Second Saturday art events are popular in Sacramento. This is where art galleries are open extra hours and art lovers congregate to view what is new and for sale. There are also some tables outside art galleries where artists are showing their talents.

If you’re an artist … how the heck do you participate in Second Saturday?

The simplest method is to be invited into a gallery to participate.

It also turns out the City of Sacramento has a number of requirements. Typical of a government bureaucracy, Sacramento does not make it easy, inexpensive, or fun to try and participate. There are also no step-by-step instructions on how to be a Second Saturday artist. Welcome to this blog post!

Step 1: The Sacramento Business Operation Tax Account

The City of Sacramento imposes a tax on anyone doing business in the city. The city claims it is not a business license, but it is – just called a tax, or sometimes the city calls it a “fee” that must be paid up front.

The minimum annual tax/fee/license is $31.

Apply for the Business Operation Tax Account here:

You can choose an online application or to download a paper application to send via mail.

As you can see, the $31 tax/fee/license amount is a minimum even if you don’t make that much:


You have to make more than $10,000 before a higher amount has to be paid:


You may ask, I’m an artist. Do I have to pay a business tax?

The answer is Yes. If you are selling you are in business. Even if you’re not making much as an artist, or even selling your artwork at a loss, you’re still subject to this tax.

When your application has been submitted and approved – and you have paid your fee, you will receive a “BOT” number.

[Sometimes] Step 2: The Art Vendor Permit

If you are selling INSIDE a gallery proceed to Step 3.

If you are selling OUTSIDE a building or gallery – such as near a sidewalk – there is another fee.

Paying the fee to obtain a BOT number does not allow you to be an outside art vendor on Second Saturday.

But the BOT fee allows you to pay another fee to obtain an Art Vendor Permit so you can sell on Second Saturday.

Sacramento has an information page about Second Saturday here.

Instead of simply telling you what to do on the web page, the city links to pdf files.

One file, called the “top sheet” when this is written, states:

“Participants wanting to display and/or sell art outside must obtain an Art Vendor permit.”

The word “outside” is what I am keying on.

There is then another form to fill out and another fee to be paid.

The requirements are of course bureaucratic:

– A copy of your driver’s license or state issued ID.

– Your BOT number.

– The BOT number must be obtained at least 14 days before the Second Saturday event.

– Two or more photos of your artwork.

– Signature of the property owner where your art will be displayed. There is an interesting twist here. If you are wanting to display on public property you need to get the signature of the nearest property owner for your application. Yes, you will probably have to pay them to get their signature. Good luck finding out who actually owns property and how to contact them.

– The Art Vendor application must be submitted to the Coloma Community Center Permit Office located at 4623 T Street, Monday thru Thursday between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm. Applications are due one week before each Second Saturday.

– The Art Vendor fee is $25 PER SECOND SATURDAY EVENT.

– No refunds for rain or bad weather.

Step 3: Gallery Fees

Expect to pay a fee and/or commission to a gallery you show at, or the property owner you are obtaining a signature from to set up an outside table.

How to be an Art Vendor for Sacramento Second Saturday
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