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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

Logistics:

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.

Amenities:

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.

Demographics/Buying Trends:

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.

Food:

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.

Reflections:

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.

Views: 350

Comment by Peggy Crago on April 6, 2015 at 12:27pm

I've done several shows in Las Cruces, including this one the first year it started.  Some artists do very well.  I have a few loyal collectors, but never enough to make it a great show, or even dependable from year to year.  The people who have bought are so friendly and such quality people that I felt loyal to them for years.  I branched out and tried Ruidoso in July for three years... still so-so for me.  Now I do Las Artistas in El Paso, which is close to LC, in November, and sometimes the customers from there make the drive.

Comment by S Brian Berkun on April 6, 2015 at 1:58pm

How does Las Artistas in El Paso compare?

Comment by Peggy Crago on April 7, 2015 at 10:19am

So far (two years), about the same, but I expect it to get better.  The first year it was some good work, some okay.  Last year the quality was outstanding.  Rick, who runs the show as part of the art guild that puts it on, said that it used to be a good show, but whoever in their association  was in charge of it let it run into the ground (e.g. crosses made of beans glued onto cardboard).  So the good people stopped coming.  I don't know how a show could come back after that, but I guess slowly, as the word gets out.  Sales-wise, I wasn't sure about going back; but after more thought... there were a couple of really nice sales from people who loved my work, coupled with expectations that the show will improve... it could work out to be worth the drive from Denver.

Also, as of this year Weems Gallery in Albuquerque will not be doing their show anymore, so the Rio Grande A.F. the weekend after Las Artistas might, as a result, be a much better show.  I never did well there before but am going to try it again this year.

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Top 10 Reviewers on ArtShowReviews.com for March

1. Steve Appel

2. Marirosa Hofmann

3. Bob Franzese

4. S.B. Berkun

5. Karen Kurta

6. Greg Little

7. Lori Schinelli

8. Delia Stone

9. Angel Lee

10. Esther Szmutni

Thanks to these folks for sharing their reviews on ArtShowReviews.com!

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