Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
This was a first time show for me as it was suggested by an artist friend. I thought I'd try it out as the drive was only a day away and nothing else was scheduled during that interval. So, first the facts:
Show Hours and Dates: Las Cruces Arts Fair, Las Cruces, NM. March 13 - 15. 5-8 Fri, 10-5 Sat & Sun
The show is set up inside the the Las Cruces Convention Center which is not far off of the I-10 corridor and many hotels. As I drove up to the overhead doors I was greeted by several enthusiastic volunteers who were there to help me unload. When I say "help" I mean they jumped right up into my vehicle and started to unload it onto push carts and were ready to get my stuff out as quickly as possible. I have never had such an experience before! This was above and beyond. You can unload either the Thursday evening prior to the show or early Friday. I opted for Friday morning and had plenty of time to get ready before opening hours of 5-8 PM.
LOTS of water, snacks and volunteer booth sitters for the occasional break. Additionally, the show hosted a great dinner on Friday night as part of the awards ceremony.
Storage, Booth Space, Load-In/Out:
As this is a relatively small convention center booths pretty well filled the place so there was no space for storage, additionally, some booths were in the entry corridor outside the main hall. Somewhere along the line I thought I had heard not to get a booth in the entry corridor as you might get lost out there. I don't think that was the case as the artists in the entry were the first and last ones seen as people entered the event. As this was an indoor show lights were a must electricity was included in the booth fee.
This was a slow show. People that had done the show the previous year said it was pretty good. It occured to me that this was one of the "You should'a been here last year!" experiences. The wood artist across from me was selling some reasonably priced pieces otherwise around me nothing much was moving. Even the smalls that I had were not moving very quickly. One sculpture from Cuba (NM) almost sold out his entire booth. I think he had one or two pieces left. He said that he wasn't terribly prepared for the show, had left stuff at home, etc. Maybe that should be his practice going forward!
Quality/Range of Art:
This was a very tight show in terms of quality. Maybe one or two booths were not up to the same level as the rest but those were the exceptions.
I was told by the director that they learned it was a good idea to keep the patrons there with food, drinks and places to sit. Good thing. The convention complex had a nice food bar set up with reasonably priced items that were really very good, some drinks, and a cash bar. It seemed to help as people stayed around for a long time during the day. Friday night they had entertainers from El Paso, TX that played some lively music, I don't know what the booths next to them thought but they sounded good.
This was a first time show for me and although it didn't go so well this year, based on the ease of doing the show, the fact that it was indoor, great volunteers, good quality art, I think I'd give it another go.
Okay, now for the Dave Piper star rating! I'd give this show ✩✩✩✩ out of 5 and that is because of the nice job of logistics by the volunteers, great amenities, booth sitting, etc. As far as the buying goes, I'd give it half ✩. This was the third show I had done this year and all three were stinkers! Next up will be Bayou City Arts in Memorial Park.