Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
2 years ago I could consistently make $2500 - $5000 each weekend without much effort.
The last year's sales would max out at about $2500.
So far this year, with a new display, large mailing list and reading numerous
books on 'closing the sale', I have to really work to get $1500 to $2500
a show. (gross, not net)
It's my commission work that has kept me alive. Without it I would be in
pretty bad shape... possibly considering leaving the art world for a while.
I don't see the economy turning around for another few years, and even then
sales will require excellent selling skills and having very unique and appealing
work that sets you apart from the crowd.
I have a feeling that I will be able to make it, but it will be a steep uphill climb.
It is a good question to ask Connie, but I don't think it is THE question to ask. I think what many of the posts on your site have been about are on the right track: how to get the shows, and promoters, to pay attention to what they are doing and do everything possible, and get it right, to make shows work. They used to work. Are we now going to throw up our hands and concede ourselves that it is ALL the Economy? Not me.
This is not the first downturn artist have experienced. Many talk about back in the 80's, also in the 90's. Would be helpful to have many of the veterans voice their experiences here. Unless each time this happened artist bailed in big numbers, it should be able to be survived. But not if shows and promoters don't do what THEY need to do. Again, they are making all the decisions about the shows. If they don't do it right, nothing else much matters because we, as artists, have so little input. We pay and show up. Not many ask our opinions, advice, insight, experience, etc. etc. etc.
Also, if this turns into a part-time, hobbyist type field, how will the quality be maintained? Most of the long-term artists are good artists, don't you think Connie? Who is going to replace them, in body of work, powerful works, works the public likes? I think quality is likely to sink like a rock if veteran artists bail. And as quality and diversity goes down, won't buyers go away? How do you stop that? And if that happens, will that not be the death of the shows, like positively the death of shows?
Besides, what are artists in the late 40's on up going to do if these shows no longer work out? Throw out some ideas here. What are they qualified to do? Their resume is fairly limited in scope, regardless of how good they are. And can they then find a job that pays all their expenses (including health) locally, where they live? Are now do they have to relocate somewhere? Can they sell their house to get there? It's that onion-thing: layer-upon-layer of problems.
That's among the more important reasons why, to me, the shows have to do everything possible to make their events work, keep them strong but more importantly, grow them.
That's my 2-cents worth. Thanks for asking!