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I received a post card for the Spring Arts Festival in Gainesville, FL. The dates ... April 7-8, 2017. It has some association with Santa Fe College. It is a 49 year old show. I am wondering if this a good show financially. Do they bring in a shopping audience?

It is a 9+ hour drive for us so it would be a big investment of time, gas lodging for having to go down a day early and possibly stay over.

Another concern is Florida's recovery after the hurricane. Not living in Florida, we have not heard how it's going.

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I did this show last year for the 1st time. It was a fantastic show for me. Set up was fairly easy Friday night before they had a nice dinner on Sat at the awards presentation. Take down wasn't to bad either. Now as with any show not everyone has the same experience. The traditional oil painter next to me I don't think sold anything. 

Check the listing of artists, by medium, on the show’s website. The show was overloaded with jewelry, IMHO. The awards are generous, and some high-quality artists do the show. But, I don’t think that it’s wise to travel far for that show.

The distance is quite a bit for us. We have not traveled that far for a show, just for a show. We are traveling about 6 hours this weekend for a show. However we have my dsil & dfil in the area and we are staying with them. Dsil is working our booth with us on Saturday ... we are giving her a little space in our booth to sell some of her handcrafted items.

I am just nervous about going that far and not having something else to draw us to Gainesville.

I also got the postcard. I may give it a try.

Don’t travel far for it.

You've done it? Let us know before we do!

Considering it's about a 9 hour trip and we are currently lining up several within a 3 hour drive, I say Gainesville won't make the cut for this spring.

Gainesville should make the cut if you are in the area the week before and the week after it. I'll explain about that after I first state that one of our biggest customers and fans turned friends lives there and first saw us and our work at Santa Fe College Spring Arts Festival. We didn't do well at the show and really didn't understand the reason anyone would want to be in the show, except they had huge prize money to win.

Well, the first time we did the show (10 years ago or more?) was the first time I came into contact with a certain judge whose system kept us out of the money that time and every time he's been involved with judging since. His speech during that awards dinner about judging and what he knows about art and everything nearly got me out of my seat exclaiming a very loud rebuttal. He said he knows the artists who have paid their dues, and thus rewards them accordingly. But I sorta kept my composure and blurted something unrecognizable and then managed to play it off as a choke on my food. Good food, I might add. Better food than the usual, I might add.

But in the next fall, we were 45 minutes south of Gainesville doing  Fine Arts for Ocala show when in our booth walked a couple who said they met us in Spring Arts 6 months ago, and that they wanted to buy a certain painting--for which we were asking $6,000.

So what I mean to say about doing the show if you are close by on consecutive weekends is, it's always great to have every weekend full when touring. And because I established a career in outdoor art fairs by touring rather than sneaking out for the weekend and then immediately scurrying back home, I discovered places and customers I never would have discovered. We always scheduled tours for the most part rather than doing just one show at a time. Heck, we're in Wyoming and there's not anything happening here most of the year, and what does happen here when it does doesn't hold a candle to what's happening in Florida and the South East US.

Now I know I'm offering something way different than most at these outdoor fairs. My experience is based upon that, too. And so often I've been asked by patrons and artists why the heck I'm doing smaller shows? It's because I learned about beating the bushes in small and out of the way places by taking a chance on it. Not that Gainesville fits the small and out of the way description. It certainly doesn't. But in the mix of things, Gainesville never was a direct financial success for us. It became one of our favorite places, though.

We miss not getting to be there anymore. We miss Lennie Kesl who died in 2012. We miss our patrons/friends who still live there and collect our work, but we see them from time to time elsewhere now. We miss the thrift stores, food, Red Roof Inn which is the hotel we base all others upon. And we miss the possibilities Gainesville provides.

So, now that I've mentioned we loved finding out of the way shows and places, what about the show in Pendleton, SC happening the same weekend as Santa Fe Spring Arts? I used to consider doing the SC show, but just never took the plunge.

Good luck with your shows! WOOHOO!


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