Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
First time at this show this past weekend (May 31-June 1). My category: photography-landscapes.
A review? phhhttttt --No--A novel: by Dale (Yak) Yakaites (I'm watching my Brewers get beat by the Twins and I have plenty of time. :-)
The Racine and Kenosha, Wisconsin, areas have had some tough times in recent years in terms of businesses closing and a bigger than normal downturn in the economy. Racine is a little rough around the edges, and I didn't know what to expect giving this show a try. As it turns out, I have nothing but positives to say about the show—at least that was my experience.
Monument Square is in the downtown business area about three blocks off Lk. Michigan. This not a big show (80 booths), but the quality of art being shown was quite good. From what I understand this show had fallen on some hard times a few years ago after about 50 yrs. in existence. The previous promoters lost access to the Square to another venue, but it returned with new organization to the Square last year after a year or two near the lakefront.
Organization and artist emails, contact info, etc.–excellent Check in easy. Friendly people!Plenty of volunteers on hand making sure things were going well for artists. Free coffee and bakery available each morning both days. Artist lounge available (artists only) both days. Dinner on Saturday night. Did not attend..Volunteers for booth sitters by sign-up---excellent. Water provided during the day for artists.
Easy enough Friday afternoon load in--drive up to booth--if you have just a little patience while others load in. Same for Sunday load out--show ends 4pm Sunday. Booth spots are 10x10 (doubles and corners available) with "a little" space available behind booths depending on where your spot is. There is daytime music both days, but I didn't consider it intrusive for artists--not blasting (although my booth was located at one end of the show away from the stage). A few food vendors are located just outside the square in street parking areas. Good separation between food and artists' booths.
Crowd? Excellent both days. Great weather and people were taking advantage of it. The setting is unique in that it is in a business area, but not what I would call a shopping district. After setup on Friday, I found myself wondering where the foot traffic would come from. Show opened at 10am both days and it was obvious the the promoters did a great job of advertising. The crowd appeared out of nowhere on both days and was very steady. Everything from "the good shoes people" and to retirees with money and local corporate people (SC Johnson Co etc) to young couples (who were my best customers--new homes) families, and some dog walkers. One note: I've never seen so many well dressed women of differing ages-- and men--with serious ink on their arms legs, shoulders--wherever--- in one location at one time!
Artists? Yes, quite a few jewelry booths, nice fiber art, unique clothing, metalwork, excellent watercolor artists, but for a change a modest number of photogs. Otherwise a pretty good variety of art from high end to moderate prices. Booths of each category were well dispersed.
Sales?? I had a very good show and two other photogs I talked to did "okay". I personally would look forward to going back, but a number of other booths around me barely made booth costs for the weekend. People were buying quality it seemed because I saw some larger pieces being carried out. I also grossed about $5,000 in "my phantom sales" because I was keeping track of "attaboys--$0.50" "beautiful work--3$" "you have an excellent eye--$4 and WOWs $5. I subtracted $10 though for each "so, you must have gone to these places, eh?
Only negative: free parking-- but about 3 blocks away. No shuttle or golf carts. I do have some back issues and a little trouble walking at times.
My biggest overall impression was that the people who ran the show bent over backwards to make artists feel welcome. Doing the show was a pleasant experience.
1 down---10 more to go this summer. A good start was had.singalong now---(cue Roy and Trigger---haaapppyyy saales…to you……until……I write again…
There will be quiz on this review at a later date.