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Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

SURPRISES! Blue Crab Festival, Myrtle Beach SC

Blue Crab Festival, Myrtle Beach SC, May 15 & 16, 2010.

This was the scariest show on the planet. I am learning that festivals that have strict guidelines don’t necessarily follow them. If the numbers are good it doesn’t mean that they attract the crowd you are looking for. But, I learned my lesson to not judge a book by it’s cover.

Upon my arrival at 6:00 am I look around and proceed to see more imported items than the boat from China. My heart sinks, fine art no way. There were 8 fine artist in a vendor population of 250! I am shaking in my panty hose. This is not a good sign.

The crab and the crabby:

Set up was so tight that a fellow ripped off his side runners of his truck on an oak tree. I was told that break down may have some blood and slinging snot due to vendors fighting. Now do I run or try to pay the booth fee and hotel, do the show?. The husband is not going to be pleased. So I proceed to hold my head up high sinch up my straps and display my paintings of crabs, fish and oysters. My pro-panels look great next to the “monogram lady“, the artist that did “wine lights” and the “bee keeper selling honey“. I was located under a oak tree on a dead end but cooler than the ocean, I loved it, the breeze would blow a stinky smell from the trash and Porto Johns on occasion. The odds were against me from the start. Cheezy petes! Be positive I said, smile and sell those paintings!

The first day was almost a total disaster. I made the $375 in expenses and many be backers. Whew that was really close. I check into a hotel at 9:30 at night due to the annual motor cycle event that takes every single motel on the beach. She directs me to a restaurant that is next door named, “Mike and Pat‘s” for dinner. I am a little skeptical due to the motor cycles outside but go in. I hear a band and get a little nervous do to being alone. I get a beer to calm my nerves and look up to see a retirement group wrapping around the bar, dancing a small gig, adjusting their wigs and fixing their lips. I am literally at the point of laughing due to exhaustion when a fellow with a white suit, red tie and white patient leather shoes asks me to dance. Need I say more? Just pure hot….

Sunday was threatening rain but again I am a chipper happy girl and look on the bright side. It is now 1:00 and there are no sales. The odds were against me from the beginning and then the miracle happens…. People lots of people. Tattooed people, expensive boat people, Harley people, mothers with toddlers, beards and beer. I again put on my happy face and tell them about the art for the zillionth time. This is where the miracle happens. I sell a piece of art, then another and another and bab bing the large shrimp painting. I am literally shacking in my shoes from ringing everyone up so fast. I had a line for 2.6 minutes! Whew at 4:00 I got a break and looked up to see the glares from the vendors with their arms folded and their “stew face girl look”. I was shockingly happy. Called the husband and said, “Honey I am on my way home with a story you are not going to believe!”

So the lesson is learned about art shows. Be positive. Be chipper. Tell your story about your art people remember you and will be back, guaranteed even when all the odds are against you.
Happy Day!
Heather



Views: 104

Tags: 2010, Beach, Blue, Crab, Festival, Myrtle

Comment by David and Barbara Downey on May 20, 2010 at 3:06pm
Been there and been right near the dumpsters and porta potties.... oh and all the restaurants drove their golf carts of garbage right by our booth
Comment by Heather Jordan on May 20, 2010 at 4:09pm
Barbara,
There were at least 45 booths with jewelry. It was crazy they allowed that many, some beaders and mostly imports. Many people who did jewelry left at night. The really bad part was a young girl from Maryland that left her jewelry in her booth overnight. It was closed off but they took everything! She was in tears. Another had all of her stands taken. Sounds like you may see that steeling crowd in another show!
Comment by Geoff Coe on May 20, 2010 at 7:51pm
Very nice review and message. That second photo (with the silhouettes in the foreground) is excellent! Best show shot I think I have ever seen.
Comment by Fran Hurst on May 21, 2010 at 9:47am
Great review!

Did that show many years ago. I remember the dirt. Everything was covered with dirt at the end:(
Comment by Connie Mettler on May 22, 2010 at 9:09am
Hooray! Another great blogger has joined our ranks.

1. Good writing, irreverent and witty
2. Good report
3. Photos that help tell the story
4. Inspiring ending

-- yep, festivals can turn out to be anything: real duds, great and plenty in between. One of the good things about a popular festival that really brings out the crowds is that it often is such a mix of socioeconomic groups -- "who is that stranger standing in my booth?" Could be a street person, could be the chairman of GM....

You've got it right, Heather. Smile and tell your story. Congratulations on the good sales.

So, did you dance?
Comment by Heather Jordan on May 22, 2010 at 2:00pm
Yes I did do the Crab Dance! Sales were ok to good. I really think if we have the attitude to ask your self one and only one question, "Where am I going to make $375 in a day and possibly then $1400 to $8000 in the next day?" (I didn't do that but you get the picture.) Some people in our USA are making only $250 in a week at a full time job. I am able to do something that I truly love, at home and without someone watching over me. So is the glass half full or half empty? Grateful is good in a stressed economy...
Happy Day!
Heather

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