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ATC Elk Grove

Artist Trading Cards in Elk Grove, CA

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is ATC Elk Grove?

ATC Elk Grove is focused on spreading the awareness and joy of trading art on little cards. This is done by hosting online swaps with artists of any skill level across the world and by holding in-person events at local meet-ups.  The purpose of conducting these ATC swaps is to connect artists with each other. This platform will allow them an opportunity to create individual pieces of arts that expresses their own creativity. 


What is an Artist Trading Card (ATC)?

Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs for short, are trading cards made from any medium. They are self-made works of art, signed, and dated by the artist. They are traded and collected by artists across the world. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5" x 3.5". Most ATCs are stored in plastic card sleeves; therefore, the card should be sturdy (not flimsy paper) and able to fit in the sleeve.

How did Artists Trading Cards start?

According to Wikipedia and several other online sources, the movement originated in 1997 by the Swiss artist M. Vanci Stirnemann. Stirnemann made 1,200 cards and ran an exhibition. At the end of the exhibition he held a trading session.


Why should I make an Artist Trading Card?

There are many reasons to make art. Making ATCs is about the social connection to other artists. It is also a way for you to explore new mediums and art techniques. They are fun to collect and reflect upon. It's a great way for an emerging artist to establish their name and build their fanbase. 

What is an organized ATC swap?

An organized swap is a group swap organized by a swap host. Artists volunteer to participate. All participants follow the swap theme or rules and mail the cards by a deadline to the swap host. Typically participants are asked to provide a return mailing label and postage. The swap organizer mixes up all the cards randomly and sends them out to each participate. 

What are the Rules for the 2024 Instagram ATC Swaps?

  • Mail three (3) cards for that month's theme, to arrive by the 20th of each month. 

  • Supply a return address label and two (2) US Forever stamps. 

  • Label back of cards with name, date, and Instagram account.

  • ATCs should follow the basic rules - size 2.5" x 3.5" and must be able to fit in a plastic card sleeve. 

  • Participate as much or as little as you like. You are welcome to send in more than one set of cards each month.

  • We foster the continual growth of artistic expression. In the spirit of building community, we encourage participants to be welcoming of the various styles and skill level of cards traded with them. 

  • Due to the subjective nature of art, you never know what you are going to get in return.  That is what makes online swapping exciting! 

2024 Instagram ATC Swap Themes:

  • January: Pantone Parade. Pick a color and create three cards that reflect that one color.

  • February: Travel Itinerary. Create cards that represent travel, adventure, or places of interest.

  • March: Potluck. No theme month. Have fun and be creative. Plus a bonus scrap trade.

  • April: Mystical Fairy Forest. Mystical fantasy creatures and/or nature.

  • May: Artist Tribute. Create cards paying homage to your favorite artist or art movement.

  • June: Potluck. No theme month. Have fun and be creative. Plus a bonus scrap trade.

  • July: Going for the Gold. Create cards that represent the spirit of the 2024 Summer Olympics.

  • August: Animalia. Explore the animal kingdom or let a species influence your creation.

  • September: Potluck. No theme month. Have fun and be creative. Plus a bonus scrap trade.

  • October: Monster Mayhem. Need we say more?

  • November: Breakfast Menu. Some say it's the most important meal of the day. 

  • December: Potluck. No theme month. Have fun and be creative. Plus a bonus scrap trade.

Where do I mail the ATCs for the online swaps?

Please mail to: Carolyn Baptista, ATC Elk Grove, PO Box 581256, Elk Grove CA 95758. 

Who can participate in a swap event?

Anyone can participate. 

What is the best way to mail the cards?

It all depends upon the quantity of cards being mailed. Some mail their cards in plastic trading card sleeves while others mail them sandwiched between cardstock. Overall, secure the cards so that they do not move around in the envelope or that the envelope does not bend easily. The goal is to avoid any bent corners on the cards. Many use the 4" x 9.5" business size envelope to avoid stacking and bulk. Typically it only requires one US Forever Stamp. If the package is bulky, it may require additional ounce stamps or two Forever Stamps. 

What type of art is not allowed in an ATC swap?

ATC Elk Grove will not accept any ATCs that touch on the dignity of any individual, religion, politics, race, tradition, or country. No profanity or sexual content.

Are there other ATC swaps online?

Yes! ATC's are international. You can see artwork/accounts by following tags on Instagram and viewing websites such as Common IG tags are: #atcswap, #artisttradingcards, #artisttradingcard, #atc. We encourage you to follow other swaps and accounts to participate in their trades and gain inspiration for your artwork. Feel free to message us if you want specific names of other swaps we are aware of. 


What is an in-person ATC swap event?

ATC Elk Grove will host in-person ATC swap events throughout the year at a local business or public setting. Information for each event will be posted on Instagram. 

Who manages ATC Elk Grove?

ATC Elk Grove is curated by two art enthusiasts, Carolyn and Brian, who both live in Elk Grove, CA. 

IG Accounts: @b2symmetrychaos and @freelittleartgalleryelkgrove

I have more questions; how do I contact you?

Send a DM through Instagram (@atcelkgrove) or email

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