Art Fair Insiders
Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
There have been bazillions of comments on Howard's shows in FL. Click this link to see a list of comments. Howard is the "big dog" in the Sunshine State from a show-volume standpoint. Howard Alan (NOT "Allen") Events runs fine art shows with booth fees starting approximately at $325-350. They are "juried shows", meaning that you have to apply and be selected by a jury, like most fine art shows. (The exact makeup and nature of HAE's "jury" is a matter of debate in some circles.) His sister organization "American Craft Endeavors" (ACE) does shows with booth fees about $225-$235. These are non-juried shows aimed at the craft market, but if you are a fine artist you may still participate. Although ACE shows are not juried, per se, there is still an application process and there are still requirements for your participation. The HAE website, www.artfestival.com, has separate areas for fine artists and crafters and provides details about all of these things and more. These are the matters of fact. Now, my opinion (based on doing his shows for the last 4-5 years): His shows are generally very well-organized and promoted. Most of them feature 5 AM Saturday morning setups which are not universally popular; however, you can arrive somewhat later if you wish, and many do (again, details are on the website). The early-morning setup is driven, in part, by Howard's preference for show venues in the main street(s) of the towns. He does relatively few FL shows in "controlled environments" (i.e., shopping centers). Howard's staff is generally very professional. They expect you to know what you are doing and to follow their rules (which are numerous). Howard is not committed to providing artist amenities. You'll find no artist awards, booth-sitters, artist breakfasts, free snacks, water, etc. He does work hard to market his shows, and has established a strong presence on the web and particularly in social media. Personally, I like Howard and his team, I find them quite professional, fair, and easy to work with, and the fine-art events, in particular, are reliable money-makers for me. But again, mine is only one opinion, so do read the thread I provided above to get a better flavor of his shows from the AFI community in general.
thanks so much for getting right back to me
@Nancy: Thanks...didn't research HA fee structure but I did say, "starting at...". You are right, a few of his best shows are nudging up to the $500 mark. @Dale: Nancy is right about the "individual show" research paying off. And to some extent your results will depend on the category you are in.
BTW, I would also recommend checking out Patty Narozny and her company, HotWorks LLC. I've had several really good shows with them. They are relatively new in the market, work hard, promote well, and do provide a few more artist-friendly amenities (water, snack, awards, etc.). Their website is www.hotworks.org
I've done a few Howard Alan shows, and I find the staff to be knowledgeable and helpful. Advertising budget is pretty good, in general, so they do draw a crowd. That said, however, I try to shy away from Alan shows, as well as any show that is run by a "promoter." The 5am set-up is terrible. The application process makes me suspicious (you can apply to an Alan show up until a week before the event). There are empty booths at many of the Alan shows I've done, making me think that they will take anyone, just to fill up the place. It is a professionally run company, but they are in it for the money, not necessarily for the art.
I did two Alan shows last year, Hyde Park and Celebration. I did these shows because I decided at the last minute to go to Florida for some shows. all the better shows that I like were past the deadlines, and the Alan shows were the only ones that were still open for applications. I did very poorly at both shows, and I wouldn't do them again. I also did the Las Olas show a couple years ago, and did fairly well at that show. I think Las Olas in Ft. Lauderdale is probably his best show and the only one in the company's portfolio that I would consider doing again (in spite of the 5am set-up).
Many artists like Howard Alan and his company. The best thing about Alan is the ability to form your whole schedule around Alan events and be fairly certain of getting into them.
I like shows run by arts groups and local organizations and that is where I focus my attentions when selecting shows. They tend to be more "artist friendly" and usually help fund worthy causes. they tend to bring more serious buyers, who are there to help support the local group that is running them.
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