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Pop Up Art Carts FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about Pop Up Art Carts

What is a “Pop Up Art Cart”?  Art Carts are handmade, easily-transportable carts built by local artists and hosted by the Art Lab of Fort Collins in Old Town Square on selected dates each year. Carts are self-managed and self run, like little mini businesses, but often work well in similar groups.

How do I get involved? Fill out an application online. Once your app is approved you will receive an email from the Art Lab Coordinator . From there, it’s up to you! Get started building a cart, creating and pricing inventory and then sign up for your Time Slot on our SignUp Genius.

How do I select the dates and times I go out to the Square? We have a SignUp Genius for that! Dates for cartists are released 2 months in advance. Simply enter your Cart/Business name and your contact information, select a spot, and you’re good to go! You just have to show up in the Square sometime during that time frame and you’re set to sell!

What if I need to change my time slot? Login in to the SignUp Genius as you did before and edit your time slot if you cannot make a day or have any last minute changes, this notifies others in the group that the spot is open, so we can make sure we can accommodate everyone! It’s also a good idea if you can’t make it, instead of emailing the Coordinator, to post this information on the Pop Up Art Carts Group on Facebook, that way, other members can see it and grab that spot! A minimum 24 hours notice is preferred. Things do come up, but cartists who maintain their spots will be given priority spacing/visibility for rallies and future events, to prevent cartists from dropping every weekend. Cartists that frequently drop their spots on the weekend or are no shows may be removed from the program to accomodate new arrivals. 

Can I bring my family! Yes! The more the merrier! There are often kids playing in the Square weekends, other events, lots to do and it always helps to have an extra set of hands.
Where can I put my cart in the Square? Please see the map and photos below.  Areas marked in Red are walkways or Fire Hazards and carts may not be present in them. Areas marked in green are fine for carts, these may change throughout the season due to adjacent events. The area in yellow is reserved during special events (dates to be released) and carts may not be in those areas, but may park around them during concerts in the Square. Theses dates are primarily Thursday nights and Saturdays, when there are concerts on the Stage.  You may click and download this map for your records! 

Old Town Square Map

What about lighting? Can I light my cart? Yes! Especially Thursday and Friday evenings, adding a touch of lights to your cart can keep you out longer and making more sales, and your cart will match all the decorations in the Square! Dollar Tree sells battery operated christmas lights, and they are also available at Walmart and Amazon to name a few places, but your cart is your own, so get creative!

July Meeting Update: 

Next meetup will be announced soon! Thanks everyone who came out to our July Meetup! Below is a summary of topics discussed at the meeting: 

1) Signs are in! Make sure to grab your sign from Toolbox Creative, and also, if your cart goes out anywhere else in town, bring your sign and some Pop Up Art Carts cards with you and be sure to tell folks we’re out in Old Town Square every Sunday! The more our signs and carts are seen around, the more folks know about us!

2) Stay tuned for 12 Pop Up Art Carts Features! A list of our best sellers and the original cartists, with custom social media cards you can replicate for yourself in and their social media links. Follow them on social media to get some ideas of how they are doing. It was also recommended you find someone online who sells in your market, and learn how to market yourself by emulating their use of social media. 

*Pro-tip: Having an Etsy account is sometimes easier than having a full-fledged website and gives you a nice, visually appealing product shopping cart, and also helps with SEO. Sales on Etsy are tricky, but the most successful users link their store via links to their Instagram accounts for one-touch shopping! 

3) When people ask about joining Pop Up Art Carts, refer them to the application at for them to signup. We MUST have an application for each cart. Even if folks are combining carts, each individual business should have an application. The Art Lab Coordinator can then reach out to each prospective cartist immediately

4) There IS a holiday Art Carts Showcase! It is at the Art Lab on November 25th and 26th. All the Cartists will be invited to participate and hang their art and sell their handmades! Now is a good time to start putting together inventory!
Christmas and Holiday themed items may be sold alongside artists’ regular inventory. 

*Pro-tip: Folks from out of town absolutely LOVE Colorado-themed trinkets, as well as items featuring the mountains, horsetooh, midwestern living. These items tend to sell well on the Square, as it attracts many tourists. Leave your customers with a sense of identity by adding these items to your cart!

5) Pop Up Art Carts on Social Media: Our hashtags are: #PopUpArtCarts #BuyLocalArt #ArtLabFC #OldTownSquare (this will be automatically geographically indexed by Facebook and Instagram) #ArtintheSquare things like that, and then you can follow up with more specific things that you are selling. Such as #prints #handmadepottery, etc.  

Day of things to keep in mind: Tips & Tricks from the Cartists themselves!

  • Unload carts in Trimble Alley – Much easier!

  • Bring Some Cash – Sales tend to be about half and half cash to credit card, and you’ll want to have change!

  • Think about including tax in cash sales so you don’t carry change.

  • Price things so people know a range – you don’t have to price everything, but folks need an understanding of what things will cost.

  • Square payment app works with cell service if you don’t have wifi. And there is an option for “Offline Payments”. Also make sure to add sales tax when you set up your Square Account! Most Cartists use this method.

  • Get the Square Reader that swipes chips or you will pay extra for chip cards.

  • Bring sunscreen, a hat, a chair, water bottles- It’s warm and sunny out in beautiful Fort Collins most days, so be prepared! 

  • Cinderblock and zip ties, as well as a screwdriver, have been found to be handy in the Square for windy days! 

PLEASE READ-TAX INFO: You DO have to submit taxes on your sales in the Square for each date, or monthly reporting or you can be fined by the city!

  • Submit your sales tax monthly, quarterly or yearly dependent on your volume. You DO have to submit a Zero return or you will get fined.

  • You need to have a City and State sales tax forms to sell. County is included in the state.

  • You can do a temporary City sales tax form if you aren’t ready to commit to a full business license. Available at links above. 
    – For a full list of Larimer County Sales Tax forms and rules, see here:

  • Please submit your PUAC Sales Report every time, please! This way we can keep track of and make improvements to our sales strategies.

  • Upcoming Events

    • November 19, 2017 9:00 amMatt McHugh Tear Down
    • November 19, 2017 2:00 pmFractal Tribe Acro Yoga
    • November 20, 2017 3:00 pmCompass X
    • November 21, 2017 6:30 pmImprov Jam
    AEC v1.0.4