make up of the fair and participants of Contemporary programs?
On First Friday’s our audience is a range of artists, arts supporters, youth, families, and first time visitors to any art space. There will be between 600-900 visitors this night and a chance to engage in a lot of conversation. Saturday day time visitors tend to be more relaxed, take their time, have longer conversations with exhibitors about their work, and collectors of rare books. USTA and UT Austin special collections acquisitions staff have also attended the fair as well as curators from our local peer institutions. We make direct outreach to community members who have interests in artists’ books and encourage their attendance.

More questions? Email

What is an artist’s book and how is it different from your average book?
Artists’ books often expand the conventional definition of what the book format is, from unbound pages to sculptural unique objects, these artworks focus on intimate viewing, accessibility, and playing with linear, sequence, and formatting properties of books.

Artists’ books can be the artwork itself or focused on circulating less accessible work more widely.

Artists’ books can utilize special materials like hand made paper.

Artists making artists’ books can come from a variety of artistic practices and traditions– from books arts, to printmaking, to photography, and more. The mediums of photography and printmaking have historically utilized the format of artist books to circulate their work more widely. For photographers, artists’ books have allowed full bodies for work such as photo essays to be experience in their entirety.

Artist books present a unique opportunity for collaboration. We often find visual artists collaborating with poets, prose, and fiction writers in their books.

Printmakers often make collective portfolio projects together around a single topic of theme, with each printmaker submitting a print. These portfolios sometimes take the form of an artist’s book.

Artists create books in established formats, like comics or political zines, to present their work outside of the context of visual art, like galleries and museums, broadened the conversations and audiences for their work. This can also mean

Less of an artist’s book but equally important to artists, are monographic books of their work and utilizing books to document an exhibition or significant project.


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