While we would like to believe that everyone likes the artists we like, this is not always the case. It is always a good idea to research a few things before contractually obligating yourself to working with an artist.
Finding the Right Artist For You: It’s important that you, your steering group and your community feel comfortable with the artist and you need to identify what skills or experience you want or what kind of input you want from an artist. We recommend that you shortlist the Artists before making an enquire after viewing their profile. Select groups of different sizes and Artists you like the look and sound of.
When researching an artist with whom you would like to work, the first place to go is the artist’s website. There is a lot of very useful information on an artist’s website that can be used to help book the artist and even determine the probability of a successful event. Usually artists will post information on their website about album releases, video releases and so on. This information is useful because such releases create a spike in interest in the artist, which can play nicely in your favor and result in a large crowd.
Speak to a number of artists, explain what you’re doing and give an indication of budget, what you want from them and find out if they are interested, available and affordable. From the information you receive, decide which artist you want to engage.
Set the Right Mood: How well suited are the Artists you have chosen to the style and nature of your event? Think carefully about your event and what sort of atmosphere you want to create; smooth and sophisticated or lively and celebratory? Consider the setting and try to visualize the Artists performing at the venue.
The skills and expertise of an artist can help you shape the project or event and plan the detail. These are artists who have chosen to specialize in passing on their skills to others. They often have a great talent for encouraging people, making interesting connections between very different ideas and guiding groups towards devised projects that are exciting, achievable and memorable
You may also want to see how often the artist has been in your area. This will allow you to avoid bringing an artist into an area where they have played a number of times and imaginably glutted the market.
Decide what you want:  A public artist to design a new community play area for children, a digital media artist to develop an oral history project working with older members of the community; a writer to work with a youth group; or a visual artist to lead a drop-in session in a community space where people can try their hand at art and craft skills and contribute ideas for a larger scale project.
Speak to a number of artists, explain what you’re doing and give an indication of budget, what you want from them and find out if they are interested, available and affordable. Send those that are interested an outline of what you are proposing and ask them to let you know how much they would charge, the kind of thing they can offer and to send you some examples of recent work or suggestions from their previous projects. From the information you receive, decide which artist you want to engage.
Once you know you can cover your costs, finalize the dates with the artist and send a letter, in duplicate, confirming the arrangements with them regarding their responsibilities, time commitment, fees and expenses, and your own role and responsibilities. Ask them to sign and return a copy to you.